Is Mark McGwire A Hall of Famer?

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Just a week or so away from the voting for the 2008 Hall of Fame and a lot of attention falls around Mark McGwire, and if he will get in after failing to make it in his first year of eligibility. As someone who was drawn into baseball by that 1998 homerun chase, I do feel like he captivated the eyes of many, but the fact that we are still in the middle of this steroid controversy, I do not think it is his time, or should ever be his time. I am one of those people who think if you cheated, you do not deserve the recognition, even if it was before it became illegal.

It is hard not look at McGwire's 583 career homeruns, but his .263 career average and just 1,626 hits makes him borderline at best. Yes, he did have an OBP of .394 but he combined over three hundred walks in late 1990's that bumped that up big time. And with reporters voting, it doesn't help that McGwire was not friendly with the media, and hurt his case even more at the Congressional Hearings.

Now some may argue that pitchers like Gaylord Perry were cheaters back in the day, but we are passed that era, and must focus on this one. I think that pitchers who used a spit ball are looked at differently than hitters. A pitcher did not throw a spit ball every pitch, while a hitter on steroids used it in every swing. You have to look at McGwire's numbers between 1996-1999 and think wow, he hit 30 less homeruns than Roger Maris did in his whole career. Does this mean Roger Clemens is not a shoe in? Yes, at least until his case gets cleared out. I have to admit, I was a little naive in the sense that it never crossed my mind that Clemens might have used. Looking at Clemens' numbers, it makes sense that he used. He was a .500 pitcher up till those couple years with the Blue Jays when he won the Cy Young twice. I look at him and McGwire and Bonds as different cases, so we will have to wait and see.

If Roger Maris gets into the Hall of Fame, how can someone like Andre Dawson not get in. Dawson has a .279 career average with 438 homeruns and 2,774 hits. He was a eight time All-Star, won the ROY, and the MVP, and was a fan favorite of the Cubs, and even some teams on the road. Ryne Sandberg said of Dawson that, "No player in baseball history worked harder, suffered more or did it better than Andre Dawson," Sandberg said of the "The Hawk." Sandberg continued, "He's the best I've ever seen. I watched him win an MVP for a last-place team in 1987, and it was the most unbelievable thing I've ever seen in baseball." Sandberg concluded with, "He did it the right way, the natural way, and he did it in the field and on the bases and in every way, and I hope he will stand up here someday."

I know many think differently of McGwire at this point, but I still would vote him no until all this gets sorted out. I think a lot of people deserve some recognition before their time runs out. I know Lee Smith lost some steam after his all time saves record was taken by Trevor Hoffman, but he should be recognized as being the player who revolutionized the role. And what about Tim Raines? Or Jim Rice? Leave me a comment on whether you think McGwire should be in the Hall or not, and if you want, leave a prediction for this years inductees.


Anonymous 12:33 PM CST  

Clemens only a .500 pitcher before his time with the Blue Jays? Um you might wanna check those stats again. Clemens had 3 20-win seasons with the Red sox, including his 1990 season when he went 21-6 with a 1.93 era. He also had 3 more seasons with 18 wins. So please get your facts straight before you go bashing Roger Clemens. He had 3 Cy Youngs BEFORE the steroids, and if he did indeed take steroids, all he did was help him to continue to pitch in old age. Remember, its performance-ENCHACING, not performance-CREATING.

Anonymous 1:31 PM CST  

Your Dawson qualifications:

.279 average - a very average average for a prospective HOF.

438 homeruns - nice total (32nd all-time) but compiled over 21 seasons. Over 30 only three times.

2,774 hits - never had 200 hits (and never really close). Again, 21 seasons by default would get a very good player this hit total.

eight-time All-Star - absolutely, completely and utterly irrelevant in the discussion. The process of voting is patently ridiculous and, in Dawson's case especially, heavily influenced by WGN's national broadcast of the Cubs in the late 80s and early 90s, before ESPN and Directv became a player.

ROY - Walt Weiss won the award.

MVP - the most contentious awarding in the last 30 years. He had a phenomenal year but the Cubs were 73-88 that year, good for last place. How is a player 'the most valuable' to a club finishing last relative to the rest of the league.

Fan favorite - um, what? How is this relevant?

Quotes - represents Dawson as a good guy and not juiced. Again, a bit irrelevant.

Roger Maris comparison - his election to the Hall was marginal at best, but that doesn't necessarily mean Dawson should get in. It's bad logic.

I grew up around Chicago and watched Dawson play every day. He was a very good player, the best on the field at times, but he wasn't a great player relative to his era and relative to the history of baseball.

In many ways, his discussion as a potential HOF is a product of one great year ('87), the year that has become known as the juiced ball year (check out Wade Boggs' statistics, among others).

It's tough not to like Dawson as a player. He's just not a HOF player.

Like the site. Keep goin'.

Anonymous 1:33 PM CST  

On Dawson. Good read.

EdO 2:03 PM CST  

No chance. Without roids he was good not great. His greatest achievements are tainted

EdO 2:09 PM CST  

Not a chance. Without roids he was good not great. His greatest achievements are tainted.

