The Red Sox legend won’t be making his way to Cooperstown
Thanks to the labor stoppage, the National Baseball Hall of Fame has commanded much of the conversation lately, especially with tonight’s announcement of the Class of 2022. Several former Red Sox players were on the ballot this year but only one will be immortalized in Cooperstown, NY. While I couldn’t be more elated for David Ortiz, I wish Roger Clemens could also be joining him.
This was Clemens’ last and probably best shot at getting inducted into the Hall. We’ve seen in years past when players are in their final year of eligibility they’ll get that boost from the voters but it wasn’t in the cards for The Rocket. Due to his link with Performance Enhancing Drugs the righty is left on the outside looking in. Going into the final reveal tonight he was a few points above the 75% threshold but would finish with an underwhelming 65.2%
Clemens isn’t the only player with that PED stink on their name to get shunned by the voters but this year’s ballot felt different. In the days and weeks leading up to tonight’s announcement, it felt like this would be the year for the right-hander and another big name, Barry Bonds.
However, the always righteous BBWAA voters decided that despite careers more than worthy of enshrinement, Roger and Barry weren’t it. The morality that some voters spewed when sharing their ballots at times felt illogical and even phony. Not voting for players who took advantage of a path that was given to them while voting for others with much more egregious stains on their ledgers.
Still, even if you want to shake your fist at Clemens for what he allegedly did so be it, that’s your choice. The man has denied taking any substances, and while I fully believe he did, he also had a Hall of Fame-worthy career long before his name popped up on the Mitchell Report. Ignoring the work he put in before he may have gone to the dark side isn’t right either.
I can understand making him wait the full ten years and go ahead and put that asterisk on his plaque if it helps you sleep at night, but Roger more than earned the right to call himself a Hall of Famer. Not only was he a legend with the Red Sox, but he also dominated for the Blue Jays, Astros, and…ugh…Yankees.
How is a player with these accolades not in the Hall of Fame?
- All-Star MVP
- Major League Player of the Year
- Two-Time Triple Crown Winner
- Two-Time World Series Champion
- 11-Time All-Star
- Seven-Time ERA Champion
- SEVEN-TIME CY YOUNG WINNER
Again, there is some of this that came after his name started showing up in the PED discussions but a majority of it came well before those whispers arose. Rocket spent 13 out of his 24-year career with the Red Sox and was a beast the whole damn time.
His 3.06 ERA, 2.94 FIP, 1.158 WHIP, and 3.03 K/BB in 2,776 innings pitched was more than enough to get his ticket punched. He also happened to pitch two, count ’em TWO, 20-K games while with the Red Sox.
As it stands right now, I think it’d be pretty hard to argue that Clemens isn’t the greatest Red Sox player not in the Hall of Fame. Others will surely be inducted as time goes on but not having a guy that meant so much to the franchise not in Cooperstown definitely stings. Hope isn’t totally lost as next winter the Veteran’s Committee can put both Bonds and Clemens in the Hall, which very well could happen.
I was young toward the end of his tenure with the Red Sox and most of my memories are of him in those awful Yankee pinstripes. I’ve made it a mission of mine to see as much of his work from his prime from the 80s and early 90s so I can fully understand his greatness. Again, he’s one of the greatest pitchers to ever stand on a mound, and being snubbed in his final opportunity is a bad look. Luckily it seems that Clemens is more than at peace with his career and accomplishments but this would’ve been the perfect punctuation on that story.