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HOF Voters to McGuire: 'We're Not Here to Talk About the Past'

Dateline Cooperstown, NY - January 9, 2007

On a day when the two of the greatest men to ever walk a baseball diamond were accepted into the hallowed halls of the Baseball Hall of Fame, the biggest story was over one who was not. While the earstwhile reverence for Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken, elected by a near record percentage of votes, was felt nationwide, the loudest debate was over that of Mark McGuire.

"Well, I feel that this is a travesty," said Mic Selizik of the St. Louis Post, "Mark was a great slugger and an even better role model. However, while I feel that it is a shame that other voters and sports commentators seem to want to play judge, jury, and executioner now, today is not a day to talk about the past."

Indeed, while there are many on both sides of this contentious issue, one thing is clear: These voters did not come to the table today to talk about the past.

"Many people say that McGuire was the premier slugger of his day, and that his respect amongst his peers and his love of kids and the game of baseball was unparalleled," said Brad Holsney of the Oakland Times, "But really, we're here today dealing with the serious topic of Hall inclusion. We're not here to talk about the past."

McGuire, who received only 23.5% of the vote, far short of the 75% needed for acceptance into the hall of fame, has been a controversial figure after his remarks before a Congressional inquiry on steroids in baseball. It was in that moment when he refused to discuss any direct knowledge he had of steroid use among major leaguers in his baseball career. While there is no concrete proof that 'Big Mac' ever used steroids, his evasive testimony, coupled with printed accusations in Jose Canseco's book, has tainted his legacy for many.

McGuire himself released a statement this afternoon, defending his legacy and firing back at critics.

"Some people may say that 23.5% of the vote is a statement against the 'steroid age' in baseball. However, tell that to Scott Brosius, or Wally Joyner. Nobody ever mentions them as potential steroid users, and I don't believe they ever were. But you know what, they also aren't going to be on the ballot next year, since nobody at all voted for either one of them.

Its this kind of speculation and accusatory writing that is tarnishing the game's image. I was hoping that the voters today could be constructive, but one thing that I will not get into is a witch hunt. I am certainly not going to take today's events as bait to talk about the past."

As a pseudo-litmus test for the Steroid Age in professional baseball, Mark Mcguire has provided a confusing look forward for upcoming Hall nominees like Rafael Palmeiro and Barry Bonds. What the future holds for these men, and McGuire, is anybody's guess. One thing is for certain, however, Hall voters did not come here today to talk about the past.

For WNN this is Wellde Servedsmiting reporting.





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