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Pre-PEDs Roger Clemens is being undersold

Jan 1, 2013, 9:10 AM EDT

Roger Clemens Red Sox

You see a lot of Hall of Fame ballots which include Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. You see more that include neither. You don’t see a whole lot of them which include one and not the other.  But Barry Rozner of the Daily Herald votes that way. He gives the nod to Bonds but not to Clemens.

His reasoning: Barry Bonds was a Hall of Fame player before he began using PEDs. Specifically, if he was hit by a crosstown bus before the 1999 season, when most reliable reporting has him beginning PED use, he’d still have Cooperstown numbers. Rozner does not talk about Clemens at all, but one can assume that he does not think that the pre-PED Clemens had a Hall of Fame resume.

I don’t have a huge problem with the approach as such. I don’t subscribe to it  for a couple of reasons — (a) we don’t know for sure when players began taking PEDS; and (b) we can’t simply ignore what came after PEDs as though it was purely a chemical accomplishment and pretend it didn’t happen — but it’s at least coherent.

I do take some issue, however, with what this approach says about Roger Clemens’ pre-PED accomplishments. Indeed, it’s on par with a narrative about Clemens that prevailed for quite some time after the Mitchell Report came out in which Clemens was considered a washed-up pitcher before he got on the juice and then saw a career resurrection. It’s a narrative that is bolstered by two things, primarily. First, former Red Sox GM Dan Duquette’s disparagement of Clemens when he left to join the Blue Jays, and second, Clemens’ seemingly startling improvement after he got to Toronto.

There are just two problems with this: (1) Clemens was way better in his Boston days than that old narrative would have you believe; and (2) the best evidence we have suggests that Clemens’ PED use began after his career resurgence in Toronto.

Roger Clemens was way better in Boston than you remember

We’ve heard it a million times. The once-great Rocket had run out of fuel. After dominating in the mid-to-late 80s, Clemens had grown fat and lazy and by 1997 he just wasn’t the same pitcher he used to be. That was crystallized by a now-famous quote from Dan Duquette on the occasion of Clemens’ leaving Boston for Toronto:

“We had hoped to keep him in Boston during the twilight of his career.”

And, in 1996, you could forgive casual fans for thinking that Clemens was, indeed, in the twilight.  The man who had won 20 or more games three times to that point, and won 18 games three other times, had just completed a run in which his win totals were 11, 9, 10 and 10. Now, two of those years were shortened due to the 1994-95 work stoppage, and we all know now that win totals are a horribly flawed, but that wasn’t the broad perception. The broad perception was that Clemens’ race was run and he was going to end his career as an innings eater.

Which, to be blunt, was frickin’ insane. Roger Clemens may have only won 10 games in 1996, but he also pitched 242 innings, led the league in strikeouts with 257, struck out more batters per nine innings than anyone and posted an ERA+ — 139 — which was just a shade below his career ERA+ of 143. If you care about such things, know that he also finished second in the league in WAR with 7.7. In September of that year he struck out 20 Detroit Tigers in a single game. Yes, he walked more batters that year than he ever had, but it was a fantastic season nontheless, characterized more by bad luck and poor run support than it was by some farkakte “twilight of his career” narrative.

And what if, in November 1996, Clemens had been hit by that same errant, hypothetical bus that hit poor hypothetical Barry Bonds a couple of years later? What would his career have looked like then? How about a career record of 192-111, an ERA of 3.06 ERA (which makes for a 144 ERA+, or a tick better than his final career number), 2590 strikeouts, a 1.158 WHIP, three Cy Young Awards, an MVP and two — not one, but two — games is which he struck out 20 batters.

Those numbers are not as good as the allegedly pre-PEDs Barry Bonds, but it’s a strong, strong Hall of Fame resume. One that, if Clemens were a little more colorful or more media friendly, would probably get him induction on that alone, with writers arguing that the high peak and the dominance made up for Clemens not reaching 200 wins.

