Roger Clemens is the most challenging choice of all for me.
I do not believe that using PEDs should keep you out of the Hall of Fame. And I don’t believe that being an average-level jerk should keep you out of the Hall. But, Clemens deserves to the in the Hall of Fame for jerks. He is loathsome.
It isn't like there aren’t other asshats in the Hall of Fame. But, where Barry Bonds had an ego as big as his, post-PEDs, head and likely isn’t someone I would want to have a weekly beer with, his asshat quotient, in my view, is nowhere near Roger’s.
But let’s start with his case for the Hall:
In 24 seasons, Clemens had a 354-184 record, 3.12 ERA in 707 starts, 1580 walks, 4672 strikeouts (3rd all-time) in 4916 innings. He won 20 games in 6 different seasons.
He won 7 Cy Youngs, including two as a Blue Jay. In addition, he won one AL MVP award and played in 11 All-Star games. Baseball Reference has him at a 133 WAR, which is 3rd all-time for pitchers.
Roger may well be the best pitcher of my lifetime (and my kids think that I grew up with dinosaurs in my backyard).
His numbers mark him as a Hall of Fame type, but then he’s one of several on the ballot who used PEDs, which, generally, I don’t think should be a deal-breaker for making the Hall. Clemens, as is his nature, was a particular jerk about it. When they caught him having human growth hormones delivered to his home, he blamed his wife, trying to tell us that they belonged to her. To me, that’s incredibly scummy. A man should be protecting his wife, not throwing her under the bus. I’m trying to imagine my wife’s reaction if I were to blame her for something like that, but then Roger’s wife put up with a ton of insults.
He also lied to congress about it, but who hasn’t lied to congress?
There is no end to the examples of his terribleness, but I’d say that the affair with an under-aged, future country singer, Mindy McCready tops the list. Mindy would go on to have substance abuse problems for the rest of her, far too short, life. She attempted suicide a few times and finally succeeded at age 37. I’m not sure how much of her problems should be traced back to Clemens, but it can’t have helped. Not that it matters, if she was the picture of mental health after, that wouldn’t excuse what he did to her.
There was also the rather bizarre feud with Mike Piazza, which included throwing both a ball and a broken piece of bat at Piazza.
On the face of it, it seems wrong that he’s not in the Hall with 354 wins. But it is Roger Clemens, there is a reason his name is a swear word.
If you want to see Roger’s career numbers, go here.
Would you vote Roger Clemens into the Baseball Hall of Fame?
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