Enquirer feature writer, and respected baseball buff, John Erardi approached me in the press box at Paul Brown Stadium recently to get my thoughts on Mark McGwire and the Hall of Fame.
Erardi asked if I have a HOF vote. I do not, but I was more than happy to offer him my opinion.
It it were up to me, McGwire would be a Hall of Famer. Here's why:
I have no rock-solid evidence, scientific or otherwise, to prove that McGwire's accomplishments in the game were steroid-induced. None.
I have conjecture and opinion, much of which is akin to the Monty Python skit in which an angry mob agrees to burn a woman based on the conclusion that if she floats she's made of wood and thus a witch.
Even if it was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, which it's clearly not, that McGwire took steroids, how can we accurately quantify the statistical impact of the drugs? Did they help him hit 100 more homers? 50? 30?
Besides, baseball had yet to institute a policy on performance-enhancing drugs. What McGwire reportedly did was not, technically anyway, against the rules.
Now, before you accuse me of being naive, I'm sure that McGwire was taking something, just as I'm sure that O.J. Simpson probably had something to do with his wife's murder.
But, I still believe in the concept of a fair trial. Without proven guilt, I must assume innocence until jurisprudence runs it's course.
If McGwire took steroids, what did he really do? He attempted to make himself bigger, stronger and better by using a technology readily available in this era.
Remember, if steroids didn't have health risks, they'd be perfectly legal and free for use by anyone who cared to.
The irony is that baseball writers/journalists are the ones doing the voting, the same writers who must type 'allegedly' in their stories until justice has been appropriately served.
In lieu of proper justice for steroid-era ballplayers, many baseball scribes have decided to annoint themselves judge and jury.
Not me. Mark McGwire would get my vote. If I had one.