When Sports Illustrated named its Sportsman of the Year in 1998, two men who had captured the nation's attention received the award -- Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. Both hulking power hitters had surpassed Hank Aaron's single-season home run record that had stood for 37 years; McGwire with the St. Louis Cardinals and Sosa for the Chicago Cubs. Only three years later, the increasingly bulky San Francisco Giants slugger, Barry Bonds, surpassed both men's accomplishment when he hit 73 balls out of the park in an awe-inspiring season [source: ESPN].
The high-octane offense that Major League clubs were delivering, beginning in the late 1990s, made for great sports theater. But as allegations and revelations of performance-enhancing drug use began to surface, the public began to realize it was just that -- theater, fiction, cheating. The record books had been rewritten, but also tainted. The league began a crackdown on drug use and sportswriters and fans are doubtful that names like McGwire, Sosa and Bonds will ever be included in the game's Hall of Fame [source: ESPN].