But what if that’s not the entire pre-PEDs case for Roger Clemens? What if we added 21 more wins and another Cy Young Award, ERA, wins, and strikeout title to that list? Another year in which he led the league in innings and WHIP?  Wouldn’t that make those on the fence agree that a pre-PEDs Clemens was a Hall of Fame pitcher? It’s a question worth asking, because there is an argument that Clemens’ added those numbers to his statistical pile before taking PEDs. In 1997. In Toronto. 

The “Clemens juiced up once he got to Toronto” story isn’t backed up by the evidence

It’s wholly understandable why the narrative has Clemens getting run out of Boston, fat, ineffective and unwanted, finding a pack of Winstrol at the bottom of a box of Lucky Charms and juicing his way to the 1997 Cy Young Award in his first season with the Blue Jays. After all, even if his 1996 was better than it’s made out to be, it’s certainly clear that his first season in Toronto was considerably better. Indeed, it was one of the best seasons a pitcher had posted in ages at that point.

The only problem with this is that the best evidence anyone can come up with is that Clemens began juicing in 1998, a year after his resurgence began.

That’s Brian McNamee’s testimony anyway. He told George Mitchell’s investigators that he began his injections of Clemens in 1998 and continued on through 2001. Granted, McNamee was shown to be an extremely unreliable witness, but he had zero incentive to put Clemens’ PED use at a later date than it actually began. If he had any incentive to fabricate, the incentive would be to put Clemens’ PED use at an earlier date, which would cast Clemens in a worse light and make the government agents and lawyers who ruled his life for a while much happier. He didn’t, however. He testified on multiple occasions that it began in 1998. Not once did he state or even opine that Clemens began using PEDs before the two of them hooked up in 1998.

Could Clemens have started his use earlier? Of course he could have. But despite the millions upon millions of dollars and the thousands upon thousands of man hours at the government’s disposal, not one witness was ever discovered who could testify to Clemens beginning his drug use prior to 1998. And you know damn well that the government was aching to find someone who could say so. Why? Because it would make for a killer PowerPoint slide to show the jury in Clemens’ perjury trial:

  • 1996: 10-13, 3.63 ERA RUN OUT OF TOWN ON A RAIL
  • 1997: 21-7, 2.05 ERA CY YOUNG AWARD

Sure, that’s simplistic — as noted above, Clemens’ 1996 was pretty spiffy once you get past his won-loss totals — but that’s the kind of story a trial lawyer dies for. One in which there is (apparently) a clear link between the defendant’s acts and the bad behavior of which the defendant is accused. The story for the jury is way, way better if Clemens began taking PEDs before 1997 and transformed from a tomato can to a superstar. But the government could not, despite its best efforts, tell that story.

So, while it’s quite satisfying for us to believe Roger Clemens began to use PEDs when he got to Toronto, there is no evidence to support that he did. Indeed, if one wanted to speculate a bit — and this is mere speculation, not me arguing that it’s true — one could surmise that Clemens, trying to revitalize his career, simply got in better shape before the 1997 season via legitimate means and, like a lot of PED users, was exposed to PEDs in a major way once he started living in gyms and hanging around people obsessed with nutritional supplements and stuff and after that he really began the juicing.  Likely? I have no idea. But it fits the extant evidence better than the story that has Clemens starting to take PEDS in 1997, which is unsupported.

So where does that leave us?

Well, if you buy the 1997-98 story, it leaves us with a pitcher who went 213-118 with a 2.97 ERA, over 2800 strikeouts, an ERA+ of 149, a WHIP of 1.147, four Cy Youngs, an MVP and a pitcher’s triple crown.  That, my friends, is a sure shot Hall of Famer, and if you’re the sort, like Barry Rozner, who would vote for guys who had Hall of Fame resumes prior to confirmed PED use, you have to vote for Clemens.  Or, at the very least, make the case for why you’re not.

  1. charlescub80 - Jan 1, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    PEDs happened. Lies happened. Don’t be naive in thinking everyone in th Hall are angels either.

