Mike Hargrove Never Suspected Steroid Use Was So Rampant, Doesn’t Think Proven Cheaters Belong in Hall of FameAugust 3, 2012 – 9:00 am by Chris Fedor
The steroid debate when it comes to Hall-Of-Fame voting is one that has been going on in baseball for a long time now and it will continue to go on, especially because some of the greatest players in baseball hsitory have been linked. Not to mention, many of them will be Hall-Of-Fame eligible in the near future. One of the hardest things about this process is that in some cases there isn’t hard evidence to determine who used and didn’t use. There is plenty of speculation though. What the writers decide to do with mashers like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez and even Ken Griffey Jr, who while never linked to the juice, played in the era where steroid use seemed to be pretty prominent, is going to be completely up to them. Mike Hargrove played in the majors and spent a number of years managing some very successful teams and shared his thoughts.
Mike Hargrove joined 105.7 the Fan in Baltimore with Norris and Davis to talk about how tough it is for small to mid-market teams in Major League Baseball, on the steroid era in baseball, how he would handle Hall-Of-Fame voting with the guys linked to steroids and why he wouldn’t vote Pete Rose to the Hall-Of-Fame.
How tough it is for small to mid-market teams in Major League Baseball:
“At one time Camden Yards and Jacobs Field were two of the most beautiful ballparks in all of baseball and they still are. Both clubs have great fans and I think the biggest challenge that both clubs have is convincing their fan base that they can contend this year and for years to come so people will support and come back out. Obviously the clubs that can’t afford to spend like the Yankees or the Red Sox or even the Angels or the Rangers, they have to do it through scouting and development. That’s the tried and true way of building a winner year in and year out. They need to put their money back into scouting and development and do it that way. You can’t go out and attract and pay the big free agents. You can’t pay more than one of them. One big player when you’re trying to build a contender isn’t really conducive to a successful run. They have to convince their fans that they are serious and working hard to do the right things to get a winner into Baltimore and Cleveland and for five, ten or 15 years as opposed to being good for just one year or two years. They have to convince the fans to be patient because patience will will pay off if they do the right things.”
How much he knew of players using steroids:
“I will be brutally honest with you, I never heard anybody talk about or whisper anything like that. When you talk about how much stronger the players were and how much more productive they were everybody talks about year-round conditioning and tremendous nutrition, better eating habits and better training methods so I never suspected it. I just didn’t. I don’t think I was like an ostrich with my head stuck in the sand. I truly believe with the improved training methods, I mean every club had a strength coach which they hadn’t had ever before, weightlifting had become the norm where before it was a taboo activity and with the increase in dietary methods and the nutrition that was available and is available the people that I have talked to and listened to and heard talk, attributed it all to that. I remember when (Ken) Caminitti came out and said that he thought 80 percent of the major league players were taking steroids. My first thought was other than being shocked at somebody who said that, was that he was absolutely and totally wrong. Now that you look at it and see what has been going on I’m not sure that 80 percent was high enough. I was shocked and believe me I was in on some brutally frank conversations and I never heard a whisper of it so they hid it well.”
How he would handle the voting for the Hall-Of-Fame when it comes to guys linked with steroids:
“Yeah I would. The ones who have not been proven or been suspected of indulging in that culture I would. (Host: What about the others? (Barry) Bonds, (Roger) Clemens, (Sammy) Sosa, (Mark) McGwire, Manny (Ramirez) has tested positive.) I love Manny Ramirez to death. I really, really do and it makes me really sad that he got caught up in this stuff but the guys that have been proven that they did it, no I wouldn’t put them in. As good of players that they were and for what they did and the numbers that they put up they would not have my vote, no. Take a guy like Jim Thome, I’ve known Jimmy since he was 19-years-old and he would be the last person that I would ever believe or suspect of doing anything like that so I think he is legitimately a Hall-Of-Famer and should go in. Jack Morris I think should go into the Hall-Of-Fame and I think it’s a crime that he hasn’t been elected into the Hall-Of-Fame but the guys that have been proven that they had done it I don’t think they should be in just like I don’t believe Pete Rose should be in.”
Why he wouldn’t vote for Pete Rose:
“Because he broke a rule that goes to the core of our sport or any sport and I think it was so serious and so bad, the rule that he broke. (Host: But he didn’t do it as a player. That doesn’t matter to you?) It does not matter to me, no. I just think the rule he broke was so near and dear to all of our hearts that I can’t imagine Pete getting into the Hall-Of-Fame because of that. I like Pete. I think Pete is a good guy. I’ve enjoyed talking to him when I’ve talked to him and I enjoyed playing against him when I played against him because he was a tremendous competitor and did a lot of great things on the baseball field but the rule that he broke is so sacrosanct in our sport and in all sports that if you don’t have the trust of the fans no matter what your’e doing in the game, if you break that trust with the fans and your fellow competitors, that it’s just something that I can’t overlook.”