Roger Clemens makes debut on Hall of Fame ballot

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.
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38 Responses to Roger Clemens makes debut on Hall of Fame ballot

  1. Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

    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?

  2. Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

    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?

  3. 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.

    • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

      No doubt, there's going to be players who slip through the cracks. But at the end of the day, no matter what you or I say on the matter, your position is to let the cheaters off the hook. Make no mistake, that's what it amounts to no matter what you say about ownership, media, etc., which I wholehearted disagree with. It's not like these guys were shooting up openly. I'm sure suspicion started, then began to build, until a critical mass occurred making it obvious to everyone. Same thing could be said about students who cheat. Teachers know it, parents know it, other students know it, EVERYBODY knows it and there isn't anywhere near enough emphasis on prevention or catching them but it doesn't mean we'll let the scores stand if they are.

  4. 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 says:

      I respectfully disagree about any differences with students cheating. It is the exact same thing. The owners didn't "create" any system. Players ALWAYS have gotten rewarded for performance and they took it on THEMSELVES to ILLEGALLY enhance their performance. You make it sound like the owners stocked the clubhouse with PEDS and told the players, "I'll look the other way if you decide to take these."

      As for Clemens and Bonds, there is an overwhelming amount of circumstantial evidence, and in the case of Bonds, his own admission (except he just didn't know what it was…yeah right). Defendants get sent to their deaths or life in prison with often times a lot less evidence than exists for these guys. And testing is and has always been a joke and started well after a lot of these guys used (once again, illegally and against the explicit rules of MLB). Now if you want to say that players who used prior to 1991 should be exempt, while those guys disgust me, I wouldn't disagree with the position.

      Basically, you're saying, after bilking their fellow players for MILLIONS based on false performance, you want to reward them again with MILLIONS more by inducting them into the Hall of Fame. And why, because they CHEATED. Sure, makes a world of sense to me. Several of these guys would not even have the stats if not for the PEDS, though Bonds and probably Clemens are not in that camp.

      • Circumstantial evidence is not proof and I think you are being a bit hyperbolic by saying people get put to death with less evidence. Clemens can't even get convicted of perjury with the evidence they have against him. Tone down the rhetoric a bit here.

        • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

          Point is that circumstantial evidence IS proof in a court of law. I'm not being hyperbolic by any means unless you're only looking at it through a glass of trying to protect these guys.

          • Mark Panuthos says:

            point of fact, circumstantial evidence is never enough to convict, by itself. It has to be used contextually.

          • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

            Yes, and it's VERY easy to find a context in which to submit circumstantial evidence. In the case of Clemens, everything that is circumstantial relates to the heart of the matter.

  5. Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

    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.

    • Check your facts. Lance Armstrong has failed quite a few tests. Ben Johnson was only stripped of his medal after failing a test as well. Clemens never failed a drug test because he never took one because MLB never cared until they were forced to.

  6. 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.

    • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

      The metaphor works because CHEATING is CHEATING. It's THAT simple Rob. I'm not sure where you learned your ethics but to try and defend cheating on any level and saying that it was okay through various points of rationalization, which have varying tenuous degrees of validity is absurd. YOU DON"T REWARD CHEATING. I'm SHOCKED that anyone really needs to argue that cheating should be rewarded.

      • Not arguing that cheating should be rewarded. But without proof it shouldn't be punished either.

        • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

          Proof is an incredibly high standard for anything in life and hardly anyone would go to jail under the standard that you want to hold this guys playing a mere game up to. I think the vast majority of fans and writers understand that Bonds and Clemens used. Bonds admitted it, and there's all kinds of other facts I could inject which makes it obvious that he did.

          Clemens was outed by his own trainer. That alone, I agree, would not be enough, but when you consider that Pettitte (who would only lie FOR Clemens if anything) backed up the story, it makes Macnamee's accusation exponentially more credible. Then you also have some weird comments by Clemens about his wife use of HGH or whatever and dragging her into all of this. Not to mention the unprecedented rebirth so late in his career. That's plenty enough "proof" and then some for me to keep him out of the Hall.

          No one is punishing them of anything. I wish there were clawbacks on their pay but there isn't. I don't consider keeping them out of the Hall a punishment when they brought this onto themselves. They already reaped HUGE benefits by cheating. Now your position is to reward them even further based on accomplishments that were false to begin with. That is the pardigm of lunacy. Now I know your standing behind the "proof" shield but voters and fans have enough facts to judge for themselves on who used. It's much harder for them to know who didn't, and this is where some will get in through the cracks.

          • Mark Panuthos says:

            Hardcore – you've got to be kidding me.

