Why I Didn’t Vote for Ivan Rodriguez
In my opinion, the players that used steroids do not belong in the Hall of Fame. That is why when I have submitted my IBWAA ballots I have not voted for Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, or anyone else that has been confirmed to have used steroids. It is a reason why I did not vote for Manny Ramirez this year.
Where things become tricky is when a player has nothing but mere accusations against them. In reality, it is unfair to use one person’s innuendo or unfounded claims to prevent players like Mike Piazza or Jeff Bagwell from being inducted into the Hall of Fame. For all we know, these players did it the right way, and with that, they deserved to be treated as such. For their part, both players have steadfastly stated they did not use steroids, and in reality, no one has presented any evidence to disprove their statements.
Now, based upon my thoughts on Piazza or Bagwell, it can be reasonably argued I should have voted for Ivan Rodriguez. I didn’t because there was enough there for me to withhold my vote.
The first time we really heard that Pudge was a steroids user was when Jose Canseco published Juiced. Juiced was more than a tell-all autobiography. The book also served as Canseco’s opportunity to name players he knew used steroids. At the time, it seemed like retribution against everyone for Canseco’s own belief that he was blackballed from baseball. In the book, Canseco named the following players as known or suspected PED users:
- Bret Boone
- Barry Bonds
- Sammy Sosa
- Mark McGwire
- Rafael Palmeiro
- Juan Gonzalez
- Jason Giambi
- Wilson Alvarez
- Ozzie Canseco
- Dave Martinez
- Tony Saunders
- Miguel Tejada
- Magglio Ordonez
As we know Palmeiro, Clemens, and Gonzalez were named in the Mitchell Report. Bonds usage was discovered in conjunction with BALCO. Tejada and Sosa tested positive for PEDs. Ozzie Canseco has been charged with steroids possession. McGwire and Giambi have since admitted to using steroids during his career.
We do not have any confirmation with respect to Boone, Alvarez, Martinez, and Saunders. Not surprisingly, each of these players have denied using steroids.
The first thing to note with respect to the players Canseco accused of using steroids, he has largely been proven right. With respect to those players there is no outside confirmation of steroids usage, it is important to note, they all denied using steroids. It should also be noted Pudge denied using steroids when implicated by Canseco.
However, when he had his next chance to do so, he didn’t.
Back in 2003, Major League Baseball had anonymous survey steroid testing. The goal of the testing was to see if baseball truly needed a steroids testing policy. As we all know the results of the testing proved there was a steroids problem in baseball. Now, the results of that test were supposed to be anonymous, but many people were implicated as a result.
For many, Pudge’s sudden weight loss between the 2004 and 2005 seasons was indication he had been using steroids before testing was implemented, and now with testing in place, he was no longer going to use steroids. That in and of itself is not sufficient to prove he was a steroids user. Frankly, if that was all that was there, he should be elected into the Hall of Fame. However, there is one issue associated with the testing and his weight loss that gives you pause.
Pudge was actually asked if he was one of the players who had tested positive during the survey testing. His response? It was far from reassuring with him saying, “Only God knows.” (St. Louis News).
When there was more there than just rumor and innuendo from people like Canseco, Pudge went from denying using steroids use to acting obtuse on the subject. If Pudge had denied being on the list, I would have voted for him. However, Pudge chose not to deny it. He chose to deny it despite there being a number of different reasons to lead a reasonable person to believe he did use steroids during his career.
Ultimately, I denied Pudge my vote because he wouldn’t deny that he could’ve tested positive for steroids.