Via email, Steve writes:
The biggest impact steroids had was keeping people on the field when their bodies would have broken down. McGwire could not stay on the field until he used and countless players could play no more after stopping. Palmiero doesn’t sniff 3K hits without. Just how do you account for this effect to vote some into the hall?
It’s a good question, and something I admittedly gloss over when arguing for suspected or confirmed steroids users’ inclusion in the Hall of Fame. I think you have to account for it by adjusting the benchmarks for the Hall of Fame, the same way you would when evaluating guys from the dead-ball era or hitters who’ve played their whole careers in Colorado.
For a variety of reasons, offensive numbers from the late 90s and early aughts are inflated over historical norms, both in single-season and long-term returns. All we need to do to account for that is to understand that hitting 500 home runs during that time should be considered less impressive than hitting 500 home runs when Frank Robinson did it.
For what it’s worth, if I had a ballot I’d vote for McGwire but not Palmeiro. Lots of personal biases playing into that, of course. I happen to really like Mark McGwire.
I suspect not, since the corollary to Triple Crown talk in Cabrera’s MVP case was that he moved to third base for the good of his team (and his team made the playoffs, even if they did so by feasting on a host of crappy teams in their division and still finished with a worse record than the Angels). But I’m guessing that if everything else stayed the same except Cabrera DH’d all year and never moved back to third base, he’d still win the AL MVP. And you know what? Whatever. Miguel Cabrera’s awesome, let us not forget.
Man I hope so, because pepper games are fun. Also, “No Pepper Games” would be a fine album title.