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