Billy Wagner: Players suspended for PEDs should be ineligible for HOF
Baseball Hall of Fame candidate and former All-Star reliever Billy Wagner isn't too thrilled about sharing the ballot with players who used performance-enhancing drugs.
Wagner believes that players who were suspended for steroid use during their careers should be considered ineligible for the Hall.
"To me, that is a very easy story," Wagner told New York Post's Mike Puma. "If you are caught and proven without a doubt and you are suspended, I don't know why you are on the ballot."
This year's Hall of Fame election featured two former superstars who the league suspended for juicing. Alex Rodriguez - a three-time MVP who became a poster child for steroid use when he was suspended 162 games for his role in the 2013 BioGenesis scandal - made his debut on the ballot this winter and received 34.3% of the vote. Former Boston Red Sox star Manny Ramirez, who was suspended twice near the end of his career and elected to retire after his second positive test, earned 28.9% in his sixth year on the ballot.
"I understand that A-Rod was one of the greatest players I ever played against, and when all that stuff changes, you just have a hard time," Wagner said. "You go, 'Why? You were already great.' For whatever reason, I just don't think it's fair that (suspended PED users) get to enjoy what guys who did it the correct way are forced to deal with.
"A guy like (longtime Atlanta Braves star) Dale Murphy, who goes out there and hits and gets MVPs and does it correctly, but doesn't get in, but the guy who takes shortcuts shouldn’t get the same privilege."
However, Wagner added that there should be a distinction between players who unequivocally tested positive and those who were never proven to have used PEDs. Former superstars Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa, who all saw their eligibility expire on Tuesday without being elected, have long been connected to steroids despite never testing positive while playing.
David Ortiz, the lone player the BBWAA voted into the Hall this year, tested positive on MLB's anonymous survey test in 2003. However, Ortiz said the positive test stemmed from a nutritional supplement, not steroids, and commissioner Rob Manfred discredited the test.
Wagner made seven All-Star teams during his 16-year career with the Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, Red Sox, and Braves. He received 51% of the vote in Tuesday's election - his seventh year on the Hall of Fame ballot.