    • American of African Descent - Jan 1, 2013 at 10:11 AM

      Here’s the way I look at it for whatever it’s worth. Ty Cobb is in the Hall of Fame. Ty Cobb was, by all accounts, a horrible human being. He supposedly killed a man (using much more force than necessary to defend himself) and was a racist.

      Now query: were people who chemically enhanced their performance to earn a few extra dollars and entertain fans (with the tacit approval of MLB, which was still reeling from the strike that canceled the 1994 World Series) morally worse than a racist killer? To me the answer is a clear “no.”

      • cowboysoldiertx - Jan 1, 2013 at 10:44 AM

        As far as I cna tell the HOF is full of cheaters, racist, murders, druggies, womanisers, and worse. PEDS was part of an era. Want a clean HOF? KICK everyone out and only allow totally clean choir boys in. That would probably get you started off with Murphy, McGriff, Trammell and Biggio as your headling HOF class!

      • historiophiliac - Jan 1, 2013 at 10:51 AM

        I don’t want to start a big fight and I’m certainly not defending Cobb as a person, but I think that comparison does not wash. The HOF is not for being a great person — it’s for being a great player/representative of the game. I think the character assessment involved is different.

      • paperlions - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:03 AM

        Cobb wasn’t a great representative of the game either though. He once climbed into the stands to attach a crippled fan that heckled him. He tried to hurt opposing players. He did whatever he could to cheat or intimidate.

        He was a great player, but he wasn’t good at anything else, including being a good team mate or representative of the game.

        The main problem I have with the steroid backlash is that it ignores the fact that EVERYONE was complicit or encouraged it’s use. Fans did, the media did, the teams did, and the owners did. ANYONE that was paying attention knew by the early 90s that many players were taking something and players regularly joked about it when they showed up to spring training totally ripped. No one cared and everyone encouraged players to use them….until suddenly, EVERYONE cared and any player that used them was suddenly the scum of the earth. It was probably Bond breaking records that ruined it for everyone…because no one really cared until a guy that no one liked started breaking the records of people that were more likable.

        Another other problem is the blinders people insist on wearing when it comes to the relative benefits of steroids (which require strenuous workouts to glean any benefit and whose benefits still may not manifest as being better at baseball) and amphetamines (which require only that you swallow them and which convey an immediate boost in energy and mental focus without any additional effort). For some reason, steroids have been demonized when amphetamine use has caused the death of more people than steroid use has…indeed, casual amphetamine use is far more dangerous to one’s health than casual steroid use.

        Of course, there is still the fact that any and all attempts to detect the signal of PED use in offensive production have failed to do so, and instead simply track the changes of ball composition through time.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:12 AM

        I’ll have you know, paper, I am totally innocent on that.

      • paperlions - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:15 AM

        Which part? There are a lot of things in there (damn, that was longer than I thought, must have been the amphetamines I took this morning) that one could be guilty or innocent of…

      • historiophiliac - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:19 AM

        Well, I meant the part about fans being responsible for the steroid era too…but I haven’t taken amphetamines either. So nice of you to imply. ;)

      • joegolfer - Jan 2, 2013 at 10:06 PM

        Sounds like the old “two wrongs make a right” theory.
        If one guy robbed a bank and got away with it, we shouldn’t punish the next guy who robs a bank if we catch him.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      this is getting boring, everyone has their own theory and opinion on the issue
      and the idea that anyone is wrong or right delusional.
      this has know become an issue to which there will be no end, ever!

    • Old Gator - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:29 PM

      There is no “pre-PED” Roger Clemens.

    • sabatimus - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      I noticed Craig doesn’t mention the “integrity” clause. Clemens seems to violate that. But if the committee paid attention to that, half the Hall wouldn’t be in there in the first place.

