Skip to content

Will Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens ever get into the Hall of Fame?

Jan 9, 2013, 3:31 PM EDT

Barry Bonds Convicted Of One Count Of Obstruction Of Justice Getty Images

If you had asked me before 2pm today I would have guessed that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens would have received around 50% of the vote. Not a lot given their baseball accomplishments, but a healthy vote for two players so thoroughly associated with PEDs.  But they fell far short: Clemens received 37.6% of the vote, Bonds 36.2%.

I think there are two distinct groups of voters who voted no on these guys this year (1) the never ever voters; and (2) the not this year voters.  The never ever voters will, obviously, never-ever vote for a PED user. They have drawn a bright moral line and will not consider these two no matter what happens.   The not this year voters are voters who took Bonds’ and Clemens’ first year on the ballot as an opportunity to lodge a protest vote. I recall reading many columns by these sorts, all of whom said some version of “I may vote for them in the future, but I don’t know what to do with them now …” or something like it.

For Clemens and Bonds to make it in, that second camp has to be gigantic. And frankly, I can’t see it being such a large group of people that it will allow them to jump up by nearly 40% in the vote be it next year or ten years from now.  Given how low their vote totals are the never ever camp has to comprise more than 25% of the electorate, and it only takes one more than 25% of the electorate to block a player.

Maybe attrition changes this, but I have my doubts. It’s fashionable to say that the “old man” voters oppose Bonds and Clemens and then assume that, over time, those voters will die off while younger, more progressive voters fill the BBWAA’s ranks. But I don’t necessarily buy that. There are a lot of “old man” voters who don’t think PEDs are a mortal sin. Maybe because they remember segregation and its after effects, greenies, cocaine and all manner of other bad things and know damn well that there are worse things in baseball than someone taking steroids.  Meanwhile, there are a lot of Hall of Fame voters south of 50 who are among the most virulent anti-PED guys as you’ll find anywhere.  Even if you’re counting on attrition, it’s going to take longer than the 14 years Bonds and Clemens have on the ballot to make a difference.

No, the only chance those two have to make the Hall of Fame is for some sort of fundamental change in the process to happen. For the BBWAA to alter the composition of its electorate, for MLB and the Hall of Fame to come out with some sort of formal diktat that PED use should not be considered in Hall of Fame voting or for the BBWAA to have the Hall of Fame vote taken away from it altogether.

I don’t see any of those three things happening. And for that reason, I don’t see Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens getting into the Hall of Fame without a ticket any time soon.

Latest Posts
  1. Remember when people laughed at the Orioles hiring Dan Duquette?

    Sep 17, 2014, 10:53 AM EDT

    Dan Duquette AP

    Or, at the very least doubted his ability to turn the Orioles around.

  2. Video: Dee Gordon is bored with your tired, conventional infield play

    Sep 17, 2014, 10:23 AM EDT

    Dee Gordon

    He has decided to add difficulty to it. Like, playing second base while sitting on his but in the infield dirt. Or starting double plays from his stomach, for example.

  3. Joe Girardi and Joe Maddon at odds after Jeter was hit by a pitch last night

    Sep 17, 2014, 9:13 AM EDT

    Joe Girardi Getty Images

    Rays pitchers have hit Yankees batters five times in the past week. Joe Girardi is sick of it.

  4. Umpire ejects jackwagon fan heckling Bryce Harper in Atlanta last night

    Sep 17, 2014, 8:31 AM EDT

    Bryce Harper Getty Getty Images

    And the Braves and their announcers bear some of the blame for this baloney.

