NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A day after the Baseball Hall of Fame released its 2018 ballot, Joe Morgan made his plea to voters to keep Cooperstown steroid free.
In letters to voters from the Baseball Writers Association of America, the Cincinnati Reds great urged them not to vote for suspected steroid users.
“The more we Hall of Famers talk about this – and we talk about it a lot – we realize we can no longer sit silent,” wrote Morgan, the the Hall’s vice chairman and a member of its board of directors. “Many of us have come to think that silence will be considered complicity. Or that fans might think we are ok if the standards of election to the Hall of Fame are relaxed, at least relaxed enough for steroid users to enter and become members of the most sacred place in Baseball. We don’t want fans ever to think that.”
Morgan suggested drawing the line at players who failed drug tests, admitted steroid use or were identified in the Mitchell Report, although he acknowledged some players named in the investigative report have denied they used performance-enhancing drugs.
“I have faith in your judgment and know that ultimately, this is your call,” Morgan wrote to the voters.
Players on this year’s ballot who would not meet Morgan’s standard include Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield. Sammy Sosa reportedly failed an anonymous “survey testing” in 2003, but has never officially failed a test and has denied using a steroids.
Morgan’s letter comes at a time when suspected PED users have been gaining more support from Hall voters. Clemens and Bonds have seen their vote totals increase from the upper-30 percent range in 2015 to more than 50 percent this year. Seventy-five percent is needed for induction.
“But it still occurs to me that anyone who took body-altering chemicals in a deliberate effort to cheat the game we love, not to mention they cheated current and former players, and fans too, doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame,” wrote Morgan, who was inducted in 1990. “By cheating, they put up huge numbers, and they made great players who didn’t cheat look smaller by comparison, taking away from their achievements and consideration for the Hall of Fame. That’s not right.”
Morgan added that current Hall of Famers may chose not to attend events in Cooperstown if suspected steroid users are let in.
“Some feel they can’t share a stage with players who did steroids,” he wrote. “The cheating that tainted an era now risks tainting the Hall of Fame too. The Hall of Fame means too much to us to ever see that happen. If steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.”