Baseball Hall to begin drug education program

The Baseball Hall of Fame is starting a drug education program

for students and young adults – in the same year Barry Bonds, Roger

Clemens and Sammy Sosa will appear on ballot for the first time

after careers tainted by steroid accusations.

While adding PEDs to RBIs and ERAs among its interests, the Hall

emphasized Wednesday that its new initiative wasn’t tied to the

former stars up for election or the people who will choose

them.

”It is not intended to cast a directive to voters about Hall of

Fame worthy candidates,” shrine president Jeff Idelson said.

Mark McGwire, 10th on the career home run list, has never come

close to election after admitting he used steroids and human growth

hormone. Neither has Rafael Palmeiro, who topped 500 homers and

3,000 hits but was suspended for a positive test for

performance-enhancing drugs.

Bonds, a seven-time NL MVP, and Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young

Award winner, will appear on the ballot mailed to voters around

Thanksgiving. So will Sosa, who hit 609 homers.

The Hall makes no attempt to influence members of the Baseball

Writers’ Association of America when they pick the players for

Cooperstown.

”Hall of Fame voting has been a part of this nation’s fabric

since 1936, and has touted the virtues of character, sportsmanship

and integrity, along with the contributions to the game, as

integral qualifications for earning election,” Idelson said.

Education is part of the mission for the National Baseball Hall

of Fame and Museum, along with honoring the game’s greats and

displaying artifacts.

The Hall plans to promote a healthy lifestyle that is free of

PEDs. The program will be called ”Be A Superior Example,” or

”BASE” for short, and will work with the Taylor Hooton Foundation

and the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society.

In the next 18 months, the Hall hopes to conduct a nationwide

survey, hold a summit in Cooperstown on drugs and begin a national

registry for people to pledge commitments to live free of PEDs.

”It is through the education programs that we are able to

fulfill our mission of providing context to the issues that have

faced our game, as a reflection of American history, throughout its

history,” Idelson said.

The program is a further way of teaching youth ”about American

culture, with topics ranging from history and character education

to math and science, through the lens of baseball,” he said.