As of Monday, Mark McGwire is on the ballot for baseball's Hall of Fame. He of the 583 home runs. He of the classic 1998 summer and the pursuit of Roger Maris' hallowed record. He - the poster child for the sport's "Steroids Era."
There is nothing sexier in baseball than the home run. Obviously, Hall of Fame voters - those who have been members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) for 10-plus years – concur, as no eligible player with 500 or more homers has ever been denied entry.
So by the numbers, McGwire is a slam-dunk selection. And anyone who makes that argument has a legitimate claim. Conversely, anyone who says that McGwire should never get in because his accomplishments may very well be tainted also stand on solid ground.
The BBWAA often has tough decisions to mak, but, for the most part, those decisions are always based on the numbers. The McGwire decision is based on morals. It's also based on each writer’s interpretation of those morals and ethics. If you believe in innocent until absolutely proven guilty, then McGwire gets your vote. If you think McGwire cheated the game and his fans and Maris' hallowed record, he's out.
And with Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, and, gulp, Barry Bonds likely to be up for Hall consideration within the next decade, this "moral" decision will be revisited on numerous occasions.
Should McGwire get in or not? That debate can go on forever. One thing all can agree on: this Hall of Fame vote will likely be the most scrutinized ever.