Goose Gossage Has Opinions, Man

You know what really adds to the already complex and delicate Hall of Fame discussions? The half-considered opinions of former players. We can all safely assume Goose Gossage, a man famous of denigrating modern relievers and injuring himself while fist-fighting one of his teammates, careful sifted through the many sides of the steroids debate, weighing his own experience in an era best known for dedication to physical fitness AND NOT AT ALL cocaine before sounding off on the prospect of suspected steroid users gaining access to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Surely, Goose made use of his training as a medical doctor before asserting that should drug-addled pariahs somehow weasel their way into Cooperstown, he won`t be back to the Hall.

“In that case, I won’t be there,” said Gossage. “If I was a fan, I wouldn’t even show up. You’ve got all the kids in the world watching this. What does that tell our kids, that there’s no punishment for cheating?

Thank you, Goose. I’m so glad that SOMEONE is finally thinking of the children. Goose’s fellow Hall of Famer Jim Bunning goes on to confidently note that Bud Selig would be “by himself” on stage at the induction ceremony as “none of the current members would show up” in a San Diego Union-Transfer piece on the Hall of Fame quandary facing voters this year.

I cannot speak for anyone else but I am shocked — SHOCKED — by this stunning revelation. The great consternation and internal debate must keep Gossage up at night, provided he and his fellow players are able to achieve full REM sleep after a generation of amphetamine use forever altered their brain chemistry.

Look, Goose and his fellow players are free to ignore the sins of their fathers, brothers, and themselves as much as they want. They can pretend their collective noses are clean (literally and figuratively) if it means they can keep prattling on about the integrity of the game.

Gossage goes on the lament changes in his perception of players’ physiology, bemoaning muscle-bound launching moonshots in batting practice to previously unexplored corners of the bleachers. Which is natural. Gossage and his contemporary’s reactions are completely natural. The intersection between a rise in drug use and increased dedication to fitness make the entire situation an ugly one.

Expecting any less from players like Gossage isn’t fair. Just as it isn’t fair to lump all “cheaters” together without much more than hunches and innuendo. Players took things they shouldn’t have and the prevailing opinion suggests it provided unfair advantages – just as player who competed before Tommy John surgeries, laser eye procedures and cortisone injections inevitably feel cheated. When their bodies broke down, they were done. No second acts in American lives, indeed.

Should Gossage and friends to turn their back on the Hall, the only ones who actually suffer are the fans. Again. As always. Principled stances are nice and all but these retired players are well served in remembering exactly who actually gets cheated in the end.

Comments (13)

  1. Missing something at end of second last paragraph.

  2. All players who played before 1947 should not be in the HOF since blacks weren’t allowed

    Also any player that benefited from surgeries that did not involved leaches had an unfair advantage over those who didn’t have surgery options so they shouldn’t be in.

  3. “What does that tell our kids, that there’s no punishment for cheating?”

    Gaylord Perry. His cheating was more fun.

  4. Look the hall of fame is a farce. No hits leader, no HR King, no Clemens no Big Mac….the list goes on. Who except the most pompous of ex players and baseball writers can even take it at all seiously at this stage. The “morality” clause is one of te most idiotic things in sport. The reality is a generation of baseball fans is growing up with no regard what so ever for the hall. What little relevance that remains will disappear over the next 20-30 years.

  5. This is a very fair piece. I’m glad you don’t just pile on Gossage as a moron, and that you try to see it from his point of view.

    I wonder if Gossage’s phrase “What does that tell our kids, that there’s no punishment for cheating?”” tells us more than we think on first glance.

    Someone like Gossage knows cheating has always gone on, but maybe it’s the induction of known cheats who haven’t received any official sanction that is the problem. If a guy was caught taking cocaine and was punished, it at least affected his chances of getting to the hall, or his chances of getting there first ballot. Likewise gambling, likewise spitting. Those who were caught doing the crime did at least an amount of time, and usually begged forgiveness from the baseball deities before being welcomed back to the bosom of the church.

    With the steroid issue, there’s been no admission, no contrition and no ‘justice being seen to be done’ for many players who it is public knowledge cheated according to the rules of the game. I can see how that might stick in the craw of even the most depraved, cheating, spit-balling, cocaine-sniffing, greeny-chomping veteran.

    The fact is, if a few more of them would just TELL THE BLOODY TRUTH it would move this story into so much more of a mature space. Where players say ‘yes I took steroids, and here’s why – there were no checks, because of peer pressure, because MLB was turning a blind eye in one direction while winking at me with the other, because everyone was doing it, because why the hell should I let my career go to waste while others were national heroes.” That’s why I’m still pissed off at Bonds, Sosa and McGuire more than anything … they continue to hold onto a version of the past that is manifestly untrue, and in the process create this mess of a debate.

  6. +1, cocaine is a hell of a drug. I’ve never done steroids but I’ve done some coke and some amphetamines in my life and I can guarantee that coke and amphetamines are a hell of a lot more addictive than steroids. So when I think of my kids, and what I would like them to be protected from, I think the choice is obvious

    • +100 for honesty.

    • I’ve been told by someone who has done steroids they have a sort of addictive quality themselves. You’ll never just do one cycle. It’s just too easy and it will always play on the back of your mind, you know you have the option.

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