      • paperlions - Jan 1, 2013 at 1:02 PM

        Nearly every player has violated the integrity clause via cheating, womanizing, doping, racism, misogyny, or just being an all around ass hole. Invocation of the integrity clause is laughable within the context of the current HOF membership.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Jan 1, 2013 at 4:29 PM

        I didn’t mention the integrity clause because, if you read the post and the linked article, you’d realize that the voter whose ballot inspired this post did not either. His position is clearly — based on his vote for Bonds — that he will not disqualify players via the integrity clause. He will, however, consider only the player’s Hall of Fame candidacy during those years in which he did not use PEDs.

        The point of my post, then, was to use the best evidence available to determine when Clemens was no on PEDs and to assess his Hall of Fame case in those years.

    • ramrene - Jan 1, 2013 at 4:23 PM

      Craig,

      I’m getting pretty sick & tired of your pro-PED position and your desperate attempt to change public opinion to allow PED users into the Hall. Give it a rest.

      Your stats are all cherry pickings that include PED usage. Factor out the PED usage & include the normal rate of decline then let’s look at those stats because that’s exactly what I’m currently doing with Bond’s statistics – figuring out how to factor out his steroid use. Lastly, factor in the character issue that the guy cheated and suddenly Bonds and Clemens aren’t “sure in” HOF’ers. They’re exactly the kinds of guys the Hall needs to keep out.

      They can keep their money and their freedom as opposed to going to jail but they can’t have EVERYTHING. Being labeled a cheat, being thought of as sad & pathetic, being ridiculed and having forever tarnished the family name, having to walk down the street and having fingers point at them while hearing whispers, and being excluded from the HOF is the price they have to pay for dancing with the devil.

      They’re out and you’re pathetic for even attempting to make a case for including them.

      May god have mercy on your soul.

      • philsieg - Jan 1, 2013 at 5:04 PM

        Pretension to piety is such an ugly thing to see. You need to keep that engorged morality of yours covered up. Children may be watching.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 1, 2013 at 5:56 PM

        Factor out the PED usage & include the normal rate of decline then let’s look at those stats

        Here’s the HR king’s OPS+ from age 35 to 40:
        177
        149
        194 (lead league)
        147
        177
        128

        He also took PEDs. Yet this person, Hank Aaron, isn’t be vilified like Bonds is. It’s almost like these guys are unbelievable athletes that don’t follow normal aging curves…

  2. cowboysoldiertx - Jan 1, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    I would vote for him. my HOF ballot

    Bonds
    Clemens
    Bagwell
    McGriff
    Palmeirro
    Biggio
    Raines
    Piazza
    Trammell
    Walker (Larry not Todd)

    • American of African Descent - Jan 1, 2013 at 9:57 AM

      I can’t fault a name on your ballot, although I would trade the Crime Dog for Slamming Sammy and his 600 home runs.

      • Mark - Jan 1, 2013 at 10:08 AM

        I’d switch Lofton/Schilling for McGriff/Palmeiro but otherwise it looks good.

      • cowboysoldiertx - Jan 1, 2013 at 10:41 AM

        Sammy was a nice guy and a good hitter so I really hated leaving him off. However his career never screamed HOF to me, 600 plus homers or not. McGriff did it all clean which means something to me. I truly believe Raffy got a tainted B-12 shot from Miggy (call em naive if you want). If you let Schilling in you have to let Morris in.

      • paperlions - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:11 AM

        Well, people think McGriff did it clean….I mean, we really don’t know, do we?

        The problem I have with McGriff is that he just wasn’t any better (or was slightly worse) than guys that most don’t think are HOF players. John Olerud was just as good offensively and far superior on defense. Will Clarke was better than McGriff offensively and defensively. Jason Giambi was as good as McGriff (better offensively, worse defensively).

