Don’t Bet on Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens Getting into the Hall of Fame
by Rick Bouch Scores & Statson
The 2019 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame will not include Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens. Both fell far short of the necessary 75 percent vote threshold for induction, but both did gain from their last vote. The gain was less than three percent for each former star showing that the day the pair have been waiting for – a call from Cooperstown – is unlikely to come, if ever.
There is no doubt that Bonds is one of all-time greats in baseball history. He played 22 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. Bonds won seven National League Most Valuable Player awards and was selected to 14 MLB All-Star games. He was one of the game’s most outstanding hitters and holds a number of MLB records including most home runs in a single season (73, set in 2001) and most career home runs (762).
Despite hitting all those home runs, Bonds only led the NL in home runs twice – in 1993 and in the record-breaking 2001 season. His No. 25 was retired by the Giants and he was inducted into their Wall of Fame.
The Case for Clemens
Clemens played a remarkable 24 seasons of major league baseball with four different teams (Boston, Toronto, New York Yankees, and Houston). Clemens was an absolutely dominant pitcher winning a total of 354 career games. His 4,672 strikeouts is third-best in MLB history. Clemens was an 11-time All-Star and played for the 1999 and 2000 World Series champion Yankees.
Clemens won seven Cy Young awards, the most in MLB history. He won one American League MVP, back in 1986 while a member of the Boston Red Sox. Clemens also owns an All-Star game MVP and the MLB record for most batters struck out in a single game – 20.
Neither Bonds nor Clemens is ever likely to grace the interior of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. The reason is simple. Steroids. Performance-enhancing drugs. PEDs. Whatever you want to call it, Bonds and Clemens will always carry the stigma associated with being nailed for taking drugs in an effort to boost their performance.
Both were accomplished players without the drugs, but as one baseball writer put it, “they cheated.” If a professional golfer plays 17 holes and then cheats on No. 18, is that any different than what Bonds and Clemens did? Maybe not, but voters will soon be faced with a similar situation in 2022. That is when Boston’s David Ortiz becomes eligible.
Ortiz is a likely first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he reportedly tested positive for some form of performance-enhancing drug in 2003 as part of an MLB inquiry into how widespread these drugs really were. Whether or not Ortiz did or did not do PEDs, he is going into the Hall. Will that help Bonds and Clemens? Probably not since both players were found to have definitely used some form of PED.
As the years pass, Bonds and Clemens may become afterthoughts especially as more of the game’s greats become eligible. Think about it. A player like Thurman Munson, one of the game’s great catchers in the 1970s is not in the Hall. Albert Belle hit 30-plus homers eight times in a decade in the 1990s, and Steve Garvey, a 10-time All-Star, career .294 hitter and the 1974 NL MVP are not in the Hall either. Bonds and Clemens, as great as they were and as impressive as their statistics are, will become lost in the crowd.
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