It’s been quite the week with baseball voting. I found this decently done video piece below talking of Bonds, Clemens before the Hall of Fame vote. Fast forward and this week neither of them got in.
My take on it all. I tend to be an absolutist when it comes to performance-enhancing drug users. If you’re a cheat, you shouldn’t be in the hall of fame. It’s understandable why Bonds and Clemens both failed to receive the 75 percent of the vote needed for induction, but it is a shame that baseball’s all-time home run leader and arguably its greatest right-handed pitcher won’t be in the hall. To me personally, it makes Hank Aaron’s even more legendary that it took Barry Bonds taking severe performance-enhancing drugs to beat the record.
Middle of the week we had a discussion about Barry Bonds, Clemens. The argument being made to me was that everyone was doing it.
Baseball does have a character clause on its ballot — unlike, for example, the NFL. If MLB and the Baseball Hall of Fame wanted to remove that clause, they could, but they choose not to do so, for good reason. A Hall of Fame should be about more than numbers; it should be about what a player — or manager or owner or commissioner — meant to the history of the game.
There are those who will point out that there are already plenty of scoundrels in the Hall of Fame. They will note that Bud Selig, who spent years ignoring steroids as commissioner, is there, too. They aren’t wrong, but that doesn’t mean we just give up and say, “Heck with the character clause; show me the numbers.”
There’s also the argument that Bonds and Clemens were Hall of Famers before they took steroids. Except they did take steroids. It’s like arguing that someone who started robbing banks at the age of 40 should be allowed to go free because he was a wonderful human being before that.
A Hall of Fame — in any sport — is supposed to be about what is good in that game. It goes beyond numbers. If you insist that Bonds and Clemens should be included because of their performance, fine. Then the Hall should create a “Steroids Wing” and recognize those with stunning statistics who we know used steroids, even if they never tested positive.
Are many of us who oppose the inclusion of men such as Bonds and Clemens in the Hall of Fame hopeless romantics who still cry during the final scene of “Field of Dreams”? Absolutely. Count me as one of them.