MLB: Texas Rangers at Detroit Tigers
May 7, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Former Detroit Tigers Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez (R) shakes hands with Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) after he throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Tigers' game against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Pudge Rodriguez was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame this year. An extremely popular catcher during his playing days, Pudge received only 76% of the votes cast to be included in the Hall of Fame. Eligible players need 75% of the votes to be inducted. It’s possible that the 14-time All-Star, AL MVP, World Series champion and former Detroit Tiger was elected by such a thin margin because he was part of the ‘steroid era’ of baseball.

Now that Rodriguez is officially in the Hall of Fame, he told the Dallas News about his opinions about the players from that era and their relationship with the Hall of Fame.

“I think these are things baseball needs to put in the past,” Rodriguez said when asked about players from the Steroid Era. “It’s time to think about the game of baseball. There are others who should be in the Hall of Fame, as well. They had great careers. Why not?”

Performance enhancing drug rumors swirled around Rodriguez during his career. Jose Canseco reported in his book “Juiced” that he personally injecting Rodriguez with PED’s Frank Thomas recently intimated to the Associated Press that both Pudge and class inductee Jeff Bagwell were PED users as players.

“They’ve let a few people in already we all know. It’s uncomfortable at this point. I’m sure this year’s going to be uncomfortable because we’ve got two great players going in, but they know. It’s no secret. If they didn’t do it, they would be stomping and kicking and in interviews saying, ‘I didn’t do it.’”

Regarding Pudge Rodriguez, rumors of PED use were just that: rumors. No concrete evidence was ever found that linked Pudge to the use of these kinds of drugs. It sounds like Rodriguez is ready to bury the hatchet and celebrate the accomplishments of his fellow players.

[statistics provided by baseball-reference.com]