Contrary to popular hysteria, not everybody who played in baseball's Steroid Era used steroids, and the Hall of Fame is not going to lack for inductees if the juicers are kept out. Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas provided a needed antidote last Thursday when each announced his retirement after first-ballot-worthy careers. Thomas (521 homers from 1990 to 2008) and Glavine (305 wins from 1987 to 2008) surpassed customary statistical thresholds for the Hall without even a whiff of suspicion concerning performance-enhancing drugs. Indeed as early as 1995 Thomas spoke out in favor of steroid testing. Such is the warped nature of our times that Thomas's willingness to campaign for a clean game became a major part of his legacy, reducing some of the proper appreciation due the greatest player in White Sox history. In his prime the Big Hurt was a Pujols-like, 260-pound hitting machine.
Glavine personified fortitude, be it as a wisp of a lefthander with a mid-80s fastball or a high-profile National League union rep through the 1994--95 strike and the 2002 agreement, in which the players finally agreed to steroid testing. His signature game was the '95 World Series clincher over the Indians. Locked in a scoreless duel in the fifth, Glavine shouted to his teammates, "Will somebody hurry up and score here? Because they sure as hell won't." The Braves won 1--0.
In 2014 Glavine and Thomas will enter the Hall. Their inductions will be a reminder of jobs not only done well but also done right.
BEN VAN HOOK (GLAVINE)
STRONG STATEMENTS Thomas (left) and Glavine spoke out against steroids.
JONATHAN DANIEL/GETTY IMAGES (THOMAS)
[See caption above]