Hall of Fame Thoughts For 2015
Oct 31, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants former playerBarry Bonds
waves to the crowd during the World Series victory parade on Market Street. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mike Piazza, & Jeff Bagwell
Linked to performance-enhancing drugs, not proven to be linked to PEDs, the debate goes on. I’m not interested in ‘proof’ or if any of these men get into the Hall of Fame or not. What I will say is this: all four of these men were my baseball idols as a kid.
I bought Pittsburgh Pirates pencils, and would only use them at school for special projects, because Barry Bonds was the most valuable player in my young heart. I decorated my books and bedroom walls with pictures of Roger Clemens, because I had a strong arm as a kid and thought he was whom I wanted to be when I grew up. I started watching the New York Mets more often, partly to annoy my friends whom liked the Yankees and partly because Mike Piazza always showed how nice he was to people in commercials he aired in, once he was famous. I admired how Jeff Bagwell looked tough, as he stepped into the batter’s box, intimidating opposing pitchers with his powerful swing and incredible muscles, for being only a generous 6’0″ (according to Baseball-Reference.com).
Then, I saw them turn into Incredible Hulks.
I liked Bonds because he wasn’t huge and yet could take on the world to with multiple MVP awards. I liked watching Clemens look like the average guy whom was lighting up the radar gun. I liked watching Piazza use cat-like speed to block wild pitches. I liked watching Bagwell smoke home runs over walls, where behemoths could not follow suit. I did not like seeing Bonds’ head growing three sizes, or Clemens in a fit of rage multiple times on the mound, or Piazza lumbering around later in his career, or ‘Buff’ Bagwell looking more like a ripped strikeout king than a power hitter. Maybe the drugs explain the Clemens-Piazza incident with the broken bat. That’s just speculation, though. No proof. Just what I saw, just like every other young baseball fan.
Don’t even get me started on Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.
Let’s leave statistics out of this. We know their numbers. We know their historical moments in the game. That will never be debatable. All I know is that I will not think of these men ever again in the same way. Not that they likely cared in the first place.