KevinGillman 5:18 PM CST  

in terms of steroids, numbers are still numbers. You cannot automatically hit 50 HR's because you're on the juice. If that's the case then guys like Jeremy Giambi, Fernando Vina, and the legend of all legends, Phil Hyatt can hit 50 HR's. Is it bad? Yes, but let's not discount that players in the 70's, 80's, heck even the 60's used whatever they could to gain any advantages. There was a book called "The Umpire Strikes Back" that was very controversial back in the early 80's where this guy, a former Major League pitcher had talked about drug usage in the 60's. Are we all to assume that steroids started in 1988 because Jose Canseco found a needle to use on someone? I say to any voter that votes to use common sense, and don't use this on a grudge against players like Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens because they may or may not have used. So have alot of the other players back in the day, but numbers are still numbers.

Bucky, NY 5:35 PM CST  

If there is to be a steriod wing in the HOF, then it only makes sense to have the top dog in it. How do you think Giambi and Tejada did. It all comes back to Canseco and Mcgwire. If Mcgwire doesnt get in either should Bonds or Clemens, you cant pick its all or nothing.

Kenny O 5:48 PM CST  

Hey very cool site, maybe we could work on something to promote each other..
You can watch the Patriots play tonight or the UFC match on mine

thanks kennyo

Tim 6:31 PM CST  

whether we like it or not, he should be in the hall of fame. he put up impressive numbers with/without steroids. Since MLB was lean on cracking down on steroids, we have to assume everyone was using them. So every person, including Bonds and Clemens should be hall of fame worthy.

GOD 6:43 PM CST  

MARK should not because he just has HOF #S and with the roids i dont think he would have been near the HOF without them and

i know that GOOSE will get in this year and should have been in a long time ago

KevinGillman 7:40 PM CST  

Bucky, for ever Jason Giambi, McGwire, Tejada, and Canseco, I will name Jeremy Giambi, Phil Hiatt, Tim Laker, and Geromino Berrora. Players that had been linked to steroids, but never had success. It STILL takes talented hitters to hit home runs, not steroids.

Anonymous 9:45 AM CST  

Yes, he deserves the honor but he will not make it... not for another few years at least. Some of the voters are hypocritical ... praising his exploits as they were happening and now condemning the man on shoddy evidence.... such self righteousness is ludicrous at best.

White Sox Cards 10:01 AM CST  

Hopefully Harold Baines will gain momentum this year.

Ben 11:50 AM CST  

I don't think we should determine McGwire's HOF eligibility based on the steroid issue. Yes he got caught, but there's a lot of guys out there who did use but weren't caught. Don't punish McGwire for being a stupider cheater than other players. In this era, we can't ever really know who used what (thanks a lot, Mitchell Report). I think, much like the early years of MLB were known as the dead ball era, we need to recognize this era as the Steroid Era, with all of the implications and doubts that signifies, and then move on and evaluate players based on statistics, and not on suspiscion.

So, is Mark worthy? 583 homers is a big number, but those other stats are kinda unimpressive. Personally, I say yes. That '98 homerun chase revitalized the game, and you could say that, in a lot of ways, McGwire has done more for the game of baseball than most players...He was a fearsome power hitter, a game changing force, and punishing him for something that most hitters of his day did is an unfair standard to hold him to. Lets acknowledge this black eye on baseball's history, but we need to stay focused on who were the great players of their day, in that day's context.

Nat Pastime 10:52 PM CST  

Steroids WERE illegal when McGwire was allegedly using them and they WERE against the rules of Major League Baseball, according to a memo then-commisioner Fay Vincent sent out in 1991 which warned clubs to watch for signs of their use. Punishing steroid users for cheating is perfectly appropriate, regardless of how many players were using and regardless of the results obtained.

RollingWave 11:11 AM CST  

Still though. If Big-Mac didn't go over 500 dinger he would be a very very borderline case. while i agree he still would have been a good player without the juice. but would he have hit 500+ dinger? really?

Bonds and Clemens are different cases. both would be in based on their Pirate / Red Sox days anyway . Bonds happen to be the most dangerous hitter... EVER! ALL TIME! even without the juice he'd be top 5 all time EASILY. it's not really even close. he's OPS+ is equal to the Babe for crying out loud AND he was a far bigger base stealing threat AND before old age settled in he was a great defender. Big-Mac simply isn't anywhere near that level of destruction. espically if he didn't have those couple of outlier years.

I would think that Mac's case is pretty risky at this point, if he gets in it would be late ballot. he's CERTAINLY not getting in within 5 year.

I'm not sure about the Hawk, because i'm not old enough to seriously remember him. statistically he hung around long enough with enough overall stats to be worth considering, espically given that he was a GREAT defender. with a borderline offensive case i think he's a reasonable pick .. but the problem is there's clearly more reasonable picks both now and most likley in the future.

This year is a VERY weak class where the only new inductee that should have a case at all is Raines. and even here Dawson might not get in seriously damn his case.

Most stats oriented guys will vote Raines / Blyleven, and Gossage is a shoe in now. there's only really 1 more spot open. and really is Dawson's case that much better than Mac / Rice / Murphy ?

Jack Morris is another guy that i'm not sure about. is one great playoff performance + a pretty good overall win total enough to put a guy in? if that's the case why not vote Tommy John in too?