Should steroid users who were caught or accused of steroid use prior to 2004 be banned from the Hall of Fame?
First off, steroids have been in use since the early 1990s. So any player from the 1990s or 2000s are all suspects to steroid use. Unless there is an in-depth investigation on every player from 1990 to present, or every player who used steroids admits their use (which is unlikely) then there is no way to know who did or did not take steroids.
In 2004 steroids became a banned substance in the MLB. So prior to the 2004 season there were no penalties for the use of steroids, but there was plenty of incentives to use them. But many people argue that steroid users should be banned from the Hall of Fame because although at the time it wasnt against MLB rules, it was against the law to use those substances.
Since the late 1960's many of the great baseball players have openly admitted or been alleged of using Amphetamines, which are known in baseball as "greenies." Such greats as Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Willie Stargell and many others have admitted to or been accused of the use of greenies. Greenies have been banned from MLB in 2006 and they have been illegal in the US since 1965. Which means that for the time at which greenies were the most rampant in MLB, they too were illegal.
In a survey with Ken Caminiti he states, "only one or two players per team competed without greenies--those exceptions are said to be "playing naked. After a night of drinking you take some pills, go out and run in the outfield, and you get the blood flowing. All of a sudden you feel much better. There were other times when you'd say, 'I feel good enough to play naked today, but you know what? I can feel even better.' So you'd take them then too."
Caminiti played from 1987 to 2001, well past the time in which greenies were illegal in the US. In 2006 MLB banned greenies. So according to MLB rules, Mays, Aaron, Stargell all used a banned substance. Now does anybody think that these 3 players, along with all other players who took greenies, should be taken out of the Hall of Fame?
If your answer is no, then why is it different for steroid users? Both took an illegal substance. Both used a substance that was banned by MLB, while both also used the substance before it was banned.
If a player was accused of or admitted/caught for using steroids prior to the 2003 season than they should have an equal opportunity to make the Hall of Fame as any other player. However if a player is caught for using steroids after 2004 then it is a totally different story and those players should not be allowed in the Hall of Fame, since they broke MLB rules.
As for the players who used steroids before the 2004 season, they did not break any MLB rules and therefore technically did not cheat. The substance was banned after their use, just like with greenies. So unless its a case like Clemens who got called up on perjury charges, then a player who took steroids prior to 2004 deserves a shot at the Hall of Fame. Meaning if it was like an Alex Rodriguez or Andy Pettite case where they got caught, admitted it and moved on then they should get a chance for the Hall of Fame. But for Giambi, Bonds, Manny who all failed a PED test after the 2004 season. (Giambi and Bonds failed a greenies test in 2006 after it became a banned substance). Or for McGwire and Clemens who have had investigations brought out on them for perjury. They should be banned from the Hall of Fame.