About Brien Jackson

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

35 thoughts on “Manny Ramirez Should Be In The Hall of Fame

  1. agreed. there are alcoholics (mickey mantle), racists (ty cobb and countless others), probably woman beaters, and all sorts of crazy ass off the field people in the HOF. The writers just will do anything to try and make up for the fact that THEY AS THE MEDIA missed the 800 pound gorilla in the room during the peak of the steroid era because THEY were getting paid off it, indirectly, as well. SMFH.

    • Using alcohol or being a racist don't help inflate your performance on the field though. The numbers are what gets someone into the HOF. With PED's we can't trust the numbers anymore. Manny won't get into the Hall and he shouldn't.

      The only good point Brien makes here is that exclusion from consideration for the HOF based on PED usage should be made more explicit in voting rules.

      And using PED's has always been "officially" banned because any "illegal" substance was banned even before baseball had a specific Steroid policy. Obtaining and using the steroids and HGH in question without properly obtained prescriptions has been illegal for quite some time.

      • Unless you're advocating removing everyone who used cocaine in the 70's from the Hall of Fame, this too has no bearing on anything.

  2. a lot of mistakes have been made during the PED years—allowing Manny Ramirez into the Hall shouldn't be one of them. Sorry Manny, 550 isn't gonna cut it anymore.

    • You're certainly entitled to your opinion regarding steroid use and the Hall of Fame, but if you think Manny Ramirez's HOF credentials are based solely on his home run total, you're a little off base.

  3. I disagree with Brien. To me cheating by scuffing a ball and using PEDs is vastly different. One only benefits occasionally while the other benefits all the time. Not only did Manny cheat for extended periods of time, when he got his first suspension, but he knowingly did it again.
    The greatest anecdotal evidence for the benefit of PEDs came from the quotes given by Red Sox players when they talked about Manny's increase in bat speed and how strong he looked. To me this tells me all I know about the benefits of PEDs.

    • That evidence, which is anecdotal and completely subjective, is enough for you? Even the greatest anecdotal evidence is still anecdotal evidence, and what you cited is extraordinarily weak. I do not know what Red Sox players you are talking about, but what kind of experts are they on chemically enhancing performance? Consider for a moment what exactly you know about the effect of PED use on baseball performance and the extent of Manny's PED use. It is unworthy of the intelligence of anyone to draw any conclusions on the evidence we have of Manny's use.

    • "The greatest anecdotal evidence for the benefit of PEDs came from the quotes given by Red Sox players when they talked about Manny's increase in bat speed and how strong he looked. To me this tells me all I know about the benefits of PEDs. "

      This…means absolutely nothing.

      • How come? From the reports I have read at the end of last season Manny's bat speed was well down and he was being handled mug easier than he had ever been. Then somehow over the course of a winter he gets his great bat speed back and looks much stronger than he did? This after he was off the juice after failing and sitting out due to a positive test with the Dodgers? To me that, along with what how we know PEDs alter body mass, shows how great of an impact these were making in Manny's ability to play baseball.

        • How come? There are lots of reasons, I'll give you two. One is that you're reasoning from effect to cause. Even if we could prove that anabolic steroids increase bat speed (and this is a more complicated issue than you might imagine), you cannot flip this equation and say that any increase in bat speed is caused by anabolic steroids. In Manny's case, he had a winter of rest, something that might help an older guy (older in baseball years) regain some bat speed.

          Second: you are assuming that Manny went off the juice after he failed his first drug test. You don't know that to be true. We just know that he didn't get caught between 2009 and 2011. The fact that he did get caught in 2011, in a drug test he knew he'd have to take when he entered spring training, indicates that Manny wasn't exactly careful in the way he used PEDs.

  4. The hall of fame lost all its meaning and credibility to me when they didn't let Jeff Bagwell a few months ago. And I'm sorry, but people debating the value of the Hall now…where the hell were you for one of the all-time best first basemen? There was never even suspicion around Bagwell (at least not beyond the witch hunters saying "he's strong and hits home runs, he must be on something"). That should have been a huge issue. People should have been blasting the voters then, not now.

    • Plenty of people blasted the voters for their non-votes on Bagwell. Pretty much the entire baseball blogging community (well, at least those with a Hall of Fame interest) were all over that subject.

      Bagwell will get in eventually, don't worry. Cooler heads will definitely prevail on that one. The HOF fate of the confirmed users may be a different story.

  5. "The numbers are what gets someone into the HOF. With PED's we can't trust the numbers anymore. Manny won't get into the Hall and he shouldn't."

    Manny made 18M last season. I think we should be talking about how players benefit financially from PED's. We're not talking about a 'suspected' PED user, Manny was caught twice. Cheaters don't deserve the HOF period.

    • Maybe the cheaters don't, but I don't care much about that. What I would like is a Hall of Fame that is an actual museum of baseball. Any museum of baseball that has a set of the greatest baseball players includes Manny Ramirez. Preferably, that museum also documents what we know about PED use in baseball. What we're going to have in five years (when Manny is first eligible) will be neither.

  6. If they let Gaylord Perry into the Hall, I don't see how the voters have a lot of room to not let people who cheated in different manners into the Hall.

    I, however, will view players who have been caught cheating to get ahead in their career in a different light. Manny is in that category having found a way to be caught twice. That different viewing doesn't change their credentials for the HOF which are still all about numbers and not how they got them.

  7. Ugh! Sorry, but I couldn't stand this article. Does not blend well with the blog here. I was proud reading the post and subsequent comments from biscuit pants (great name btw!), but I can't believe any support here for Manny entering the HOR. 3 failed tests! Are you kidding me! It's a slap in the face to the game, like no other. Worse to me than Bonds, McGwire, etc., b/c he got busted and kept using. Buster Olney said it best, it's pure arrogance. He felt he was above the game. And he made $250M+ total for doing it, so good for him, but bad for baseball and bad for baseball fans. All PED-usage was not created equal. All wrong, but just like crimes, there are different degrees, and Manny is an A$$^&@% in the 1st degree!

  8. When my Dad took me to the HOF he told me stories about the players there who he'd seen play. When I take my (here's assuming) kids, I'm not going to have anyone to talk about. The voters may not realize it yet, but every legend who is denied entry based on proven or suspected PEDs use is another nail in the Hall's coffin.

    • It's really sort of sad. If we went now, amongst recent inductions I'd mostly be telling my step-son why Jim Rice and Andre Dawson shouldn't be there, how over-represented relief pitchers are, why it took Bert Blyleven so long to get in, and then about how good Roberto Alomar was.

      But at least McGwire isn't there to sully the place's good name.

  9. The most interesting thing are the two cases on the periphery: Palmiero and Clemens.

    Palmiero was also a HOF lock, but failed a test. His story (accidental) may or may not ring true, but a) he'll almost certainly never, ever get the benefit of the doubt and b) he threw another player under the bus, which means he'll never, ever get support from anyone ever again. With Clemens, the lawsuit is amazing. Whether out of sheer arrogance or not, he made the same denials others made under Congressional oath — VOLUNTARILY, not under supoena — and a) turned down a plea deal and b) is now suing his primary witness for defamation. That's ASTOUNDING. With all of the "race baiting" comments about the Bonds trial ("ZOMG HE'S BLACK, RAILROADED!") people forget that Clemens is indicted by Congress as well. Can you IMAGINE what is going to happen to the sanctimony of the HOF voters acting as judge, jury and executioner to HOF changes in the Steroid Era if Clemens *wins* his trial?

  10. Addressing point 3 – maybe just another case of "Manny being Manny?" or – probably more likely – I would guess he was using something new – a new synthetic analog that was "guaranteed" impossible to detect. Really, that's the only logical explanation. And it must have worked well enough that he didn't even want to cycle off long enough to drop clean.

    Or, again, he just didn't care.

  11. Would players use PED's if it only gave them a small edge? I don't think so. As others have said, most of the people who have been implicated with steroids were already HOF locks. (ARod, Bond, Clemens, Manny, etc.)

    The natural ability was definitely there and so was the greed..

    • Pedro, you may be asking one of a number of good questions, but I'm not sure which one. Are you saying that PEDs must give ballplayers a large edge, or else they wouldn't have used them? If so, my quick answer is that ballplayers are not capable of measuring the edge that PEDs might provide. There is no objective before and after test possible — there are hundreds of factors that enter into a ballplayer's performance, and it's impossible for any single ballplayer (no matter how scientifically inclined he might be) to isolate the impact of any single factor.