      • Mark - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:22 AM

        There’s no reason to let Morris in if you let Schilling in, because Schilling is a vastly superior pitcher.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:32 AM

        Schilling:
        216-146, ERA 3.46, 3116 Ks, ERA+ 127, WHIP 1.137, K/9 8.6, K/BB 4.38
        Postseason: 11-2, ERA 2.23, WHIP 0.968, K/9 8.1,K/BB 4.80

        Morris:
        254-186, ERA 3.90, 2748 Ks. ERA+ 105, WHIP 1.296, K/9 5.8, K/BB 1.78
        Postseason: 7-4, ERA 3.80, WHIP 1.245, K/9 6.2, K/BB 2.00

        Mark is correct, Schilling was a vastly superior pitcher, and the difference becomes even more stark in the postseason.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:46 AM

        Just for fun, here is what happens to Morris’ career postseason stats if you subtract his epic 1991 Game 7:
        6-4, ERA 4.26, WHIP 1.288, K/9 6.1, K/BB 1.87

      • cur68 - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:26 PM

        They re-ran the 1992 WS the other day. I really . . . er. . . what’s the word?. . . enjoyed…no…was thrilled…no….impressed…no, that’s not it…wait! I have it. I was really APPALLED! THAT’S the word…I was APPALLED by Morris’s performance in Game 5. He really pitched to the score, there.

  3. hojo20 - Jan 1, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    My 2013 HOF ballot:

    There you have it.

    • mrfloydpink - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:51 AM

      Aren’t you the clever one!

  4. historiophiliac - Jan 1, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    You should never use trouncing the 1996 Tigers to bolster an argument for greatness (goodness?). It was our third worst year EVER. If Clemens had struck out 20 from a decent team, I might be impressed — but that year’s Tigers? Nah. (BTW, if you want to enjoy hilariously painful snark, check out Baseball Prospectus’ summary on that year’s team.)

    • raysfan1 - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:50 AM

      Even so, how many pitchers hung 20Ks on the Tigers in one game that year? Just Clemens.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:03 PM

        Still not impressive.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:21 PM

        Well, remember that there have been worse teams than the 1996 Tigers and here is the complete list of pitchers who have ever had 20 Ks in one game in MLB history, against anyone: Roger Clemens twice, Kerry Woods. Here is the list of other pitchers who even got to 18 Ks against the Tigers in 1996 in 161 tries: nobody.

        You can choose to not be impressed, but the feat was impressive.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        I’ll give you “better than anyone else,” but I won’t give you “impressive.” We will agree to disagree on that one. We shall just have differing definitions of “impressive.”

      • historiophiliac - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:35 PM

        PS. You can see that as a sign of Clemens’ skill, but I see it as an indicator of how very, very sucky we were that year. So happy to relive that…

      • sabatimus - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:50 PM

        raysfan, Randy Johnson struck out 20 in a single game. In nine innings, too. But the reason he often doesn’t get mentioned is because the game went into extra innings even though he’d already tied the record in the “allotted” number of innings.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:59 PM

        If it were merely an indication ofTiger ineptitude, other quality pitching opponents should have at least come close. Nobody did. I’ll go along with “different definition of impressive” but also submit bad memories of a bad year are clouding your view a bit. As a Devil Rays fan from their inception, I feel your pain on that score.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 1, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        Sabatimus–you’re right. I do miss things like that, or no hitters broken up in extra innings, all the time.

    • cur68 - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:58 PM

      ‘philliac:
      You can choose to not be impressed, but you still have made a choice
      If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
      You can choose between strike out fears and guys that can’t kill (the ball);
      I will choose a path that’s clear-
      20 Tigers struck out? Damn.

      • Kevin S. - Jan 1, 2013 at 3:31 PM

        Rush references are always welcomed, Craig’s trolling be damned.

      • cur68 - Jan 1, 2013 at 5:38 PM

        Rush-Lyric Trolling: the BEST kind of trolling.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 1, 2013 at 7:00 PM

        Who were you trolling?

    • historiophiliac - Jan 1, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      This is why I don’t have these conversations.

      Delete function?

  5. ckhoss29 - Jan 1, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    How do we know good ol Roger wasn’t taking some form of PED his whole career? That being said that was a wild west time for the game, just because baseball was forced to have a conscious after congress stepped in, they shouldn’t act like they had no clue what these guys were doing.

