Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are names that are synonymous with the game of baseball. Future hall of famers to be, and yet they may never reach it. They are accused of using performance enhancing drugs, and if true will keep them out of the Hall of Fame. They both amassed amazing statistics while playing their prospective positions, but if found guilty, they most likely will never be allowed into baseball’s most cherish place.
I had the chance to see both Bonds and Clemens play the game. For Bonds, he broke in with the Pirates in 1986. He was a skinny kid, but had more talent in his little finger than most players in the majors. He was hitting homeruns then, and continued to hit them (762) until he retired in 2007. He was something to watch, and he could play the game. If the accusation of him using performance enhancing drugs is true, do I believe he belongs in the Hall of Fame? No! Period! Using performance enhancing drugs does just what it says it suppose to do. Enhance your performance. For me, that’s cheating, and you should never be rewarded for cheating. That’s the chance you take when you cheat. If you don’t get caught, you prosper, if you do, you lose. Simple as that.
Roger Clemens was one of the most dominating pitchers of this or any generation in the game of baseball. A hard worker, a hard thrower, and yes with a take no prisoners attitude. Although I only called balls and strikes for him during spring training, he was dominant even then. However, today (August 30) he is in the fight of his life. He was indicted, and the indictment alleges that he lied to Congress, when he rejected the claims of others that he used performing enhancing drugs. Did he lie to Congress? Who knows? Did he use performance enhancing drugs? I certainly don’t know. However, the evidence tends to support that he did (just as it does with Barry Bonds), but will we ever know for sure? Again, the one thing I do know is that he will never make it to the Hall of Fame if (a) he is found guilty of lying to Congress, or (b) he is found to have used performing enhancing drugs. Either way, he will never survive the voter’s fury when or if his name is put on the ballot for the Hall of Fame.
Finally, we discuss the great Pete Rose. His gambling and his defiance were his downfalls. Yes, it is posted in every clubhouse thru major league baseball, that gambling is forbidden. Yes, he knew that he should never bet on baseball, but he did and he paid the consequences. He agreed to be permanently ineligible from baseball. However, when this ban was instated, the Baseball Hall of Fame formally voted to ban those on the “permanently ineligible” list from induction. Previously, those who were banned had been excluded by informal agreement among voters. Conspiracy I don’t know, but as a fan of this great game I am truly sadden by it. I have always felt the Pete deserved to a part of the Hall of Fame simply because he was the best!! Rose is the all-time Major League leader in hits (4,256), games played (3,562), at bats (14,053) and outs (10,328). He won three World Series rings, three batting titles, one MVP award, two Gold Gloves, the Rookie of the Year Award, and made 17 All-Star appearances. How can you keep this guy OUT of the Hall of Fame? Unlike the accusations that have plagued Bonds and Clemens, Rose’s gambling did nothing to improve his game. His statistics are real, and are not inflated by anything other than hard work, and being the one of the best to play the game.
Baseball’s Hall of Fame is a special place. It is a place for those who were the best in this great game of baseball. It’s a place for such greats like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Ted Williams and others. Is it a place for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, or Pete Rose? Time will tell, but for me Pete Rose is the real deal. Nothing enhanced about that!!
Thanks for reading and remember,
Never Strike Out