  12. Nearly everybody of noteworthy achievement who was caught taking PEDs or were suspected of taking PEDs are already in the Hall of Fame, in the form of some photo, memorabilia, or literature from their achievements. Manny's already in the Hall, in recognition of hitting 500 home runs. So are Bonds, McGwire, Sosa, Clemons, Palmeiro, etc. Even Brady Anderson is in the Hall for hitting 50 dingers in a year. It's not like the Hall of Fame as a museum won't preserve these achievements for the historical record.

    The question of whether players tainted with the spectre of PEDs should be VOTED into the Hall of Fame is another matter altogether. Their legacies live on in some respect, but whether they should be immortalized for their career achievement, on the shoulders of giants, so to speak, is troublesome, and I'm not sure that we can answer this in this generation.

    Here are two possible alterations to the voting process for entry into the Hall of Fame: 1) Any player who was caught taking PEDs must wait 15 years after their official retirement to be eligible for the HOF voting process; 2) The Hall eliminates the 5% threshold for this generation for 20 years. The idea is that we shouldn't make any haste decision on the PED era now, that we shouldn't outright disqualify candidates without a better survey of this era's legacy, and that only with distance can we better evaluate the historic value of these inflated numbers.

    Some will say that the Veterans' Committee exists to correct anything or anyone that was overlooked in our era. The point is, the Hall of Fame is about more than players: it's also about the writers who are their peers, judge, and jury with respect to the Hall of Fame, and writers also need some time, distance, and more perspective to evaluate the players of this era.

    So, what's my verdict on Manny Ramirez's worthiness for the Hall of Fame? How can any of us claim to be comfortable in answering this question now? Let us wait and ponder these points, and hope that in time, we can achieve something closer to a consensus.

  13. It seems every time we discuss whether a player is worthy of the hall it essentially boils down to: What should a player that gets elected into the Hall of Fame represent? The best of his era? The best players of his position(s) across all of baseball? (If the latter, how do you compare numbers from different eras?)

    I have an answer that works for me, but I don't speak for anyone.

    For me, I weigh the player in the era that they played in. MLB willingly turned a blind eye to both greenies and PEDs for a long time. It does have meaning to me whether they cheated or not … but only if there is proof (and not speculation) as to that person really doing the deed.

    Manny put up awesome offensive numbers in the pre-testing era. His defense was not something anyone is going to rave about. Is it Hall worthy compared to his peers in the outfield during the same era? That is the only question for me at this point.

    For whatever reason, he got caught violating the drug policy multiple times … twice in pre-season when he knew the tests were coming. He quite possibly used PEDs to help his numbers, but how much so, we will never know. He made a ton of money doing that. But that is neither here nor there as far as his numbers pre-testing are concerned.

  14. Putting Manny to one side, here's a list of the major league players who have received sanctions for testing positive for PEDs under MLB's drug policy:

    2010: Edison Volquez and Ronny Paulino
    2009: Kelvin Pichardo
    2008: Eliezer Alfonzo, Humberto Cota, Sergio Mitre and J.C. Romero
    2007: Juan Salas, Ryan Jorgensen, Dan Serafini, Jay Gibbons and Jose Guillen
    2006: Yusaku Iriki, Jason Grimsley and Guillermo Mota
    2005: Alex Sanchez, Jorge Piedra, Agustin Montero, Jamal Strong, Juan Rincon, Rafael Betancourt, Rafael Palmiero, Ryan Franklin, Mike Morse, Carlos Almanzar, Felix Heredia and Matt Lawton

    Mostly replacement and below-replacement level players, hoping for substantial increases in talent … doesn't look like they all got it!

    • Yeah, but there is an opposite list of HOF quality players that have admitted or failed non league tests that can say PEDs do have an effect. The biggest effect i think is prolonging a players peak years. Bonds, Clemens, Palmiero, Manny are players with HOF ability and probably HOF careers without, but the bloating of stats that came from them in their older years is certainly "aided" by false means. Right?

  15. The problem we are facing with judging this era is how to you reconcile the fact that there are players that did NOT take steroids that have had great careers that have potentially been overshadowed by the huge power numbers of the steroid era. Despite what some people on here believe, Steroids must of had some kind of positive effect on power.

    • Here's the problem. We have no way of knowing just how much certain supplements like steroids boost a player's number. It seems likely (to me at least) that they will help certain players more than others. But again, we have no way of accurately measuring it (and a large speculation list of who might have been doing it).