    • Charles Gates - Jan 1, 2013 at 10:49 AM

      Irrelevant. The character clause makes voting for him difficult and uncomfortable considering his fling with Mindy McCready.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:06 PM

        If philandering is now a disqualifier for the HoF, a lot of players will have to be evicted, including Babe Ruth.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        raysfan, I think his implication there is that she was supposedly like 15 when that happened.

      • sabatimus - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:51 PM

        And lying in front of Congress. Which he absolutely did do, even though he wasn’t convicted of it.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 1, 2013 at 1:07 PM

        Historiophiliac–granted.

      • Charles Gates - Jan 1, 2013 at 7:09 PM

        No, I was making the apparently too subtle guess that Torii Hunter would not vote to elect Clemens to the TBCTTOIBMTPBSCWNBCAAOP.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 1, 2013 at 8:35 PM

        Oops! Sorry.

  6. Charles Gates - Jan 1, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    2013 resolution: refer to the Hall of Fame as The Boring Conclusion To The Otherwise Interesting Baseball Museum Tour Propagated By Stodgy Curmudgeons With Non Baseball Centric Agendas And/Or Professions.

    TBCTTOIBMTPBSCWNBCAAOP.

    There. That acronym flows as well as most writer’s HoF vote explanations anyway.

  7. phillyfanmatt - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    I am sorry I have a hard time with everyone thinking curt schilling should get into the hall of fame. A man who barely avg 10 wins a season. That’s right 10 wins a season people want to put in but jack Morris can’t seem to drum up enough support to get in. I just don’t get it.

    • paperlions - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:13 AM

      Man, you should really take a look at numbers that matter. Schilling was a stud pitcher in Philly, he was a stud pitcher in Arizona, and then he was a stud pitcher in Boston. He is a world class jackass, but he also had a career that easily qualifies for HOF given the established standards.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:57 PM

      That’s right 10 wins a season people want to put in but jack Morris can’t seem to drum up enough support to get in. I just don’t get it.

      It’s almost like wins isn’t a good measure of a pitcher. If only people would write an article discussing this…

  8. ha5ko - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    the HOF is a joke.

    a .270 hitter with 300+ HR’s is in, and we are not talkin about a gold glover here………………………………………that is Ryne Sandberg.easily the worst HOFer ever

    • mrfloydpink - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:58 AM

      You are wrong on so many levels. I mean, I’m no Cubs fan or Sandberg fan, but:

      1. Those numbers, from a second baseman in a reduced-offense era, are pretty damn good. Sandberg is easily an average Hall of Famer at his position, and likely above average.

      2. Even if you don’t agree with his conclusion, there are WAY worse Hall of Famers than him. You should, you know, learn a bit of baseball history before making assertions like this. Take a look at a guy named Lloyd Waner. Or Freddie Lindstrom. Or Rabbit Maranville. Or the REAL worst-ever Hall of Famer, Tommy McCarthy, who managed 1,400 hits and 44 HR over 13 seasons for a stellar career WAR of 14.1.

      • Charles Gates - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:44 PM

        Rabbit Maranville gets in on his cool name alone.

  9. schmedley69 - Jan 1, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    It looks like a lot of people are “mis-remembering” Clemens’ Pre-PED career.

    • ezthinking - Jan 1, 2013 at 6:45 PM

      It is ironic when folks use “misremember” as a punchline but fail to realize that “misremember” is a word.

      http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/misremember

      If the Oxford dictionary isn’t good enough for you, then how about Webster?

      http://www.webster-dictionary.net/definition/Misremember

  10. ml3939 - Jan 1, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    @ha5ko0, Phil Rizzuto is the worst hall of famer.

  11. randygnyc - Jan 1, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Great use of “farkakte”, Craig.

