With Bonds saying he won't be back this season and the ongoing Palmeiro saga, I've been thinking on what happens when these guys become eligible for the Hall of Fame.
At first I thought that if anyone who tested positive shoudn't get in at all. But then there were guys like McGwire and Bonds, who may have retired just before the testing became prevelant. These guys have all the normal stats that get you in: 3000 hits+, 500+ HRs etc... how can you deny them the Hall of Fame.
I don't believe you can, for this reason: you don't know who did what. I don't think you use these players' numbers historically, as in "Palmeiro is one of four players with Both 3000 hits and 500 HRs." Don't compare the numbers to history. This era is tainted. But since we have no way of knowing who is actually on 'roids, do we just ignore it? Do just say there were no great players from the early 90s to 2004?
I think you have to compare the current players to their piers. My general premise is that since you don't know who is on roids, assume everyone is. It's not completely fair, but it's as fair as you can really get. In an era where there was extraordinary offensive production, who stood out.
So guys like Bonds, Sosa, McGwire, Manny, Pudge, Piazza, Griffey, and Sheffield should get in. They may have taken 'roids, but in an era where everyone could have (or did) they stood out as the best hitters. Obviously non-roid connected players like A-Rod, Jeter and a slew of pitchers like Johnson, Clemens, Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, Pedro, Schilling and Rivera will still get in (I still say Johnson is the best left hander you will ever see and Clemens is the best right hander).
That leaves us Palmeiro. He tested positive. He was fingered by Canseco. So what do you do, he's got the numbers, obviously. But has Palmeiro ever been the top of the class as a 1B? Did he dominate the game? If he was batting did you feel you needed to watch? I don't think so.
So that's my thing. Palmeiro barely got the 'magic numbers' while using steroids (I don't know if he used them before... but it doesn't look good) and he didn't have a career that stands out to you... so I say still say no on Palmeiro.
(I guess my position hasn't changed too much except for now I'm discounting his numbers, so maybe I'm an ass. But those are really the only thing he has going for him right now. The numbers. meh.)