Bryant Gumbel Brings Up Good Point On Mark McGwire and Baseball Hall of Fame

By Andrew Fisher
Mark McGwire
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The Baseball Hall of Fame induction is this weekend in Cooperstown. It’s a star-studded 2014 class to say the least: Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre. Over the last 35 years, that’s a who’s who of baseball.

But one man you won’t see heading into the HOF this year, or anytime soon, is Mark McGwire.

Big Mac has essentially been blacklisted at this point because of links to PEDs, including his own admission a few years back. You don’t often hear cases for McGwire to get into the Hall, but Bryant Gumbel has come up with a solid one. It’s based on logic involving his long-time manager, La Russa:

No one is doubting La Russa’s greatness as a manager. There’s no question with 99 percent of the baseball world that he deserves entry. But would he have been as great without McGwire smashing all those homers and driving in all those runs?

It’s easy to say no. Some of those PED-infused hits from McGwire helped La Russa win more games. No question.

But to say that if you’re going to put La Russa in the HOF, that you have to put McGwire in, doesn’t quite add up. La Russa was managing the players he had to the best of his ability. It’s not like he was going to set a guy down because he believed he was on the juice.

La Russa may be guilty of looking the other way, but the same could probably be said for all managers in the steroid era. Perhaps that’s why he feels suspected PED users should be let into the HOF with an asterisk?

“It’s my two cents, but I think you should let them in, but with an asterisk. You can’t place these guys ahead of Hank (Aaron) and (Babe) Ruth. It was a bad period. But if a player has Hall of Fame credentials, I think they should be allowed in — a lot of them had Hall of Fame credentials before all this stuff came out,” La Russa told the NY Daily News.

Big Mac will never get in because he’s a proven cheater. This is the best case I’ve ever heard for him to get in, mainly because it’s one of the only logical argument to be made. However, everybody knows the crusty old voters certainly won’t be swayed by such logic.

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