Yes, we did elect someone
- Barry Bonds
- Roger Clemens
It’s the 10th time on the ballot for baseball’s all-time home run champion, and also for one of the greatest pitchers to ever step foot on the mound. It’s never been about talent or accomplishments for these Bonds and Clemens though, and everything to do with involvement during baseball’s steroid era.
Graeme Wallace on Bonds and Clemens- Long before he broke the single season and all-time home run records, Barry Bonds was the best baseball player I’d ever seen. He had seemingly limitless athleticism, power and speed, and that famous smile made him a cherished man in Pittsburgh.
Although his figure, game, and public perception changed during his time in the Bay, what he was able to accomplish was truly remarkable. He led the league in walks 12 times, including an astonishing total of 232 in 2004. Out of all the accolades that defined his career, a few stand out: 7 MVP awards, 15 seasons with an OPS of 1.000 or better, and 8 gold glove awards. And somehow, he only led MLB in home runs twice.
Roger Clemens maniacal drive led him to a career unlike any other. It also led him on a villainous path that has caused many to question his eligibility. While we’re not sure exactly when “Rocket” began experimenting with foreign substances, his career with Boston and Toronto alone merits strong consideration. Five Cy Young awards, six ERA titles and an outrageous 44 shutouts!
The fact that he was able to pitch nearly another decade, win two more Cy Young awards, and a pair of World Series rings, demonstrates his insane will to win. That same ambition has led many voters to leave him off their ballot, but in my books, he deserves a spot in Cooperstown.
Tyson Shushkewich on Bonds and Clemens– I have always been an advocate for a full ballot if there are enough names that should go to the HOF. I hate seeing voters trying to act as gatekeepers to Cooperstown even though some of them never even watched certain players play during their prime, or have not touched on the topic of baseball in years but still get to vote. This year, I think there are 10 deserving players that deserve recognition.
I am also for PED users who have played well and earned the right to be in the HOF such as Bonds and Clemens. I know Ortiz was linked to PEDs but never formally suspended, but he earns a vote because of his play on the field and what he did for the city of Boston. This would also include Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, and Gary Sheffield because I believe their stats are enough to get them into the HOF. I understand people have different viewpoints and stances regarding PED users in the HOF but at the same time, to me, they deserve a place in Cooperstown if they have the stats to back it up.
Frank Pirillo on Bonds and Clemens- I’m strongly against PED users and happy to see the game has cleaned up quite a bit. For any recent and future players that get caught, it would be very tough to give them any votes. However, for me, I believe the Hall showcases the history of the game, and the best of the best for each era.
PED’s were a major part of an era that featured players breaking records – that at the time, all fans (even non-baseball fans) were glued to their TVs watching history. Some got caught, and many did not. It’s a fun debate, but I believe no matter what side of the fence you’re on, that era produced some pretty amazing players – whether they needed to use it or not.
History may not always include things we want to remember, but it always includes everything that tells the story, and in my opinion, I couldn’t tell a story about the game without mentioning the PED era.
Summing it up
Much like the group collectively decided not to vote Ortiz or Rodriguez into the Hall as first-time players, our discussion was very focused on the fact that this is both Bonds and Clemens’ 10th and final time on the ballot. From here they would have to rely on the Veteran’s Committee to be enshrined, and there’s no telling how long that would take, or if they’d be alive to see it.
I can’t speak for everyone on the staff, but I think the majority of us felt that they had “served their time” in a sense. Both of these players are no-doubt Hall of Famers without the stains on their resume because of PED’s, and we know that the Hall has included players that were less than perfect. I think Frank summed it up well when he said “I couldn’t tell a story about the game without mentioning the PED era”. Like it or not, it’s part of the history of Major League baseball, especially if you look in the record books.
Overall I would argue that this year’s ballot is a particularly difficult one, and I’m very curious to see how things shake down. As for us here at Jays Journal, we’d reluctantly and finally let Bonds and Clemens take their place in the hall on their 10th trip through the process, and likely would let a few others in down the line as well.