As time goes by MLB’s all-time home run leader, Barry Bonds, and the winner of the most Cy Young awards in baseball history, Roger Clemens, both move closer towards induction into the Hall of Fame.
Tainted by a cloud of steroids hanging over their heads, so far the dynamic duo has been denied inclusion into arguably the most prestigious club in all of American sports. But, they shouldn’t despair because it appears that time is on their side.
Just a few years ago their inductions to the hall seemed unlikely anytime soon. But, Craig Calcaterra writing at NBC sports suggests that the recent Hall of Fame induction of former MLB commissioner Bud Selig just expedited Bonds and Clemens trip to the hallowed halls of Cooperstown.
Referred to as the “Bud Selig Effect,” Calcaterra posits that if the former MLB chief executive who turned a blind eye to players using performance-enhancing drugs during his stewardship of America’s greatest pastime can be in the Hall of Fame, then why can’t the players who used the drugs enter the Hall?
The reality that both Bonds and Clemens were going to the Hall of Fame before they made the decision to lengthen their careers with steroids and HGH use will also help them get inducted. Bonds, who hit 762 career home runs, already hit 400 round trippers by the time he took his first shot in the butt with a PED-enhanced needle. According to a Sports Illustrated article written by two SF Chronicle reporters, Bonds began his steroid use in 1998, the same year that he reached the home run milestone.
As for Clemens, even if you take 100 wins away from Roger the Rocket as a penalty for his alleged PED use, that leaves him with 254 wins, still more than Hall-of-Famers Carl Hubbell (253), Bob Gibson (251), Juan Marichal (243), and Whitey Ford (236).
On top of that reality, Calcaterra contends that “voters have lost their once powerful anti-PED fervor of a few years back. I think they have come to accept that it seems silly now to treat these men as pariahs when, in reality, they were merely men of their era, just as amphetamine users, spitballers and those who played in a segregated environment were men of their eras.” He adds, “Maybe you give them a bit of a discount for their actions, but even at clearance sale prices, Bonds and Clemens are Hall of Famers.”
But most importantly, Calcaterra believes that Bonds and Clemens will receive baseball’s highest honor within the next few years because voters need a reason to get off their high horse, and with Selig’s induction into the Hall of Fame they have their reason.