The recent cheating incident that led to the suspension of a New York Yankees pitcher should not justify a review of past Hall of Fame players who may have employed similar tactics, according to one prominent baseball columnist.
On Thursday, Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was suspended for 10 games
by Major League Baseball "for possessing a foreign substance on his person" during the previous night's game against the Boston Red Sox. Pineda was ejected from the game in the second inning when umpire Gerry Davis found a smear of pine tar on Pineda's neck. Pineda said he was using it to try and improve his grip on the ball on a cold night.
While many MLB players acknowledged the subtle use of pine tar by pitchers, and some batters are even welcoming it for safety reasons, the tipping point in Pineda's case was how brazen he was about it.
New York Post columnist Ken Davidoff, who has a Baseball Writers Association of America Hall of Fame vote, says this type of "cheating" is as old as the game itself. But he told Ed Berliner, J.D. Hayworth, and John Bachman on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV that he does not believe past players should be penalized retroactively for this type of behavior.
"I don’t think a review is necessary," Davidoff said. "I think that history should inform the current voting body. I know it sure as heck informs me when you look at these steroids guys that maybe they're not as horrible human beings that we've been led to believe."
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One pitcher whose name was mentioned frequently during the conversation was Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry, who amassed 314 victories over a 22-year career in which he became notorious for the substances he used to gain an edge. He has been accused of doctoring baseballs with everything from straight saliva to Slippery Elm tablets to Vaseline and even K-Y Jelly, none of which he has admitted to nor denied.
"My personal belief is if baseball outlawed it, if you were found guilty and were penalized, then I think that should factor into the Hall of Fame consideration," Davidoff said.
"In the modern day, that means Manny Ramirez, that means Rafael Palmeiro, guys who were caught using steroids. On the other side, if you maybe committed some acts that were not illegal in the baseball world, and you never were caught, like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, then I would vote for those guys."
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