New York (AFP) – The ghost of past drug scandals will be hovering over Baseball’s Hall of Fame on Wednesday as the latest batch of inductees are named, with Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens facing an uphill battle to force their way into consideration.
Bonds is Major League Baseball’s career home run king with 762 over 22 campaigns, including a single-season record 73 in 2001 while Clemens won a record seven Cy Young Awards as top pitcher with 354 wins, a 3.12 earned-run average and 4,672 strikeouts in 24 seasons.
Clemens was alleged to have taken steroids in later years of his career by former trainer Brian McNamee but denied the claims in testimony before the US Congress. He was charged with perjury for lying in his denial and after a mistrial he was found innocent in 2012 of lying to lawmakers.
Bonds, whose personal trainer Greg Anderson was among those convicted in the BALCO steroid scandal, was indicted in 2007 on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in the BALCO case, but the perjury charges were dropped and an obstruction conviction was overturned in 2015.
Nevertheless, neither of the controversial figures has yet reached the 75 percent voting support needed from the Baseball Writers of America panel to be included into the Hall of Fame and inducted in July ceremonies at Cooperstown, New York.
Bonds and Clemens each debuted on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2013, the star slugger getting 36.2 percent support and ace pitcher Clemens on 37.6 percent. Last year, Clemens was at 54.1 percent and Bonds on 53.8 percent.
Ryan Thibodaux, a Hall of Fame vote tracker who has ballot information from almost half of this year’s voters, tweeted Monday that support for Clemens and Bonds was at around 64 percent, nudging nearer the magic percentile mark.
He forsees plenty of support for Chipper Jones and Jim Thome and Vladimir Guerrero with relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman and Edgar Martinez just inside the cut-off line and pitchers Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling outside it.