  12. Carl Hancock - Jan 1, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    I love how writers seem to be able to predict when a player started using PED’s. Guess what, you can’t. Nobody knows if Clemens and Bonds were only using at the end of their career or for the bulk of their career. You just don’t know. That is why this entire charade is a joke. Either you slow PED users in or you don’t. Picking and choosing based on guesswork is bullshit.

  13. simon94022 - Jan 1, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    And nobody knows that any particular player was “clean,” do voting only for supposedly clean players is preposterous. Simple math and common sense dictate that are large percentage of the “good guys” in the 1990s were, in fact, PED users at least at some points during their careers.

    It all comes down to a bunch of incompetent ex baseball writers who want to vote for mediocrities like Jim Rice and Jack Morris but can’t stand Bonds and Clemens on a personal level.

    Sad.

  14. yousuxxors - Jan 1, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Taking PEDs while old is just putting you on the same field as the kids

  15. opshuns - Jan 1, 2013 at 8:48 PM

    How does one know when these alleged PEDers started using??? Me, I have always been suspicious of the mouthy bloody sock guy with his huffed out chest… Actully, I am suspicous of any player, but it is not my problem. I just love to watch the games and relive my childhood.

  16. bozosforall - Jan 1, 2013 at 9:00 PM

    Given that Boston is the capital of PED usage, either Roger was using his whole career or not at all.

  17. jessethegreat - Jan 1, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    Unless you’re taking hank Aaron out of the hall, bonds and Clemens have to be enshrined. Aaron has admittedly (in his own autobiography) tried to get the upper hand.

    If anything, amphetamines were worse than steroids because they give the added boost without the work put in with steroid use.

    • bozosforall - Jan 1, 2013 at 10:30 PM

      Clemens never tested positive for nor ever admitted to using. Only the haters online continue to insist that he is guilty, despite zero evidence that he did.

    • louhudson23 - Jan 2, 2013 at 4:30 AM

      That is silly.No evidence greenies affected the game in remotely the same way that steroids did. Or that anything short of the dead ball era coming to an end ever has. And maybe reading Mr. Aaron’s autobiography more slowly will make his experience with greenies more clear. Straw men combined with false equivalency does not a lucid argument make. Steroids were a distortion of the game. Why and how are unimportant to me. Watching the whole faked mess was like watching wrestling. Good riddance to them and the shitty baseball it produced.

      • American of African Descent - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:32 AM

        That’s right . . . steroids turned MLB into the WWE. Because steroids helped sluggers hit a round ball with a round bat, thus making the games “fake.”

  18. anxovies - Jan 2, 2013 at 1:09 AM

    If Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, et al. get in the HOF baseball owes Pete Rose a big apology.

  19. louhudson23 - Jan 2, 2013 at 4:25 AM

    The problem with steroids is how effective they turned out to be for hitters in the sport of baseball. Nothing to do with anything more than the distorted results they produced. Pitchers,like Clemens would appear to have their careers extended,their recovery accelerated. But no 120 mph fastball,no 30 win seasons and witless hitters standing helpless to the onslaught.. No comparison to the enhanced performance of the hitters.The record book shows that the steroids era produced voluminous, heretofore unseen home run production.Exactly why is a question that is secondary at this point. Clearly and extra twenty feet is the difference between “Big Earl” Williams’ warning track power and Barry Bonds of the giant head and tiny testicles.The record book was destroyed and the way the game was played changed dramatically. How defense was played(or not played as it were,how pitchers pitched,how and when people stole bases were all affected). Whatever other listed causes of this offensive explosion,they presumably still exist,but the distortion of the game does not. Home run production is now a product of the field of play and not the laboratory. Greenies,Ty Cobb,segregation did not make 180 pound second basemen into Orlando Cepeda,30 hr seasons into yawn fests and did not turn the Home Run Record Chase into a nightly cartoon with blown up yim yaps playing the hero of Home Run Derby……..steroids did. That is the reason that the records and the players are not worthy of consideration. No more ,no less. Leave that shit to the X-Box crowd. Baseball needs no such artificial enhancement nor does it need the attention of those who fail to see the beauty of it as played without(clearly greatly reduced) steroids use.

