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Potential steroid use should not hinder HOF inductions

For the first time since 1996, no former baseball player will be inducted into the Professional Baseball Hall of Fame.

The stigma of steroid use that has plagued a once-valiant American pastime, has left the fans, the players, the writers and the aspiring players without a hero.

Whether through actual admission, hearsay or public opinion, none of the members on the list of players, who performed at the highest echelon of their sport, will have their achievements on the field etched in baseballs history book.

While Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are often seen as the face of the Steroids Era of baseball, it is disheartening just how easy it was for steroids to infect an entire institution that was once so admired.

With names like Hank Aaron, Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams, who inspired so many young people to dream of baseball stardom, it is sad that all of the qualified names are now replaced with an asterisk.

There is no getting around the fact that steroid use is cheating.

Every player that admitted or was caught using steroids knew what the drugs would do and they should have known the consequences.

The problem is, to what extent do we question whether any players accomplishments in baseball were products of mere athleticism and dedication or products of steroid use? Now that steroids have become as much a part of the game as peanuts and cracker jacks, is it right to ostracize any one who reached greatness between 1990 and the present?

One thing that we should remember is that steroids can only do so much.

If a person off the street took steroids, they would not magically be able to hit 762 homeruns like Barry Bonds did. They would not be able to reach 3,060 hits like Craig Biggio nor would they come close to the 354 wins and seven Cy Young awards that Roger Clemens reached during his 23-year career.

Of the top five names that were eligible to be inducted, every one of them made multiple All-Star appearances. There were 10 league MVP awards between them, seven Cy Young awards, 12 Gold Glove awards and more than 2,000 homeruns. The talent and the statistics that this group put up are unquestionable.

The only caveat is that they played during a time when the threat of steroid use was a greater story than accomplishments on the field.

If we let the steroid era of baseball deter us from appreciating the accomplishments that the players reached because popular opinion dictates they cheated, then it will have ruined the game forever. We cannot allow the cynicism of assumptions and accusations to cloud the fact that this group of players performed at an astonishing level.