I 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.
Guarantees always backfired when made by a member of the pre-’91 Braves. Chuck Tanner once promised a parade down Peachtree. When he was fired, maybe.
After he was acquired from the Blue Jays for assorted flotsam, Ernie Whitt told the local organ that Toronto GM Pat Gillick would regret the trade.
“They got caught up in my being 37 years old, ” claimed Whitt, who expects to catch 130 games (in 1990). “You don’t look at age; you look at production. I’m going to drive in 70 runs, hit my 15 home runs and hit .260. You can go to the bank on it.”
Good thing he was wrong about the 130 games. The 67 he appeared in were bad enough.
Whitt likewise fell short on his other predictions, finishing with a .172 BA, 2 HR and 10 RBI.
At least he was consistent.
- HOME: .162
- ROAD: .183
- FIRST HALF: .169
- SECOND HALF: .174
- RISP: .134
- BASES EMPTY: .183
Whitt saved his worst for two-out situations, finishing just above the Corky Miller line, at .103.
But he was a good backstop, right?
Not on Aug. 30.
(via the local organ)
Hardly a speed team, the Dodgers took a 4-2 lead on Kirk Gibson’s two-run homer and by working over catcher Ernie Whitt for a season-high five stolen bases, including two double steals, in the first four innings.
Whitt’s Braves career would be over two months later. After signing with the Orioles he guaranteed he’d hit at least .180.
(Go here for the rest of our list)
This 17-2 thumping by the Padres was a sign of things to come, in April, at least. The Braves were 9-14 that month and looked even worse than their record.
This game marked Jo-Jo Reyes‘ final appearance as a Brave. It was a fitting send-off for Reyes, who walked three and allowed 10 hits in 3-1/3 IP, good for 9 ER. As a Brave, Jo-Jo was 5-15 with a 6.40 ERA and 1.670 WHIP.
He was sent to Toronto along with Yesco for Alex Gonzalez, so thanks to the Blue Jays for taking two albatrosses off our hands.
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Braves 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 2 4 1
Padres 0 1 0 10 3 0 3 0 X 17 19 0