This study examines how voters for the National Baseball Hall of Fame discuss the candidacies of players on the ballot implicated in the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), the rhetoric employed by voters to defend their decisions to either support or deny alleged PED users’ entry into the Hall. Using Thomas Goodnight’s method of controversy analysis, 60 total ballots are analyzed (30 pro-steroid and 30 anti-steroid) to uncover the primary themes and arguments present in each side of the debate. In addition, a modified version of cultural criticism is applied to the texts in order to determine the extent to which myth – a key factor throughout baseball history – is embedded in steroids-in-the-Hall discourse. The study concluded that pro-steroid voters determined that supporting steroid users made more sense, while anti-steroid voters chose to reject steroid users because it felt better than admitting them. Myth, meanwhile, was rarely used as the foundation of any argument, but rather loomed in the subtext of the steroids-in-the-Hall discourse.


Johnson, Michelle


Communication Studies




National Baseball Hall of Fame, steroids, myth, controversy analysis

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2017 Jordan E. Shusterman