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Hall voters have their say on steroids and greatness

Selected quotes from baseball writers who will be eligible to
vote for the Hall of Fame by 2007 -- and who responded to The
Associated Press survey this week on whether they would vote for
Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire:

Henry Schulman, San Francisco Chronicle
"McGwire, I'm definitely going to vote for on the first ballot.
The Hall of Fame is not a museum for saints. It's filled with
racists, philanderers, players who used cork bats and spitters and
everything at their disposal to their advantage. It's hard for me
to single McGwire out. Unless he commits a crime, he's on my
ballot."

On Bonds

"My inclination is that I will vote for him on the first
ballot. I think he was a Hall of Famer before he had those monster
home run seasons. He was a 500-500 guy before he had those
seasons."

Ron Bergman, longtime baseball writer in the San Francisco Bay area
for several newspapers
"I will not vote for McGwire or Bonds in the first year of
their eligibility in order to make a statement of sorts. After
that, it depends on what becomes of the allegations against them."

Bill Dwyre, the Los Angeles Times
"I won't vote for Bonds as things stand now because the
preponderance of the evidence indicates that he enhanced his
performance. I'm open at the end of the BALCO case to change my
mind and reverse my stance. McGwire, I'm totally at a loss. I'm
uncertain right now. I just don't have enough information."

Doug Spoon, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
"No, I would not vote for either McGwire or Bonds. I have too
many doubts, not only about their physical abilities, but also
about their honesty and integrity as human beings. I could not in
good conscience vote for players who will always leave me wondering
what they might have done based on their natural abilities alone.
Worse yet, their conduct during the investigation has further
removed them from Hall of Fame status in my mind."

Doug Krikorian, (Long Beach) Press-Telegram
"I would very strongly vote yes on both of them. I don't care
what they used. … I'd vote for them in a second. I'm not that
pious."

Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times
"I will not vote for Mark McGwire. It's obvious from his own
statements he used some form of performance enhancing drugs and
it's obvious from his statistics he did not become a Hall of Fame
type player until he did so. I will vote for Barry Bonds. He was a
great player before the steroids era. Most of the things that make
him a Hall of Fame player, steroids can't help."

John Perrotto, Beaver County (Pa.) Times
"To me, skinny Barry was as good as big Barry -- he was good
even before the questions arose about steroids. I covered skinny
Barry for a long time and he was a heck of a player even before he
got big."

Bob Hertzel, The (Morgantown, W.Va.) Dominion Post
"I would vote for both of them since neither broke any baseball
rules, as near as I can tell."

Joe Ostermeier, Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat
"It wasn't illegal when he (McGwire) allegedly did steroids.
Whether he was honest or forthcoming in his comments before
Congress, that's his own deal. But I don't think that negates his
standing as a Hall of Fame ballplayer."

Rob Parker, The Detroit News
"I'm not bothered by the steroids issue and because there were
no rules on the books before December 2003, it's impossible to go
back in time and penalize people. Would I rather people not use
steroids? Sure. People talk about integrity in baseball, but there
is no integrity. This is the same sport that kept blacks out until 1947. If you want to talk about asterisks, let's go back and
do that prior to 1947. It's the most ridiculous witch hunt I've
ever heard of. If we got past the omission of blacks in baseball,
we can get past this."

Dan Le Batard, The Miami Herald
"First-ballot Hall of Famers, both of them. It wasn't against
the rules of their workplace. There are 20 guys in the 500-home run
club. Everyone was playing with the same rules, and nobody else hit
500 home runs. Barry Bonds is the greatest player of our lifetime,
with or without steroids. He won three MVPs as a stick figure. …
I don't think they were cheating. Something has to be against the
rules for you to be cheating. Despite their size, these guys
climbed through a loophole."

Joe Posnanski, The Kansas City Star
"We're too close to this thing to get a good feel of it. I was
marching in that parade in 1998, when Mark McGwire hit 70 homers
and was the great American hero. Back then nobody wanted to hear
about andro or steroids or any of that. Forget Hall of Fame, he
could have been a senator. Now, we're in the middle of this
steroids mess, there are new rumors all the time, and McGwire is
getting beaten up everywhere you turn. I think we need some
distance."

Jeff Horrigan, Boston Herald
"I begrudge the era that tolerated this more than I begrudge
the man … You can't wipe out the '90s."