            1) Clemens name didn't appear on the 2003 leaked, "anonymous" PED tests
            2) Clemens appeared at the 2004 Mitchelle hearings because of a book by….., are you ready for this….. JOSE CANSECOI!
            3) He has never admitted to using steroids and was acquitted TWICE before federal juries.
            4) His trainer, Brian McNamee lied on the record on numerous occasions. And his proof of Clemens' malfeasance was an old beer can that he supposedly stored steroid needles in
            5) The "Steroid Era" supposedly began in 1996 or so. If Clemens simply continued on with a mediocre career for another three or four years after that, he'd bee HOF-worthy anyway.

            The scary thing about the Clemens issue is that the government leaked what was supposed to be an anonymous test – and the vast majority of people, baseball fans included, are more concerned with the leak as proof rather than the leak as a huge violation of privacy rights on the part of the US government.

            Clemens belongs in the HOF – otherwise, and I wrote as much in my column, you can't keep calling it the Hall of Fame.

          • Harcore Yankee Fan says:

            1) The 2003 leaked PED tests are not even remotely a conclusive measure of whether or not a player used.
            2) Not sure what your point on #2 is. Canseco was right about a lot of things.
            3) Virtually every player who used will NOT “admit” they used unless they have been irrefutably caught. Not sure why you would even mention such a flimsy point.
            4) Once again, McNamee’s statements by himself would mean very little as people always have axes to grind and I understand that. But when it’s corroborated by someone of impeccable reputation and a “close friend” and fellow baseball fraternity member in Andy Pettitte, that’s a WHOLE other story.
            5) I stated that Clemens probably deserves induction (if not for the CHEATING) though it’s very debatable whether he could have even put up “mediocre” numbers as you call it the way he was going.

            Government leaks aren’t what we’re discussing here. Take it to a political forum.

            Clemens does NOT belong in the HOF – otherwise, you can start calling it the Hall of Cheater's Fame

          • Mark Panuthos says:

            So, you're ok with Clemens being denied the HOF on the word of Jose Canseco. You've got no evidence and a federal court's acquittal on two separate occasions. All you've got is Jose Canseco and, as I've been reading, some weak classroom cheating analogy.

            Bottom line is that you can't keep a seven time Cy Young Award winner out of the HOF and still consider it to be an HOF.

          • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

            Who said anything about Jose Canseco other than you? Canseco has publicly declared that Clemens was NOT a user, as if he would even know. I CLEARLY posted why I believe Clemens used and that has nothing to do with classroom analogy. The fact is no one but a few people in life will ever know if Clemens used or not. If he didn't, he would be the ONLY person on earth to truly know. There is no real such thing as "proof". It's just a matter of determining the facts and circumstances and judging for oneself.

            As for his Cy Youngs, 3 of them were maybe legitimate IMO. Rewarding cheaters just isn't in my DNA. If it's in your's, then we just agree to disagree.

          • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

            BTW, if your so intent on supporting dubious accomplishments, I'm not sure why you're not staunchly supporting Bonds. I mean 7 MVPs is a helluva lot more impressive than 7 Cy Youngs. Add the single season and career home run "records" to boot and you have arguably the greatest hitter of all time.

          • Mark Panuthos says:

            Just for the record, I do support Bonds. He was a HOFer before his steroid use. Besides, he admitted to using them – he said he didn'tknow he was being injected with them.

            Jose Canseco outed Clemens in his book "Hard Hits, Rampant Roids etc". That was why Clemens was called to the Mitchell Hearings in the first place. The Mitchell Hearing and subsequent report, by the way, was a complete joke, a dog and pony show. George Mitchell was a former Red Sox president – his investigation occurred during the Red Sox penant run and subsequent World Series appearance. Not one Sock was investigated despite the fact that both Big Poppi and Ramirez were on the 2003 "positive" list.

            Clemens, in other words, had to defend himself because he was defamed by, of all people, Jose Canseco, then had to appear before a bogus Hearing, and then had to defend himself TWICE in court. In other words – all you got is Jose Canseco's word but that's enough for you. Perhaps you partied with him or something and you know something the rest of us don't. Short of that, you've got nothing.

            7 MVPs is more impressive than 7 Cy Youngs????? REALLY????

          • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

            First off, YES, 7 MVPs are WAY more impressive than 7 Cy Youngs. REALLY!!! The fact that its even debatable for you (let alone you think it obviously isn't) leads me to wonder about your baseball knowledge.

            As for Clemens, Canseco's word is by no means all you have. I never even mentioned him as support.

            1) You have his trainer saying that he supplied him on numerous occasions
            2) Andy Pettite (who has no motivation to do so) agrees with #1 and said that Clemens referred him
            3) Clemens wife used HGH (but Roger supposedly doesn't know…sure, I have a bridge to sell you if you'll buy that)
            4) He has an unprecedented level of performance at the twilight of his career.

          • Mark Panuthos says:

            7 MVPs is impressive – its only happened once in MLB history
            7 Cy Youngs is impressive – its only happened once in MLB history.

