Not all cheaters the same

http://cbsnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/clemens_bonds.jpg?w=620&h=465I don’t believe Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens deserve enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. Cheaters shouldn’t prosper.

But it’s unfair to lump them together. No question Bonds makes it to Cooperstown without ‘roids. The case for Clemens is much less definitive.

In 1993, a 30-year-old Clemens posted a 4.46 ERA with a 1.263 WHIP. He was effective in the strike-shortened ’94 campaign but decidedly mediocre in his final years with the Red Sox:

(’95) 10-5, 4.18 ERA, 1.436 WHIP

(’96) 10-13, 3.63 ERA, 1.327 WHIP

Power pitchers usually don’t improve with age, but miraculously a 34-year-old Clemens had one of his best years after signing with Toronto, winning 21 games in ’97 with a 2.05 ERA and a career-best 292 strikeouts. He won 162 games after leaving Boston, and it’s fair to say those victories were tainted.

It’s believed Bonds began juicing at around the same age as Clemens. Prior to that he was still a premium player, compiling a 1.047 OPS when he was 33.

Kevin Brown is a more apt comparison to Clemens. The surly middle Georgian was a dominant pitcher over a 10-year period but will never make it into Cooperstown.

Neither should Clemens.

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9 Comments on Not all cheaters the same

  1. PepeFreeUs // December 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm //

    Brown has already had his chance on the writer’s ballot. He was one and done, so unless some variation of the Vet’s Committee is taken with his obviously fraudulent story, he’s gone for good. As he should be.

    I’ve made this same argument about Clemens, vis a vis Bonds. As much of a churl as Bonds was, he was a transcendently great player who had no need of PED enhancement. His story is much more of a tragedy than an outrage.

    Clemens, on the other hand, simply decided that doing what so many men before him had (learning to pitch after their natural power declined with age) was for pussies and took steps to be sure he didn’t have to take that route. He’s utterly despicable, personally and professionally.

    McNamee started with him in ’98 when he came to New York but it completely beggars credulity to think Clemens didn’t start using steroids during his time in Toronto, so only 2 of his 17 Cy Youngs can be said to be fairly won. Fuck him.

  2. Jack Straw // December 1, 2012 at 7:30 pm //

    Your case is a good one. But-

    As Bonds won all those MVP awards, what players were denied? As the record books were re-written, what legitimate records were obscured by the tainted accomplishments of Barry Bonds, the biggest asshole to play the game since Ty Cobb?

    Fuck Barry Bonds. There is no tragedy in his story, just selfishness, arrogance, and the Fifth Amendment privilege invoked by Greg Anderson.

  3. PepeFreeUs // December 1, 2012 at 11:37 pm //

    It’s a tragedy in the Greek sense, in that you had a guy who was a complete player (his lack of a great arm stops him from being a 5 tool performer) who acted out of jealousy for the acclaim shown to 2 guys who, when judged on their relative talent levels weren’t fit, even on their best days, to kiss his ass.

    As for him (and the others) screwing up the record books and taking awards away from those who deserved them, I feel the same as you and always have.

  4. I’m not defending Bonds. My point was a simple one: Had he not cheated he still would’ve been a Hall of Famer. But he did, and because of that he wouldn’t get my vote.

  5. You forgot to mention, that in addition to being a cheater and a miserable human being, Roger Clemens is a texass longwhorn. So that’s three strikes against him.

    As for Bonds, well fuck him, too. Yeah, before he started using PEDs, he was a Hall of Fame-caliber ballplayer. But part of what drove him to cheat at Lance Armstrong-esque (speaking of cheating-ass longwhorn supporters) levels, was listening to his godfather Willie Mays express his disdain for Bad Henry’s relative talents his whole life. Neither Mays nor either of the Bondses ever did anything for anybody other than themselves, while the Hammer was always giving back to the community, knowing full well he wouldn’t have achieved what he did without the sacrifices of others. Having a great career wasn’t enough for Bonds, he sought as his legacy the diminishing of the legacy of Henry Aaron, a far greater man than that narcissistic cheater could comprehend. I feel the same way about him as I do Pete Rose; they both knowingly disrespected the game and therefore don’t deserve to join the Hall while they’re still on this side of the grass. And as Braves fans, we all should hold a special hatred for Barry Bonds.

  6. Ironically, Bonds has elevated Aaron stature.

    Mays will never be remembered as being much of a human being.

  7. roadrunner, I believe you’re right, because Aaron looks so great in comparison to Bonds. But that wasn’t what Bonds set out to do when he started doing PEDs. (Now if we could just demolish the Used Car Salesman statue that stands outside Miller Park along with one of Aaron……..)

  8. Good point on Selig — his induction into the HOF, which you know is coming, will be a worse travesty than either Bonds, Clemens or both getting into Cooperstown. The Used Car Salesman has done more damage to the game than anyone living or dead.

  9. atlmalcontent, If one were to have set out 20 years ago determined to kill Major League Baseball that person’s actions probably wouldn’t have been a whole lot different from those the Used Car Salesman made while trying to help.

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