This question probably will be asked about Ryan Braun for the next ten years. Milwaukee Brewers’ perennial All-Star left fielder, 2011 Major League Baseball’s Most Valuable Player, and 2012 runner-up is, to say the least, a controversial ball player. His past two off seasons have been filled with drama, and his character has taken quite a beating.
In the 2011 off-season, he tested positive for elevated testosterone levels and received a 50 game suspension. He challenged the ruling, and an arbitrator decided MLB had violated the Major League Baseball Players Association agreement, which states management must collect and send the sample that same day unless there are unusual circumstances. Braun’s sample did not get sent to the lab for 44 hours.
This offseason, his name has appeared on a list written by Anthony Bosch, founder of the Biogenesis of America clinic, along with a figure — $1,500. Braun has said publicly that he used Bosch as a consultant against MLB in his suit. There have been no further statements or rulings from MLB, and this could just fade away.
But what will that do to this potential Hall of Famer? If there is an asterisk, a mark by his name, even though the arbitrator ruled in his favor, and his suspension was lifted, will he be eligible for the Hall? Baseball writers have not voted in the reigning home run champion Barry Bonds. Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens can’t seem to find a way in either. Where does this leave Braun?
Braun definitely has the stats: .313 BA .374 OBP, and a .568 SLG, with 202 HR and 643 RBI in just 6 years. He has been an All-Star every year, Rookie of the Year in 2007, and MVP in 2011. Many believe he should have won the MVP last year, but because of the asterisk by his name, he lost out.
We won’t know the outcome, and we certainly can have our opinions on the merits of his case, or the man himself. But if nothing further gets uncovered, Braun is on the path to the Hall. You may or may not like it, but everyone really is innocent until proven guilty — at least in court. We’ll see what the writers say after he retires.