The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

January 11, 2013

Hall of Famers happy to see Bonds, Clemens denied

(Continued)

"I don't know how great some of these players up for election would've been without drugs. But to me, it's cheating," he added. "Numbers are important, but so is integrity and character. Some of these guys might get in someday. But for a year or two, I'm glad they didn't."

Gossage, noting that cyclist Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles following allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs, believes baseball should go just as far. He thinks the record book should be overhauled, taking away the accomplishments of players like Bonds, Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire — who has admitted using steroids and human growth hormone during his playing days.

McGwire, 10th on the career home run chart, received 16.9 percent of the vote on his seventh Hall try, down from 19.5 last year.

"I don't know if baseball knows how to deal with this at all," Gossage said. "Why don't they strip these guys of all these numbers? You've got to suffer the consequences. You get caught cheating on a test, you get expelled from school."

Juan Marichal is one Hall of Famer who doesn't see it that way. The former pitcher believes Bonds, Clemens and Sosa belong in Cooperstown.

"I think that they have been unfair to guys who were never found guilty of anything," Marichal said. "Their stats define them as immortals. That's the reality and that cannot be denied."

The BBWAA election rules say "voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played."

While much of the focus this year was on Bonds, Clemens and Sosa, every other player with Cooperstown credentials was denied, too.

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