... I think he's right when it comes to Mark McGwire being a character guy. LaRussa recently pointed out (when asked about two of his former players' chances to make the Hall - McGwire and Rickey Henderson) that McGwire walked away from 2 years and $30 mil left on his contract with the Cardinals after a .187/.316/.492 year because he wasn't performing at an elite level. Setting aside the steroid issue (momentarily) McGwire is a character guy, plus his numbers make him a shoe-in for the hall. He had 583 career homeruns, but also had a career .394 OBP and a .982 career OPS. Henderson, the greatest lead-off hitter ever (according to most) had a career OBP of .401, only .007 better than McGwire. And don't forget McGwire hit 50 hr's as a rookie, without any juice.
In a nutshell, I think steroids was a baseball issue, and not an individual player issue. Certainly evaluate a player in the context of the player's era, but don't leave a player out of the hall because of steroid use in the '90's. Right now, steroids are the only issue keeping McGwire out. If you want to use steroids against a guy like Rafael Palmero, with a positive drug test after steroids were banned, that's another issue. But making McGwire pay the ultimate (baseball) price for it is wrong.
I don't like Henderson. For a long time, he was my least favorite player. But he's a no-brainer. Man, I hate that, and I hate agreeing again with LaRussa again, but there you go.
I would love to hear your thoughts on McGwire's Hall credentials.
Mike Mussina, Hall of Famer
3 weeks ago