What Is the Legacy of Steroids in Baseball?

(AP Photo/Frank Polich)
As someone who watched a lot of home runs land in Big Mac land at Busch stadium, I must say that I'm pleased with Mark McGwire's statement today. Though, better late than never, it is something that should have been said years ago. As a Cardinal fan, I applaud him for clearing the air as he returns to the dugout as our hitting coach, and regardless of his steroid use, he was a damn good hitter.

The commissioner, Allan H. "Bud" Selig, says that baseball's steroid era is "clearly a thing of the past, and Mark's admission today is another step in the right direction."

However, while the era may be a thing of the past, the legacy of the era is just beginning and the hardest questions, going to the heart and soul of the game, are yet to be considered.

Namely, the Hall of Fame.

Cynics would say that McGwire issued the statement Monday because of his recently poor showing among Hall of Fame voters, but I would say argue that most of his contrition was due to the fact that a matter of weeks, Big Mac will be back on a professional baseball diamond, this time hitting fungoes to a bunch of a-ball prospects in Florida.

McGwire Admits Using Steroids
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But beyond McGwire's hall of fame eligibility, asterisk or not, it is the next few years that will keep hall of fame voters up at night. Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro and none other than Mr. Home Run King, Barry Bonds, will be up for Baseball's shrine to immortality, in the next few years. So the issue of steroids in baseball is not over and I would say decisions of rewarding these athletes, truly gifted men who gave the game some of its greatest moments, but were flawed enough to put their greatness in question; that true soul searching, is yet to come.

So while the steroid era is over, the questions of the legacy of steroids in baseball are just beginning.

More from CBS Sports.com:

CBS Sports.com: McGwire's career statistics
CBS Sports.com: All-time career HR leaders
CBS Sports.com: All-time Single-season HR leaders

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    Robert Hendin is senior producer for "Face the Nation" and a CBS News senior political producer.