ARLINGTON, Texas – Count veteran Lance Berkman among those who feels that players who did steroids should not be in the Hall of Fame.
“My personal opinion as a guy who’s done it clean my whole career is that if a guy has taken steroids he shouldn’t be in,” said Berkman, who just signed a one-year deal with the Texas Rangers for 2013. “I know that there are guys whose career was made because they took steroids. They might not have even been major leaguers had they not just absolutely gone off the deep end on that stuff.”
Berkman says that he doesn’t believe voters should “split hairs” on whether someone deserves induction because they may qualify even before they used performance-enhancing drugs.
“To me, it’s either all or none,” Berkman said. “If somebody put a gun to my head, I’d say none.”
Berkman, who began his career in 1999 and has spent most of it in Houston, said he never saw steroids being used in a clubhouse and wasn’t ever offered the chance to use them.
“People have this perception of the steroid era like guys are walking around with needles hanging out their rear end in the clubhouse,” Berkman said. “At least in our clubhouse, there was never even a whiff of it. Maybe I was naïve. When you’re a young player, you’ve got a lot more to worry about than who’s taking steroids and who’s not. You’re trying to stay in the big leagues and worry about your performance.”
Berkman said the only time he suspected something might be going on was when Ken Caminiti, who has admitted to using steroids, got on the team charter with “a tackle box of supplements of some kind.”
“I was like, ‘That guy is really dedicated to working out,’” Berkman said.
Berkman thinks that once one of the players that used steroids gets in the Hall of Fame, all of them will get in. He also believes that former teammate Craig Biggio is a Hall of Famer and doesn’t understand the idea of not voting for him because it’s his first time on the ballot.
“There are some writers that say he’s not first ballot as though there were some sort of distinction,” Berkman said. “You go back, even as little as 10 years ago, I can’t even tell you who is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. It’s about who’s in the Hall of Fame and who’s not. It’s my opinion that if a guy is a Hall of Famer, then put him in the Hall of Fame. Don’t play this game where he has to play the game as though 20 years in the big leagues and 3,000 hits isn’t paying your dues.”