- Tim Burke
Bonds and Clemens Never Will Reach Cooperstown
Two of baseballs greatest legends will be on the Hall of Fame ballot later this year for the seventh year in a row. Barry Bonds has the most home runs in the history of baseball and Rodger Clemens has won more Cy Young awards than any other pitcher in history. What has prevented them from getting a plaque in Cooperstown is that both Clemens and Bonds are highly likely to have taken steroids throughout their careers to enhance their game. Steroids have been banned from baseball since 1991, and is a dishonest way to enhance your physical abilities. In both the cases of Clemens and Bonds steroids has tainted their legacy greatly. Major League Baseball does not want steroids in their game. Allowing Bonds, Clemens, and other steroid users into the hall of fame would encourage the use of performance enhancing drugs. Their ban from Cooperstown would be the tough disciplinary action they want to enforce. Still it is a shame that arguably the greatest hitter and pitcher are not in the Hall of Fame.
Barry Bonds is baseballs only member of the only 500 home runs/ 500 steals club. Nobody in the history of baseball has hit 400 homers and stole 400 bases in their career. In 2004, Barry Bonds reached base 376 times in 373 at bats. He was walked 232 times that year, with 120 of them being intentional. Pitchers have never feared anyone more.
In Clemens case, he won back to back Cy Youngs in Toronto after a few rough seasons in Boston. He seemed to only grow stronger in his thirties as he won four Cy Young awards after the age of thirty three, an extreme oddity. Both players were likely on a Hall of Fame track despite steroids. Inducting them to the Hall of Fame would bring up serious issues for baseball beyond disciplinary cheating players. For example, why elect some steroid users over others? If Bonds, Clemens, and A-Rod get inducted why would McGuire and Sosa be left out? What would the criteria be to elect some steroid users over others? It would also be extremely unfair to Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson, who are banned from Cooperstown for suspected gambling related offenses. Pete Rose is baseballs all time hits leader and like Bonds and Clemens, is highly suspected of cheating. If one of those guys gets in they all should. Not having these guys in the hall of fame is a shame but inducting them would result in serious consequences. For the MLB it is not worth it. What do you believe?