Roger Clemens DESERVES to be in the Hall of Fame wearing a Red Sox hat. I’m writing this article because Roy Halladay tweeted a few days ago that Clemens and Bonds don’t belong in the Hall. Well Doc, I respectfully disagree with you there and here’s why.
1.) Roger Clemens never took steroids. Disagree with me on this one only if you disagree with the Justice System in the United States of America. When Clemens’s former trainer, Brian McNamee first said that The Rocket took HGH in 1998, 2000, and 2001 the world was shocked. Clemens denied everything and eventually filed suit against McNamee under defamation. During that trial Clemens swore under oath that he never took steroids but rather was injected with B-12. The outcome agreed with Roger’s story and he won the case. Then Clemens was charged with six counts of lying to Congress, basically saying that he lied about never taking steroids. After about a year Clemens was found not guilty on all six counts of lying to Congress. In conclusion, according to the Judiciary Branch of the US, Clemens never took steroids.
Now let us say, for sake of argument that Brian McNamee was 100% correct and Roger Clemens did take HGH in 1998, 2000, and 2001.
2.) According to the findings in the Mitchell Report and according to Brian McNamee, Roger Clemens took human growth hormone during the 1998, 2000, and 2001 seasons. HGH was not banned in baseball until 2005 so Clemens never broke the rules of baseball, why should he be punished if he never broke the rules? I see all the arguments saying that it gives somebody an unfair advantage but isn’t it a possibility that the guy at the plate was on steroids as well? José Canseco’s book Juiced wrote that up to 80% of players were juicing during the height of the Steroid Era and if that is the case it doesn’t give steroid users an unfair advantage but non-steroid users a disadvantage. A common quote sums it up perfectly, “if everybody is special, nobody is”. If Clemens were on steroids his stats wouldn’t be inflated but simply keeping up with trends due to the fact that steroids were so prevalent in the game during that time.
3.) Clemens already had a Hall of Fame career before his alleged steroid use. Again for sake of argument, Clemens began HGH use in 1998 so if we look at his stats through 1997 where will he stack up? After finishing his 14th season in ‘97, Clemens already had been a six-time All Star, captured FOUR Cy Young Awards and crowned the 1986 AL MVP. The Rocket had led the league in strikeouts four times, ERA five times, wins three times, complete games three times and shutouts six times. People say that in the mid-1990s that Clemens began to fall off but his ERA was still great, he was plainly on a Red Sox roster that (to put it lightly) was not good anymore. For example, in 1994 Clemens had an ERA of 2.85 but only 9 wins. Listing off accomplishment after accomplishment isn’t going to sway any of you to hypothetically vote for Roger Clemens but hopefully the comparison to other first ballot Hall of Famers will.
If Glavine and Martinez can pass on their first ballot with flying colors why can’t Clemens merely on his comparable stat-line from only half of his career. Bottomline, the Hall of Fame was created and meant to honor the players who were the best at the game. But the Hall of Fame’s goal wasn’t to make an induction the benchmark of baseball success, believe it or not it was to let the fans relive and cherish the game, the players and the moments that made them fall in love with America’s Pastime. Roger Clemens had a Hall of Fame career regardless of whether or not he gets inducted, no percentage of votes will change his numbers, his success or his story. Sure, it will be a shame if Roger Clemens doesn’t get enshrined because Cooperstown will have an entire era missing from their museum and frankly one of the most exciting eras in the history of the game.
Cover photo via Athlon Sports
Statistics via Baseball Reference