Pitcher Roger Clemens and outfielder Barry Bonds are moving closer to the 75 percent threshold needed for election into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but it is still a mystery as to why they should be in.
As a voting member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, I can’t vote for them. I don’t understand or agree with the arguments that BBWAA members use to vote for Bonds and Clemens.
A vote for Bonds and Clemens is a vote for steroids usage. That means a voter thinks that Clemens’ 1.87 ERA at 42 in 2005 and 2.30 ERA a year later were legitimately accomplished. Or that Bonds’ 135 home runs in his final five seasons, starting at 38, were real. Or that Bonds’ 73 home runs at age 36 are legitimate.
Apparently, standards for the Hall of Fame are slipping because both are trending upward and getting much more traction that Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire - other players who didn’t or haven’t come close to making the Hall of Fame.
McGwire, who has become a hitting coach and bench coach in the big leagues, admits that he made mistakes with steroids and says and not making the Hall of Fame is something he understands and something he has to live with it.
Clemens and Bonds are still in denial mode.
Bonds and Clemens have connections to performance-enhancing drugs that ruined the credibility of baseball’s records - especially Bonds, who owns the single-season and career records for home runs, under the cloud of cheating.
Bonds holds the single-season record of 73 home runs. His career total is 762. Both records are tainted because of the alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. How is Henry Aaron supposed to feel?
Aaron has said that Bonds should have no part of being in the Hall.
Question: The Hall of Fame has a character clause that asks members to uphold the integrity of the game. If the character clause isn’t used in these cases, when should the character clause be used?
There is the argument that baseball writers shouldn’t be put into a position to make judgements about who used and didn’t use steroids. I disagree. Some organization has to determine the legitimacy of records. There’s no one better than a group of always-investigating baseball reporters who are on the beat every day. That scrutiny is needed and reporters are the only group that can do that.
Several BBWAA members have said they vote for Clemens and Bonds because their careers were on a Hall of Fame trajectory before steroids came along. The response: The BBWAA voters’ jobs are supposed to take into account actions and performances of a player’s entire career, not a certain portion of the career.
BBWAA voters say that they vote for Clemens and Bonds for the Hall simply because former commissioner Bud Selig was elected in 2016 year by the Hall of Fame’s hand-picked 16-member Today’s Game Era Committee. That argument makes no sense.
There is the argument that there might already be steroids users in the Hall of Fame. Maybe, maybe not, but that argument doesn’t work either. Justice isn’t always fair. Does the highway patrol stop ticketing speeding cars because not all can be caught?
Bonds is just below 75 percent at this point. Clemens, who had 57.3 percent of the vote last time and is near 75 percent so far this year, won 354 games with seven Cy Young Awards and 4,672 strikeouts during a 24-year career.
Impressive statistics, but are they real?