Baseball Hall of Fame Announces PED Education Program
The program is called "Be A Superior Example" or "BASE." It will officially begin this summer with community outreach programs at schools, specifically targeting middle school and high school athletic programs.
In addition to being a museum in Cooperstown, N.Y. that honors baseball's history, the National Baseball Hall of Fame's other purpose is to serve as an educational resource. According to President Jeff Idelson this new initiative helps "give context to the issues that have faced our game" and serves as a way to teach young people "about American culture [...] through the lens of baseball."
Perhaps the most prevalent component of baseball's recent history that the Hall of Fame is now forced to address is the role that PEDs may have played in many records set during the 1990s and 2000s. The BASE program has been introduced at a time when Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens will appear on the ballot for the first time. Their accomplishments have been significantly tainted by accusations that they used PEDs during their careers.
Many fans and players have called for their names to be erased from the record books permanently or be marked with an asterisk. In a press release touting the BASE program, Idelson insists that this initiative was not released to influence Cooperstown voters.
"The BASE program provides educational content, as mission-based programming designed to influence the lives of young adults and promote the healthy elements of playing all sports the right way," said Idelson. "It is not intended to cast a directive to voters about Hall of Fame-worthy candidates."
So far, players accused of using PEDs during their career have not faired well with voters. Rafael Palmeiro, who tested positive for steroids in 2005 and is a member of both the 3,000-hit and 500-home-run clubs, only garnered 12.6 percent of the vote this past year. Players must obtain 75 percent of the vote to gain entry to the Hall.
"Hall of Fame voting has been a part of this nation's fabric since 1936, and has touted the virtues of character, sportsmanship, and integrity, along with the contributions to the game, as integral qualifications for earning election," said Idelson.
Other players eligible for the Hall of Fame next year include Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio and David Wells.
Reach Steven by email.