If Andre Agassi Were a Baseball Player, Would He Get Into The HOF?

I ask the question because Agassi IS getting into the Tennis Hall of Fame, according to Yahoo Sports. I’ve been watching the Australian Open lately, so tennis has been on my mind. When I heard about Agassi, I was happy for him but I started to think about the different sets of standards that sports have for their Halls of Fame. Agassi, you remember, admitted in his book that he used drugs and lied about it. Here’s the pertinent quote from the Yahoo article.
Agassi revealed in his 2009 book “Open” that he was depressed in 1997, when he was using crystal meth and failed a drug test. The result was thrown out, he said, after he lied by saying he took the drug unwittingly.”


If Derek Jeter took crystal meth, failed a drug test and lied about it, would that disqualify him from – or, at the very least, hurt his chances of – getting into the Hall? I can’t imagine anything disqualifying him, but the baseball writers are pretty tough when it comes to drugs, aren’t they? Or do they just draw the line at steroids? All I know is that Agassi was such a fun player to watch and his matches against Sampras were great for the game. Talk about a rivalry. 
Federer vs. Nadal is always exciting, but I thought Agassi and Sampras brought out the best in each other, given their completely opposite styles and personalities. 
As for the women’s side, I miss Evert vs. Navratilova too. I mean do I really care about Wozniacki against Clijsters? At least the really noisy grunters are out of the tournament. I can’t even watch Sharapova anymore without muting the TV. Ugh.

13 Comments

Agassi actually made tennis kinda cool when I was a kid. He was the ‘rebel’ after all. Also I DO care about Caroline Wozniacki…I really do…
–Mike
‘Minoring In Baseball’
http://burrilltalksbaseball.mlblogs.com

Totally agree about Sampras-Agassi rivalry. I was lucky enough to be at their classic US Open quarter-final match when neither of them lost serve and it was decided in 4 tie-break sets (Pete won). Also at the final men’s final in which Pete closed out his amazing career. Always favored Sampras over Agassi, but there’ no denying that both of them brought something special to the game and their head-to-head matches never disappointed. Chrissy-Martina, too.
How many days ’til spring training?
Jane

I’m a Kournikova lover myself (actually, I’m not, that’s a joke)… but I think meth, used more as a recreational drug, wouldn’t be as severe to the sports world as an actual PED, which gives an edge to the competitor. I don’t know. That’s just my understanding of it. Lots of HOFers drank. Some of them maybe even did coke. I don’t know. Still, I can’t see it as the same (right now).
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/
http://mtrredstatebluestate.com

You are really suffering this winter! Now you’re posting grunting chicks! There is a time and a place for everything! There is medication for what you are going through. It’s called YES Networks Yankee Classics or maybe read the Mickey Mantle book. Thank goodness pitchers and catchers in a few weeks.
No invite yet to Mohegan Sun to see Roger.

If an athlete uses a PED to advance their career then I’m against them in the HoF. If Agassi was a baseball player maybe he would be a 2nd or 3rd ballot HoFer. Several athletes have battled drug and alcohol addictions and I can live with that. I can’t stand a cheater though!

Ron

http://strictlycubsbaseball.mlblogs.com/

The media circus surrounding Derek Jeter getting busted for a failed drug test would make Agassi’s admission look like he got busted for jaywalking.
http://paullebowitz.com.previewyoursite.com/blog/?p=273

Agassi was kind of a rebel, Mike. He had the whole Vegas thing going on with his hair, his clothes, etc. Funny how he’s become such a wholesome family man now (and bald). So you’re hot for Caroline. Hm. She has a real shot at winning the tournament but I still like Clijsters’ chances.

Oh, that’s right, ladyjane. You go to a lot of matches. I remember that. Lucky girl. I used to go when I lived in NY. My mother and sister were totally in Sampras’ camp while my fave was Stefan Edberg (drool). Borg was a favorite too. And yes, baseball’s coming right up, thank God.

Kournikova, Jeff? You must like Sharapova too, then. Same thing only with more talent (and grunting). LOL. I agree that simply taking a recreational drug wouldn’t kill a player’s chances of getting into the HOF. But Agassi failed the drug test, lied about why, and finagled his way into escaping penalty. So there’s as aspect to it that’s kind of like cheating. It was just the one time so it’s not that big a deal as far as I’m concerned, plus he came clean about it in the book and has given back to his community in so many ways.

I don’t get the YES Network, John. I live in CA, remember? The Extra Innings cable package only gives you the games on YES and only about half the time (the other are local broadcasts from the opposing team’s network). That said, I do love watching tennis. It’s not just filler for me.

See my comment to Jeff about the cheating, Ron. But you’re right – Agassi’s infraction wasn’t on the level of PEDs where guys use them to enhance their skills and get an edge over their competitors.

I don’t know if Agassi would make the Baseball Hall of Fame with the same infraction were he a baseball player. I agree with all of the folks here who have said that there is a difference, or at least there should be, between performance enhancing drugs and those that are used recreationally/are are bad recreational drug habits. But as you say there is the lying and cheating aspect of how Agassi handled the story when it came to light. It seems to me that once the reporters start voting on Hall of Fame candidates, how players handled admissions surrounding the infraction carries even more weight than the nature of the infraction. Players who lied or whose admissions really bruised feelings seem to be treated more harshly than those who just admitted and moved on.
- Kristen
http://blithescribe.mlblogs.com/

Good point, Kristen. Guys like Palmeiro and Clemens, who keep denying that they used PEDs, are definitely castigated while guys like Andy Pettitte, who admitted what he did, are given more leeway. That’s probably true in the tennis world too.

Baseball has some demanding standards for the HOF. I have no idea what standards tennis may have, but the fact that Agassi came clean probably helped his cause. He is definitely worthy.
If you miss the epic Evert/Navratilova rivalry, I highly recommend that you check out the ESPN 30 For 30 documentary about them. It is from a very interesting perspective – the two players themselves. Just hanging out and talking to each other about their lives. I don’t know what cable system you have, but on mine the 30 for 30 series is on On Demand under ESPN.

Thanks for the tip about the ESPN 30 for 30 doc, phan52, but I saw it when it first aired on the network last year and really enjoyed it. Chrissie and Martina were my idols back in the day.

I was never a fan of Evert’s baseline style of play. It was sort of boring to watch. Martina really raised women’s tennis to a new level.
But my two all-time favorite players are Evonne Goolagong and Hana Mandlikova. When they were on their games, the just seemed to float over the court.

And I also loved Rod Laver – his popeye arm was amazing!
Melissa

McEnroe/Borg was a great rivalry. Their 5 set final at Wimbledon in 1980 was epic. When McEnroe finally broke through and beat Borg at Wimbledon in 1981, Borg couldn’t handle it and he quit shortly after McEnroe beat him again at that year’s US Open. He was only 26 years old.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: