Roger Clemens makes debut on Hall of Fame ballot 38

In what surely will be a highly debated topic, former Yankee Roger Clemens will be on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year.

Clemens was of course outed as a steroid user in the Mitchell Report. His name was in the report 82 times and it stated that during the 1998, 2000, and 2001 seasons that he injected the popular steroid called Winstrol or Stanozolol as it’s otherwise called. He then denied any wrong doing in front of a Congressional committee in 2008 and was later indicted for making false statements to Congress, but was eventually found not guilty on all six counts.

Without that steroid issue, Clemens would clearly be an easy choice to get into the Hall of Fame, but in recent years all it has taken is suspicion of use to keep players like Jeff Bagwell from getting in. So it would seem that Clemens has no shot.

My personal view is that lots of players were on steroids in the years before MLB made them illegal. There is no doubt in my mind that there are currently steroid users in the Hall of Fame, but they were voted in because they weren’t caught or didn’t fit the traditional body type we think associate with steroids. So to me potential steroid use, or even blatant steroid use, that might have occurred before testing was put in place should get a pass because at this point we would be punishing a player for getting caught and not necessarily for actually taking steroids. If he failed a drug test that’s one thing, but I don’t want to see a small group of players punished for something that was widespread.

Still, voters will no doubt leave Clemens, and probably Bagwell, Bonds, and others, off their ballots because of the character clause. Because apparently it’s worse to take steroids than it is to be a racist, segregationalist, a criminal, a cheater, or a drug user. But who wants to visit a museum with all of my childhood heroes included in it anyway? I’d rather see the Hall of Fame filled with just about every halfway decent player imaginable from the 1930’s and 40’s instead.

Other first timers on the ballot include Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling, and former Yankees Mike Stanton, David Wells, Kenny Lofton, and Rondell White.

Don Mattingly, Tim Raines, Lee Smith, and Bernie Williams are other former Yankees that are holdovers on the ballot.

Of course, a candidate must appear on 75 percent of the ballots to be elected to the Hall.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.

38 thoughts on “Roger Clemens makes debut on Hall of Fame ballot

  • Hardcore Yankee Fan

    I would vote no. I don't understand at all the willingness of some people to let steroid users off the hook. They cheated the game, they cheated their fellow players, they cheated players from prior generations, and they cheated the fans. If a student is found scoring perfect on his SATs, should we still let him into Harvard?

  • Hardcore Yankee Fan

    Just to be clear, because it's difficult to tell based on the way your article is written, but you are aware that steroids have been illegal since 1991?

  • Rob Abruzzese Post author

    I don't see why the players should be the ones punished when the ownership, front offices, media, and the fans knew what was going on and nobody said anything for decades. Also, why should certain players be punished while others are let off the hook? If Bagwell is guilty than I can think of at least one Hall of Famer on the Orioles, A's, and Rangers who are already in the Hall that got off scott free.

  • Rob Abruzzese Post author

    This is different than students cheating. Ownership willingly turned a blind eye and created a system where players were awarded for using steroids. Besides, we're not talking about players who were caught or failed a test. There is absolutely zero legal proof that Clemens or Bonds used steroids beyond heresy or the word of guys who were arrested and got out of jail by throwing players like Clemens under the bus. I'm not saying they didn't take steroids, but without any actual proof it's not fair to punish them.

    Fail a drug test, fine don't let them in the Hall. But to say that Clemens and Bonds most likely took steroids so they should not be in the Hall of Fame isn't fair at all. This is more about sports reporters being self righteous and trying to make up for decades of laziness.

  • Hardcore Yankee Fan

    Another thing to consider insofar as what other sporting organizations think of steroid use, just look at what happen to Lance Armstrong. He NEVER failed hundreds of well scrutinized tests. He wasn't found guilty of anything yet they revoked all of his titles.

    And this is nothing new. Ben Johnson was stripped of his Olympic gold back a couple of decades ago after failing a test.

  • Rob Abruzzese Post author

    The only way your student's cheating metaphor works is if the teachers didn't care or try to catch the students cheating, rewarded the most suspected cheaters with better grades and put them up as the face of prospective schools, denied there was any possibility of cheating even as it grew laughably obvious, and dragged their feet even as the federal government began to get involved in trying to stop it. Then finally put into place measures to catch kids that were easily avoidable.

  • Tanned Tom

    Hey they kept Rose out for less. And yes there are lots of scum in the HOF as is, but that is hardly a compelling argument to let more of them in! Here's my standard: players like Sosa and McGwire would clearly not even be in the discussion without PEDs, so they're out. Clemens would be borderline without roids, and he was always an asshole and a head hunter, and came up short in big games, so I have no problem excluding him. All we're really talking about here is Barry Bonds. The greatest player of his generation. But I really believe it is up to the player to rehabilitate his reputation by owning up to it, apologizing and moving on. Until he does then he disqualifies himself. Contrast that to Andy Pettitte and Alex Rodriguez. Both tested positive, both admitted it and apologized. I think both are possible HOFers because of their contrition – which took place during their careers, not afterwards when they were looking for trade it for HOF consideration

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