One man is the all-time leader in home runs for Major League Baseball, and a seven time MVP of the league. The other, a 7-time Cy Young winner, over 4,000 strikeouts and 354 wins. Earlier this week, these two giants of the game, were again passed up for entrance into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, two of the iconic players in baseball, for not just my childhood, but for the 115 year existence of the MLB. Every January for the past several years, its been the same conversation, will these two famed players get the recognition they rightfully deserve, and be inducted. Earlier this week, they were cut short once again.
In the 2018 voting, the two gathered the highest percentage they ever have, both with over 50%, yet it was Chipper Jones, Trever Hoffman, Jim Thome and Vladimir Guerrero who will enter Cooperstown as inductees this year.
To be completely honest, you’ve heard the stats for both of these players, and it speaks for itself. So now, with four more years of eligibility left to vote, its time for the voters of the Hall of Fame to swallow their pride, and get them in.
Its no secret that the two’s usage of steroids is the argument against them, and the reason that the writers have against letting them in the exclusive fraternity of baseball players. However, there are several reasons why that argument for Clemens and Bonds could be wrongfully altered.
In the pre-BALCO era, Bonds was masterful already, a three-time all star, and one of the top players in baseball. In 1996, Bonds one of just four players in MLB history to hit 40 home runs as well as 40 stolen bases.
You could make the same argument for The Rocket. In 1986, Clemens was given the Cy Young award as well as being named AL MVP. Before even turning 30, Clemens was a three-time Cy Young award winner, as well as capturing the ERA title four times.
There are several players who are members of the Hall of Fame, who were suspected of steroid use. Jose Canseco said in his book that he showed Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez how to inject steroids. Jeff Bagwell has been questioned, due to the fact that he hit six home runs in two minor-league seasons, and 449 with the Astros in 14 seasons. Tim Raines, though not in the steroid conversation, was a well-known user of cocaine, often carrying it in his back pocket during games.
So why are those players, with far less career achievements, inducted into the most prestigious location for Major Leaguers, before two of the greatest players of our generation? Perhaps Peter Gammons, member of BBWWA since 1972 said it best, “I judge players by their eras and who they played against, Clemens and Bonds, they were the best pitcher, player of their eras. And while I wrestled with it, I just decided that how do I know who did and who didn’t? … I finally just decided, you know what, they’re so great that they should be in the Hall of Fame because it’s a museum of baseball history.” (Gammons told USA Today)
With the rise of their voting percentage in the last few years, there still is a good chance we will one day see these legends take their place among the greatest ever to play.