Former Red Sox players on Hall of Fame ballot who deserve to get in
By Sean Penney
The PED allegations that tarnished the legacy of Roger Clemens is the only factor that prevented him from being inducted over the course of the previous six years he’s been on the ballot. Based on his career accomplishments, the Rocket is an obvious choice for enshrinement.
Clemens is the all-time leader among pitchers in Wins Above Replacement by FanGraphs’ measurement with 133.7 fWAR. He ranks third with 4672 career strikeouts and ninth with 354 wins. His 3.12 ERA is tied for 19th by a starting pitcher since 1969, the year the mound was lowered to increase offense.
The 11-time All-Star won seven Cy Young Awards, six in the American League and one in the National League at the age of 41. He led the league in ERA seven times, including twice when he won the pitching Triple Crown. Clemens is one of the rare pitchers who has taken home the MVP award, which he won during his first Cy Young campaign with the Red Sox in 1986.
Voters appear to be softening their stance on suspected PED users based on the latest ballot results but there’s still a significant faction who refuse to vote for these alleged cheaters. I understand the viewpoint of those who take the moral high ground with this stance but I don’t agree with it. The Hall of Fame is a museum showcasing the history of the game. Like it or not, the steroid era was a part of this history that we simply can’t ignore.
I also factor in that Clemens was only tied to PEDs after he left Boston. There was never any evidence that he was using during his time here and his declining results in his last few years with the franchise supports that notion. During his 13 seasons with the Red Sox, Clemens won 192 games with a 3.06 ERA and 2590 strikeouts. He made five All-Star appearances, won three Cy Youngs and an MVP during that span.
Clemens should be in the Hall of Fame based on his production with the Red Sox alone, negating the argument for his overall numbers being tainted by alleged steroid use. Those who refuse to vote for him do so as punishment for his crimes, not because he wouldn’t have been worthy without cheating.