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Highlights of the article:
- Wagner, Billy, a baseball star, says he considers it an honor that opponents used performance-enhancing drugs to attempt to defeat him.
- Those who served PED-related bans, including Alex Rodriguez, should not be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, according to the former All-Star reliever.
- Wagner’s Hall of Fame candidacy, unlike Rodriguez’s, is on the rise at the appropriate moment.
Baseball fans and journalists have been arguing whether or not athletes who took performance-enhancing drugs should be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame for the last two decades. As Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will not-so-happily admit, such discussions are still ongoing.
Wagner, Billy, a former All-Star reliever, knows where he stands after his eighth year on the ballot, and it’s not good news for Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez.
Wagner, Billy is proud of the fact that his opponents had to use performance-enhancing drugs to defeat him.
Wagner, Billy, a baseball superstar, feels honored that his opponents cheated to attempt to defeat him | Getty Images/Jim McIsaac
Wagner, who made his major league debut in 1995 and retired after the 2010 season, pitched practically his entire career during the drug era. Those who used needles or creams couldn’t hit the All-Star reliever, who had a career save total of 422 and held opponents to a. In 903 regular-season innings, he had a.187 batting average against him.
Wagner could have potentially decided to cheat, particularly before the league’s testing regulations were upgraded in 2004, but he opted to play and pitch clean. He still takes pleasure in his approach and has no regrets almost a decade after throwing his last pitch.
In a recent interview with the New York Post, Wagner discussed his feelings about cheaters while he was on stage. He doesn’t agree with individuals who take performance-enhancing drugs, but he’s at least trying to be optimistic.
“I consider it a compliment that someone had to go to the trouble of doing this; they had to go out and purchase supplements in order to compete with someone like me.” That, I believe, is a testament to what I brought, and they had to do that to play in that period because they weren’t having much success against me.”
Wagner, according to Stathead, held Bonds, the most renowned player linked to PED usage, to a.214 average and one home run in 14 at-bats. He also only walked the seven-time National League MVP once and struck him out three times.
Wagner said unequivocally that he does not think Alex Rodriguez belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Alex Rodriguez debuted with 34.3% of ballots. For reference, Bonds (36.2) & Clemens (37.6) each debuted higher 10 years ago. That was at a time when steroids were fresher & sorer subject & voting body stingier with votes.
To put it another way, ARod fared much worse than Bonds/Clemens.
— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) January 25, 2022
Despite his disdain for PED users, Wagner made it obvious that he has put a line in the sand. He believes there is a contrast between those who served bans and others like Bonds and Clemens, who he believes were never proved to have used PEDs despite overwhelming claims and testimonies.
Rodriguez, who fought Wagner on a semi-regular basis in New York in the late 2000s, belongs to the latter group. Because of his links to the Biogenesis controversy, the three-time AL MVP acknowledged to steroid usage in 2009 and was banned for the entire 2014 season.
Wagner said that Rodriguez and any other players who were banned for using performance-enhancing drugs should not be considered for the Hall of Fame.
“I realize that A-Rod was one of the best players I’ve ever faced, and when all of that changes, it’s difficult to adjust.” ‘Why?’ you could wonder. ‘You were already outstanding.’ For whatever reason, I don’t believe it’s fair that [illegal PED users] get to enjoy what others who did it the right way had to endure.”
Rodriguez only had one hit in nine at-bats, while Wagner struck him out three times.
Wagner, unlike Rodriguez, is on his way to becoming a Hall of Famer.
Other Red Sox players who have been nominated for the Hall of Fame include:
Wagner, Billy, 201 votes, 51% Manny Ramirez, 114 votes, 28.9% Jonathan Papelbon, 5 votes 1.3% A.J. Pierzynski 2 votes, 0.5% Carl Crawford 0 (0%) Jake Peavy 0 (0%)
— Christopher Smith (@SmittyOnMLB) January 25, 2022
In his first year on the ballot, over 30% of voters – 34.3 percent to be precise — marked out Rodriguez’s name. Ramirez, who was banned twice for PED usage between 2009 and 2011, received 28.9% of the vote this cycle, his highest total ever.
Wagner, unlike the other two, continues to get more votes and is on pace to receive a bronze plaque in the near future. Wagner jumped from 11.1 percent to 16.7 percent in 2019, his fourth year on the ballot, after garnering just 11.1 percent in 2018.
From there, he increased to 31.7 percent in 2020 and 46.4 percent in 2021, thanks in part to analytics and more people marking off nine or ten names rather than just two or three. Wagner has benefited greatly from what is known as the “big-hall mentality.”
Wagner’s résumé is spotless, and he has no links to performance-enhancing substances, but that goes without saying. Whether it’s fair or not, there’s a reason he has a greater chance than Rodriguez or Ramirez of walking the stage in Cooperstown, N.Y.
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RELATED: While Curt Schilling was one again passed over for the Hall of Fame, he pleaded for others to be considered.
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