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.