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"Guys Have Always Been Cheating. Period."

Who would offer such a dramatic proclamation, you ask? Barry Bonds? Jose Canseco? Another defamed former steroids popper?

Nope, the quote in the headline was proffered up by none other than Bob Gibson before yesterday's All-Star Game during an interview with ESPN's Mike & Mike in the Morning.

Before you read the entire quotable passage, realize this: Gibson is a former player who seems to be in the minority when it comes to handling steroids. He feels that some players who knowingly used the drugs still belong in the Hall of Fame.

Then again, Gibson clearly feels that keeping those players out would only make the Hall of Fame hypocritical in a subtle way, admitting cheaters in one era but not in another. The difference is that Gibson doesn't feel that there's any distinction between a spitball and steroids.

"Guys have always been cheating. Period. It just takes a little different form today. I'm just glad they didn't have steroids when I was playing. I don't know what I would have done. It's very difficult to go out and perform when you know the guy next to you is taking steroids or some kind of drug to make you perform better and not do it yourself, to let this guy get an edge on you. ...

I don't know that I really criticize the guys. Whoever the first guy is that started it, that's the guy I criticize. The rest of the guys just followed suit. I don't think its Ok. I'm not sanctioning it, but I understand why it happens."

Is Gibson right? To an extent he definitely is. The question is just how far along you follow his logic. It's a compelling argument, and one that is hard to not find sympathy with.

What do people think? Is Gibson right, or is he just an old man who doesn't want to hold any more grudges than he already has?

By Cameron Smith  |  July 15, 2009; 4:16 PM ET
Categories:  Cardinals  | Tags: Bob Gibson, Cardinals, Hall of Fame, media, steroids  
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Comments

He makes a very compelling argument and his opinion is probably more popular than we may think. People who feel the same way as Gibson are probably afraid to admit it for fear of being chastised. Kudos to Bob for throwing this out there. I wish more players and former players would do the same.

Posted by: PhilliesPhan | July 15, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Gibson is right to infer that every era had its' cheaters. Go back in baseball's history - Loading the baseball, doctoring the fields, corked bats, the color barrier, varying mound heights, amphetamines, steroids/PED's, etc.. Individual players & sometimes whole teams have looked for an edge since the game began.

Yet the Hall of Fame has enshrined players, Managers & even Owners who have violated the written or implied "rules of the game" over the years. Right now, the only thing that will keep a deserving player out of the HOF is being banned for gambling on the game.

Maybe it's the BBWA & HOF voters who need to take the step forward and define the criteria for enshrinement. I'll offer a couple of simple concepts as an opener: 1) Was the individual a dominant force (consistently one of the best three to five) at his position over an eight to 10-year period? Or, 2) Was the individual able to maintain a relatively high level of performance over an extended period of time (16-20+ years)? If the answer to either question is yes, then that individual is worthy of debate & review; If the answer to both is yes, than that individual should be on a "short-list" for enshrinement.

Posted by: BinM | July 15, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

you don't hear anyone complaining about teams having buckets of "greenies" around the clubhouse for players to pop. they were giving them speed before the game!!!

and while it may not be as sound medically back then, people are always looking for an edge. in guys this competitive, if they think sleeping on one foot will get them an extra hit, they'll do it.

it has gotten a lot more advanced, but that's just medical progress for you. i think the most important thing is for everyone to look at baseball records in the context of the time period they were put up in.

500 homers isn't a TON now, but back in the day of mays, aaron and ruth it was HUGE. the fact that only a few people have broken their records since then makes them all the more impressive.

are we also going to call out teams for building smaller parks that favor hitters? are we going to start calling the use of the humidor in colorado cheating? they're intentionally changing the baseballs.

baseball respects the record book a lot more than other professional sports, which leads to a lot of people feeling cheated when people who have bent the rules break them. i respect that. but we need to realize that you have to look at things in the perspective of the time they're put up.

Posted by: adampschroeder | July 16, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

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