            Judging from your comment, I'm guessing you didn't know that. I have no idea how you can argue that one is more impressive than the other.

            You are missing the larger point though – were it not for Canseco's book, Clemens would not even have been on the subpeona list for the MItchelle Hearings. That dog and pony show put him on the radar – that you or any one else suspects him at all has to do solely with Jose Canseco's book. You don't have to specifically cite him – your commentary infers it.

            Brian McNamee is on the record as having lied on numerous occasions in federal court.

            HGH has been used for a variety of reasons – not sure why Mrs Clemens used it, don't care, its not evidence. And, besides – there are bodies of evidence which questions whether HGH provides any type of performance enhancement at all. You're barking up the wrong tree here.

            Andy Pettitte admitted to using – he didn't admit that Clemens used. I had a close friend in college who used steroids. I never did. Perhaps your experiences are different but whatever your feelings it doesn't overcome that there isn't a scintilla of proof that he used 'roids. All that you have is " unprecedented level of performance at the twilight of his career". Not enough to convict, and not enough to keep him out of the H all without making the Hall look like a complete joke.

          • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

            They've given about twice as many MVPs as Cy Youngs. No one has one more than 3 in all that time other than Bonds. Even with about half the number of Cy Youngs given someone has won 5 and 4. I bet YOU didn't know that. Not to mention that pitchers are also eligible for the MVP and have won some of those as well.

            As for all of your other drivel, it's obviously being expressed through the eyes of someone who wants to find him innocent under any circumstance. If you think McNamee lied about Clemens, that's you opinion. I think he's telling the truth. As for Pettitte, he said he was referred by Clemens because he was told by Clemens that Clemens had used. As for his wife, it may not be a smoking gun but all things considered, it just makes it all the more unseemly. You don't care because you don't want to believe that Clemens used. That's your prerogative. I prefer looking at all of the available evidence. The only way the HOF and the voters would look like a complete joke is if they do indeed vote him in. Try taking you blinders off. But based on your obvious man crush, I'm guessing that's not going to happen.

          • Mark Panuthos says:

            MVP voting criteria is MUCH more subjective than Cy Young and much more of a popularity contest. The number of MVPs is irrelevant. Judging from your omission of this fact – that Clemens was the 1986 MVP – its clear you don't know what you're writing about.

            For the record, I'm not a Clemens fan. I rooted for him when he wore pinstripes but from everything I hear about the guy, he's a total prima donna (takes his own plane to games, when he's not pitching he was allowed to stay home etc). He's not my idea of an ideal teammate.

            That stated, your notions of justice are completely medieval. You have admitted that you elevate hearsay and circumstance over actual physical evidence. My point is that only Clemens knows if he actually used. US federal courts have cleared him. MLB has cleared him. But you KNOW that he used because Brian McNamee and Jose Canseco said so.

            I sure hope you haven't served on a jury.

          • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

            What is your basis for claiming that MVP voting is "MUCH" more subjective that Cy Young voting? For decades they based it primarily on wins-losses as oppose to how good the pitcher really was.

            As for my "notions of justice", we're talking about the Hall of Fame here, not a criminal court, where THOUSANDS of people have been convicted wrongfully with less evidence.

            I never said I "KNOW" that he used, I just believe he did based on all of the facts. Once again, you keep bringing up Canseco when I never did. Why??? And the foundation of why I believe Clemens did use, which I've mentioned multiples times, you somehow want to completely ignore. That is, that Pettitte said so. What problems do you have with Pettitte? Is he lying? Do you REALLY believe he is "misremembering" such an important fact?

            I sure hope you don't ever serve on a jury or the streets would be littered with murders and rapist because there is no "evidence" of their guilt because you didn't see it happen with your own eyes and only Canseco says they're guilty as far as your concerned.

          • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

            BTW, if you think that Bonds' MVP awards were based on popularity, then you truly no NOTHING about the sport.

            Furthermore, to think that Bonds would be given any award due to "popularity" shows just how clueless your comments are.

          • Mark Panuthos says:

            My basis for claiming MVP voting is a popularity contest: Mike Trout's 9 WAR loses out to Cabrera's BA and RBI. Enough said. BTW, Barry Bonds' was such a dominant batter that despite his being universally hated outside of San Francisco, you couldn't NOT give him the MVP without the award being a total joke.

            Your words: "I never said I "KNOW" that he used, I just believe he did based on all the facts."


            I'm not sure why you don't understand the Canseco issue – Clemens wouldn't even be an afterthought in the whole steroid issue had he not been called out by Canseco, in Canseco's book – ya falluh?

            For the record, I'd rather that the occasional criminal be set free than an innocent man be convicted. That's just me – clearly you're more into pitchforks and torches.

          • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

            MVP voting is no less accurate than Cy Young voting. Both of the 2012 Cy Young award winners had less WAR than the runner ups. There are tons of such examples. Just shows your complete lack of knowledge when it comes to baseball.

            Pettitte stated that Clemens told him that he used. That is a fact. Pettitte stated he was referred by Clemens to HGH. That is a fact. You can believe him or not. His trainer said he used. That is a fact. You can believe him or not. His wife used HGH. Self admitted. You can be totally naive and believe that Clemens (her HUSBAND and professional athlete) actually knew nothing about it. Criminal trials are ALL about heresay. Unreliable witnesses stating they're absolutely sure when they're not. Officers testifying who have an agenda to win. Expert witnesses who are paid to "interpret" evidence. Wake up! Criminals are convicted EVERY DAY all over the country with much less damning evidence.

            I understand what your trying to say about Canseco, but that doesn't begin to mean that Clemens didn't use – ya falluh?

            Virtually every crime or cheating or whatever has someone making some accusation that gets the ball rolling. They don't hardly ever come forward out of guilt or remorse – ya falluh?

            For the record, I'd rather that the occasional criminal be set free than an innocent man be convicted. But you seem to operate from the fact that "People I like have a much high threshold for guilt."

          • Mark Panuthos says:

            Mike Trout beat out Cabrera by 3 WAR yet lost out in the MVP voting. David Price was 1 WAR beneath Verlander's, but had a lower ERA, ptiched in a tougher conference, ptiched into the 8th inning more often, and got less run support. His team won two more games than Detroit despite missing the playoffs. Next.

            Pettitte stated that he couldn't remember having an HGH-related conversation with Clemens. Even if he remembered, and stated that Clemens not only told him to use provided the drugs and the needle and personally injected him – its still hearsay. The "fact" would have been that Pettitte stated that that was what happened. NOT that that WAS what happened. Ya falluh?

            Another fact – that you conveniently ignore is that HE NEVER TESTED POSITIVE!

            Here's another FACT: He was willing to go to court twice to prove he was innocent.

            Yet another FACT: He was exonnerated TWICE in federal court.

            Yet another FACT: he was tried for perjuring himself before a bogus Mitchell hearing, on the accusation of Jose Canseco.

            And still another FACT: Clemens set the strike out record back in 1986 and then tied it in 1996 and won four Cy Youngs BEFORE the period he was accused of having used PEDs. In other words, he would have made the HOF ANYWAY!

            Perhaps the most important issue, though, is that in the hysteria about PEDs people with low thresholds for logical thinking immediately equate all types of PED use as equally advantageous and therefore all users of PEDs simplistically as "cheaters".

            Clemens was accused of using HGH – there is plenty of skepticism that HGH provides any more of an advantage than coffee. To equate usage with higher performance is not backed up by any type of science. If you'd like to read more on this topic, let me recommend "Extra Innings", published by Baseball Prospectus. There's also another great article by Jay Jaffee in The Hardball Times which makes the case for Clemens pre-accusation accomplishments as meriting HOF inclusion.

            Realzing your dificulty with the concept of "facts", though, I'll assume that the above matters little to you. You just know. Despite the fact that I've already stated that I'm not a Clemens fan per se, you characterize me as sticking up for someone I just "like". Quite the contrary – I don't like him. But there is great fallacy in having a Hall of Fame, which puports to enshrine the greatest players of all times but which, as a matter of policy, excludes the greatest players of all time.

            ya falluh?

          • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

            There have plenty of skewed Cy Young votings as well, not the least of which is Clemens winning over Johnson with 3.0 less WAR. But once again, your complete lack of baseball history shows itself again. Next.

            Pettitte testified, "Roger told me he had used it, and it helped him with recovery (after workouts)," I acknoledged from the get go that no one know for sure. The FACT is, I believe Pettitte. Ya falluh?

            All your other drivel is just that. I could write hundreds of pages of such meaningless points.

            Your arguments skew all over the place. Once again with the needless Canseco comments and mentioning yet again that HGH may not provide benefits. If it doesn't, then use that as a basis but don't try some silly shotgun approach.

            The problem with people like you is that you think you spout facts when you completely mistake your OPINION as being fact. I've acknowledge from the get go that it's we'll never know for sure. But I have a terribly hard time getting passed the fact that not only did his trainer accuse him, but much importantly, that Pettitte did so as well. Obviously, you only want to look at "evidence" that you think shows Clemens in a favorably light.

            ya falluh?

          • Mark Panuthos says:

            Let me sum your last post:


            Let me sum the last paragraph of your last post:

            despite the preponderence of evidence to the contrary, the key for you is a conversation that Pettitte didn't even remember having.

            good for you.

          • Hardcore Yankee Fan says:

            Very well supported argument.

            good for you.

  7. Tanned Tom says:

    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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