    • American of African Descent - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:44 AM

      Nice straw man you’ve set up. “Exactly why” home run production increased in the nineties and early aughts is the question. (A question that you seem to answer with “steroids.”) Could the rise in home runs also have something to do with (i) smaller ball parks, (ii) expansion, which diluted the quality of pitching, and (iii) a smaller strike zone?

  20. makeham98 - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    Clemens was acquitted on all counts in less than 10 hours of jury deliberations. For something he allegedly did live on national tv. He rejected plea offers. His main accuser was a dirty supplier who was essentially blackmailed by inept federal agents.

    Where is your evidence beyond “he’s a jerk”? And messing around with Mindy McCready shows a lot better taste than messing around with Margo Adams.

    • American of African Descent - Jan 2, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      OJ Simpson was also acquitted of murder. People still think he’s guilty . . . wonder why that is?

      (And when you jump up and down and say “civil suit” in OJ’s case, I’ll say different burden of proof. The nature of Clemens’ actions means that he won’t have to face a civil suit, so a court will never determine whether the preponderance of the evidence shows that Clemens used steroids. Craig, back me up here.)

  21. makeham98 - Jan 2, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    There were no eyewitnesses testifying in Simpson’s case, no one who said “I saw him do it.” Clemens’ case was based directly on the accusations of a dirty supplier trying to save his own hide. His trial was based on his nationally televised testimony to Congress.

    Other than their being unpopular sports figures, there is no similarity. And I never lost a minute of sleep over OJ anyway.

    • American of African Descent - Jan 2, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      Nice red herring. The point is that acquittal in a criminal trial is not the same thing as innocence of the underlying act. That’s why the finder of fact in a criminal trial finds the defendant “not guilty” as opposed to “innocent.”

  22. makeham98 - Jan 2, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Go ahead and live in denial, dwell on OJ as “the same thing”. Clemens defended himself at huge personal risk and was acquitted, the charges laughed out of court. To even compare him to an accused murderer whose defense was racism is ludicrous.

    Robert Blake = OJ. Not Clemens. Does that make you happy now? Sheesh, why bother with you.

    • American of African Descent - Jan 2, 2013 at 6:48 PM

      Go ahead and live in ignorance and refuse to acknowledge that arguing (a) Clemens was acquitted in a criminal trial, therefore he is innocent is logically identical to arguing (b) that OJ was acquitted in a criminal trial, therefore he is innocent. (I could say the same thing about Casey Anthony — would it make you happier if I used that example because Casey didn’t allege racism?)

      Neither OJ’s acquittal nor Clemens’ acquittal proves that the defendant didn’t do it. The charges against Clemens were not laughed out of court. (That implies that Clemens won on a motion to dismiss, which didn’t happen.) Rather, the jury in Clemens’ case — just like the jury in OJ’s case (and the jury in Casey Anthony’s case) — decided that the prosecution did not meet its burden of proof.

      Please do me — hell, do the justice system — a favor. If you’re ever called for jury duty, please tell the judge that you are incapable of understanding concepts like “burden of proof,” “not guilty,” and “innocent.” It will make everyone’s life a whole lot easier.

  23. skarfacci - Jan 3, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    He was found guilty in a court of law on all counts. He did not use PEDs. To say he shouldn’t get in b/c of “public opinion” is ridiculous. Clemens proves how idiotically elite the media are. He took all the way to court and won, as if to say what now? He’s clean. He’s a hall of famer, with or without the bust. And he’ll get in anyways, just like the others, just give it time. And honestly, who cares? Sports are business, and long ago lost their credibility in the dawn of free agency. If anyone can tell me there are no NFL guys on PEDs, you’re living in a fantasy land. There is something unnatural about all these behemoths on defense and O-line. It’s not a clean sport but they don’t care b/c they are making money. That’s what matters. It’s the money stupid.

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