      I don't condone cheating, but on the other hand, the PEDs era in sports shows that people are willing to take short-cuts to get ahead for fame and/or fortune … and in some cases, they are even willing to do that regardless of the consequences.

      Given the pre-testing Wild West days of MLB, the only thing we can do is evaluate the numbers of players in an era and evaluate them for what they are.

  16. I'll admit I'm still not certain where I stand on the whole steroid issue. They cheated, no real way around that. But in context of the sport, baseballs always had cheats, as many of pointed out. But, in my opinion, there is a difference between doing coke and taking steroids. I understand the argument that if everyone was cheating and there were still great players, obviously they wouldve been great without them bc they were beating up on other roided up players. This is where I can't make my mind up. See the argument makes sense, but then there is a huge disadvantage for those who didn't use and still had HOF numbers (see Bagwell) that get left out or accused of taking roids because everyone else was. The most logical solution that I keep coming to in my mind, but the league and HOF would have to adopt it as policy, would be that players in the pre-testing era would be let off the hook in a sense. They would be judged based on how well they did compared to their talents and it's unfair to punish them because baseball was unwilling to acknowledge a huge problem and let the players do whatever they wanted. However, for the testing era, any player who failed a drug test is ineligible for the hall of fame. Simple as that. Baseball officially made steroids illegal and you have to play by the rules. By this criteria, Bonds, Clemens, A-rod, ( I don't think Mcgwire is HOF worthy even without the PEDS, but thats another argument) would be elligible for HOF, but Palmeiro, Ramirez would not because they failed a drug test while testing was in place. (Side note: how the hell does manny fail 2 tests and is supossedly on teh 2003 "annomyous" list? he shouldnt get in on stupidity alone). We'll never be able to know the full effects of roids on performance, but I think acknowledging that it existed, and that it was legal for a certain period of time, and at the same time say, this doesnt happen anymore, would go a long way to easing peoples minds. But seligs got to be the one to do it, and I doubt he ever will.

  17. Manny should not be in the hall of fame. Call it "Manny being Manny" but he quit on two teams–Red Sox and Rays. Manny did not retire he quit. He may be able to hit a ball but really is he one of the best. Oh and its not just because he took steroids it is because he got caught TWICE after they started testing for it. Manny is a sad, sad man. Not a role model I want to take my kids to go see in Cooperstown.

  18. Your points are well taken and this: "you cannot argue from a general trend to particular cases." is the stongest argument and unfortunatley the point that most people don't get. However, to the issue of Manny, what do you do with someone who continually flaunts the leagues policy? Ignore it because we can't catch everyone who cheated?

    • 27-27, it's a completely different analysis if we want to talk about banning Manny from the HOF simply because he cheated, and if we're willing to put aside the question of whether or how much his cheating enhanced his performance (and his numbers). In other words, we can debate whether to put Manny in the same box as Pete Rose (cheater, banned) or Gaylord Perry (cheater, not banned).

      If THIS is the debate, then I think that if Pete Rose is banned, then so should Manny. But personally, I don't believe in using a HOF ban as a form of punishment. (Who exactly are we punishing? Particularly with a banned player like Shoeless Joe Jackson, who has been dead for nearly 50 years. I think we are punishing ourselves.) My own point of view is that Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame, and that his plaque should state that the guy broke one of the most sacrosanct rules in baseball. Ditto Manny. But I am so far from the mainstream on this issue, I hesitate to even offer an opinion.

      • Rose isn't banned for cheating, he's banned for gambling on baseball games.

  19. The issue isn't whether PED's helps a player perform better – it's that a player, knowing it's not permitted, took it anyway thinking it would help them perform better. It's a stain on the game which can't be removed, mostly because it was so pervasive – used by the best, the most average and probably the worst players. And that's the beauty of the HOF; it's an opportunity to make social comment. Here, the social comment is that widespread cheating is wrong. And for that reason, I applaud all of the voters who won't vote for McGuire, Palmeiro or the rest of the cheaters to come. And I have no problem guessing who was a cheater, even without proof.

    • "And that's the beauty of the HOF; it's an opportunity to make social comment."

      That's your opinion and, in my opinion, your opinion couldn't be more wrong. If nothing else, it makes the HoF look pretty bad if they're "social comment" is that guys who unethically took drugs they thought would enhance performance are more socially unacceptable than people like Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Yawkey, Comiskey, etc.