  5. And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

    Sep 17, 2014, 7:08 AM EDT

    Washington Nationals Celebrate AP

    Beer showers on the Beltway as the Nats and Orioles both clinch

  6. Buck Showalter gets booze shower after AL East clincher

    Sep 17, 2014, 12:34 AM EDT

    showalter getty Getty Images

    CSNBaltimore.com has some exclusive video of Orioles manager Buck Showalter getting showered with beer and champagne after his club clinched the American League East title on Tuesday night …

  7. Bryce Harper rocks custom D.C. Fire Department helmet during NL East title celebration

    Sep 17, 2014, 12:07 AM EDT

    1harper

    Bryce Harper came prepared for the Nationals’ division title celebration with a custom helmet sent to him from the Washington, D.C. Fire Department. These photos come courtesy of CSNWashington.com …

  8. Jose Altuve breaks Craig Biggio’s franchise record, tallying his 211th hit of the season

    Sep 16, 2014, 11:41 PM EDT

    jose altuve getty Getty Images

    Watch as Astros second baseman Jose Altuve sets the franchise record for most hits in a season with a single through the middle of the infield on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park in Houston …

  9. Video: O’s make final out to clinch first American League East championship since 1997

    Sep 16, 2014, 10:53 PM EDT

    steve pearce o's getty Getty Images

    Watch the Orioles make the final out of Tuesday night’s AL East title clincher …

  10. Tanner Roark dominates as Nationals clinch NL East

    Sep 16, 2014, 10:05 PM EDT

    tanner roark getty Getty Images

    Congratulations to the Washington Nationals, who’ve clinched their second NL East crown in three years.

  11. Rays’ retirement gifts for Derek Jeter: Don Zimmer jersey and a pinstriped 16-foot kayak

    Sep 16, 2014, 9:49 PM EDT

    jeter getty Getty Images

    Derek Jeter’s retirement tour continued on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field with another set of cool gifts. Along with a $16,000 check for his Turn 2 Foundation and a framed Don Zimmer jersey presented by the widow of the former Yankees bench coach, Jeter also got this custom 16-foot pinstriped kayak …

  12. Hanley Ramirez scratched Tuesday with elbow strain

    Sep 16, 2014, 9:04 PM EDT

    hanley ramirez getty Getty Images

    Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez has been scratched from Tuesday’s game against the Rockies due to an elbow strain. It’s not clear when he suffered the injury or how serious it might be.

  13. Juan Lagares leaves game with hyper-extended elbow

    Sep 16, 2014, 8:40 PM EDT

    Juan Lagares AP

    Lagares has dramatically out-performed expectations offensively this season, hitting .283 with four homers and a .706 OPS in 115 games, and his defense in center field has always been Gold Glove caliber.

  14. Rusney Castillo will make his Red Sox debut Wednesday

    Sep 16, 2014, 8:20 PM EDT

    rusney castillo ap AP

    Castillo played a total of 10 games in the minors, participating in the playoffs at three different levels while hitting a combined .297 with four doubles and two steals.

  15. Tony Gwynn Jr. batting leadoff for Phillies in San Diego

    Sep 16, 2014, 8:02 PM EDT

    tony gwnn jr. getty Getty Images

    Tony Gwynn Jr. is batting leadoff for the Phillies on Tuesday night in San Diego. It’ll be his first appearance in his hometown since the death of his Hall of Fame father.

  16. Matt Shoemaker diagnosed with mild oblique strain

    Sep 16, 2014, 7:37 PM EDT

    matt shoemaker getty Getty Images

    Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker departed his sensational start Monday night against the Mariners after experiencing discomfort on the left side of his rib cage in the top of the eighth inning. He underwent an MRI on Tuesday and the diagnosis is in …

  17. Bryce Harper is back in the Nationals’ lineup after leaving game with lightheadedness

    Sep 16, 2014, 7:10 PM EDT

    Bryce Harper AP AP

    Nate Schierholtz, who replaced Harper mid-game Monday, will be on stand-by again with the Nationals able to clinch the NL East division title tonight.

Featured video

Do the Angels have any weaknesses?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. G. Stanton (3846)
  2. A. Rizzo (2530)
  3. R. Castillo (2515)
  4. B. Belt (2223)
  5. A. Pujols (2178)
  1. H. Ryu (2071)
  2. C. Young (2029)
  3. J. Hamilton (1977)
  4. C. Davis (1874)
  5. E. Gattis (1853)