August 2, 2013
MarkBernstein.org
 

Cooperstown

I’m heading to Cooperstown this weekend to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a fantasy baseball league I’ve played in for a couple of decades.

What will the Hall of Fame look like in, say, ten years? Sure, Cooperstown is famously a museum run by an accountant and curated by a camel. Still, let’s think about some of the players who, if things continue the way they’re going, will not be playing for the Hall of Fame team in 2023.

  1. Alex Rodriguez ss
  2. Pete Rose 2b
  3. Barry Bonds cf
  4. Mark McGwire 1b
  5. Sammy Sosa rf
  6. Jeff Bagwell 3b
  7. Manny Rodriguez lf
  8. Rafael Palmiero dh
  9. Mike Piazza c

Run that lineup out on the field, and you’re going to win a lot of games against anyone. (Bagwell’s out of position but plausible; substitute Caminiti if you must. Manny platoons with Shoeless Joe.)

People who might not be in the Hall of Fame will include players who have arguable cases for:

And this is pretty much off the top of my head; I’m probably forgetting plenty of people.

Most of this is about drugs. But that’s silly, because everyone today uses performance-enhancing drugs and everyone has access to medical treatment that would have changed everything for players in other times. What might Mickey Mantle have done if his doctors had access to MRIs and arthroscopes? How many careers were lost to torn rotator cuffs before we knew what a rotator cuff was? How about syphilis and tuberculosis? You go to clinic A and get some medicine and everything’s terrific. You go next door and get some medicine and you’re banned for life.