As Alex Rodriguez sniffled through his press conference last Sunday when it was announced his last game with the New York Yankees would be this upcoming Friday — so he can become an “adviser and instructor,” — my thoughts immediately shifted as to his chances for induction into the Hall of Fame.
In the “here we go again” politics that surround the Shrine, Rodriguez more than likely is going to join the grouping of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire as players whose numbers scream “INDUCTION!” but will be denied.
Make no mistake, Rodriguez has enjoyed one of the top careers of all time. But like the others just mentioned, it’s shrouded by the fact he was a PED user and his numbers in the eyes of many are tainted.
Would Rodriguez have been a Hall of Famer without performance enhancing drugs? Sure. You can’t tell me PEDs turned him from an ordinary player into one of the greatest of all time. While they did make him stronger and able to recover from injury faster, he still was touched by God with the ability to play at a high level.
But A-Rod — “A-Fraud” as he’s known by some — went down the wrong path. His reported use was from 2001 to 2003 when he was with the Texas Rangers. But who really knows for sure? It just begs the question what his numbers would have been had he stayed clean.
Baseball is all about tradition and those who cast their votes for the Hall of Fame have taken a hard line against stars from the so-called “steroid era.”
Bonds hasn’t come close. He’s always denied his use, but just look at how his body changed (the size of his head for goodness sake!) and the numbers he posted at a time he should have been in decline. I, for one, will never recognize his single-season or all-time home run records because the evidence is so stacked against him. Roger Maris will always be the home-run champion in my mind and Hank Aaron the all-time home run leader. Bonds is the one who has to look at himself every day in the mirror and live with what he created.
Clemens also has fallen considerably short and unless there’s a philosophical shift among the voters, I don’t see him getting in. Ditto for Sosa and McGwire, who put up prodigious numbers as their bodies changed. They didn’t pass the eye test, for sure.
While I have a hard time believing A-Rod is done as a player, I also don’t think it’s in his DNA to be a lowly “adviser” — whatever that entails. In the end, I think he’ll go quietly into the sunset and live off the obscene amount of money he earned from his playing days.