Elder Griffey supports shunned dopers for Cooperstown

Thu Jan 7, 2016 8:07pm EST
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former major leaguer Ken Griffey Sr. said on Thursday his son earned induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame the "right way" but still feels bad for stars of the so-called Steroids Era who have been denied entry.

Speaking to Reuters a day after Ken Griffey Jr. was elected to the Hall of Fame in record fashion, the elder Griffey said that some who have been overlooked by voting members of the baseball writers' association belong in Cooperstown.

Griffey Sr., a former outfielder who won two World Series titles with the Cincinnati Reds, said performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) inflated some records, but gave credit to the likes of former sluggers Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa for their feats.

"They made contact, they played hard, just like we did, and they still had to hit the ball. They still did it," he said after his son and Mike Piazza, the other member of the Class of 2016, donned their Cooperstown jerseys at a news conference.

"It's an opinion thing," the 65-year-old Griffey said, acknowledging that many view them as cheaters. "But my look at it, they put up the stats, the numbers. I think they should be in the Hall of Fame."

McGwire smashed 70 homers in 1998, while Sosa belted 66 in an enthralling duel that captured a nation and shattered the single season home run mark of 61 set by Roger Maris in 1961.

The duo staged another power show the next season, and may have spurred on others, including Barry Bonds, to muscle up.

McGwire, who has admitted using PEDs, was named on 12.3 percent of ballots while Sosa was on 7 percent, both well shy of the 75 percent needed for election.   Continued...

Ken Griffey Jr. (R) laughs with his father Ken Griffey Sr. (L) as they answer questions from the media in February 2000