Joe Morgan Unwittingly Argues Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron Don’t Belong In Hall Of Fame

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Joe Morgan is old, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he has the old, outdated, hypocritical opinion that anyone younger than him should be held to a different standard than he, his contemporaries, and those who came before him were.

The Hall of Famer and former second baseman of the Cincinnati Reds wrote a letter to Hall of Fame voters on Tuesday. In it, he vilifies those who partook in baseball’s steroid era, and makes the case they shouldn’t be enshrined in the Hall:

Players who played during the steroid era have become eligible for entry into the Hall of Fame.

The more we Hall of Famers talk about this – and we talk about it a lot – we realize we can no longer sit silent. Many of us have come to think that silence will be considered complicity. Or that fans might think we are ok if the standards of election to the Hall of Fame are relaxed, at least relaxed enough for steroid users to enter and become members of the most sacred place in Baseball. We don’t want fans ever to think that.

We hope the day never comes when known steroid users are voted into the Hall of Fame. They cheated. Steroid users don’t belong here.

Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball’s investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in. Those are the three criteria that many of the players and I think are right.

Then he makes a blanket statement that sort of backfires on him:

But it still occurs to me that anyone who took body-altering chemicals in a deliberate effort to cheat the game we love, not to mention they cheated current and former players, and fans too, doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame.

While the letter makes it pretty clear he’s only referring to players from the 1990s and 2000s, his “anyone who took body-altering chemicals in a deliberate effort to cheat the game” bit makes way for plenty of legendary Hall of Famers whom Morgan clearly didn’t intend to banish from the Hall.

Mickey Mantle was administered outlawed performance-enhancing amphetamines during his time in the majors. A former teammate alleged that Willie Mays had kept an amphetamine known as “red juice” during his New York Mets days. Like Mays, Hank Aaron eventually admitted to using amphetamines (then known as “greenies”) during his career. Even the great Babe Ruth once injected himself with extract from sheep’s testicles in an effort to add strength.

Modern steroids weren’t available then, so some all-time greats took the performance enhancers of the day instead. Would they have used steroids had these players ascended decades later?

If Morgan is serious about protecting the integrity of the Hall of Fame in this way, he would have expanded his shaming to include his contemporaries and the stars that preceded him.

Though it shouldn’t be that surprising that someone attempting to champion the Hall’s character clause while simultaneously supporting former teammate Pete Rose’s case for enshrinement could be capable of this sort of hypocrisy.

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