By Ted Gay – @TedG63
On Wednesday the lords of the Baseball Writers Association of America (to differentiate from the Baseball Writers Association of the Lesser Antilles) voted to elect Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Trevor Hoffman, and Vladimir Guerrero to join Alan Trammell and Jack Morris as members of the Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2018. One wonders if Guerrero got voted in for the same reason Denzel received an Oscar nomination for a movie that no one can publically attest was ever actually released, to keep the hashtag #HallofFamesowhite from trending.
Roger Clemens was again denied entry, along with Barry Bonds, because of their links to steroid use, and the fact that they are as unpopular with the BWA as cholera at the winter meetings.
People have argued ad nauseam over whether the duo should be allowed into the hallowed Hall after shaming the sport by using steroids or, as it is called in the NFL, being a gamer.
We should be able to separate Roger Clemens MLB player from Boston Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens because Boston Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Over his 12 year career Boston Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens won 192 games, stuck out 2,590 batters, posted an ERA of 3.06, had a 1.16 WHIP, gave Red Sox fans their first genuinely electric moment in eight years by striking out 20 Seattle Mariners in 1986, lead the Red Sox to the World Series that year, walked off the mound in Game Six of the World Series with the lead and the Sox two innings away from a championship, was the most dominant pitcher of his era, and ended his career with another 20 strikeout game.
If Boston Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens had walked away from the game in 1996, he would be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. His strikeouts and wins outstrip Pedro Martinez. Cooperstown is filled with monuments to lesser hurlers. But Clemens made a decision in ‘96 which changed his life irrevocably.
No, it wasn’t his decision to leave the Red Sox and join the Toronto Blue Jays so that he could play closer to his home in Houston. He decided to work heel.
There is a long list of Hall of Famers who worked heel their entire life: Ty Cobb, Reggie Jackson, Rickey Henderson, Robbie Alomar, Ted Williams among others. But Roger Clemens was the first player to switch from face to heel mid-career.
He was no longer the hard working kid from Texas who carried a decrypt organization on his back. He was a money hungry missionary who would run his grandmother over for a buck. To further the heel turn he began taking steroids. To complete the transition he joined the Yankees in a one-sided trade for David Wells and Homer Bush (who, at the time, I thought wasn’t a player but just an epitaph Red Sox fans used to describe MLB orchestrating Clemens’ move to the Yankees).
Roger Clemens career followed the same trajectory as Hulk Hogan’s. Both began their careers as beloved heroes. Both made their famous heel turns in ‘96. Both took steroids to advance their fading careers. Both used a bat to try to injure their biggest rival (Clemens: Mike Piazza, Hogan: Sting). Both had the biggest matches of their post heel turn career (Clemens vs. Martinez in Game 3 of 2003 ALCS; Hogan vs. Sting in 1997 Starcade) overshadowed by the interference of stumbling old men (Don Zimmer and Bret Hart). Both had sex scandals. Both had lukewarm receptions to their eventual face turns (Hogan vs. Rock; Clemens joins the Astros). Both make us feel sad when their tired, wrinkled bodies pop up in the news.
Nothing after the heel turn should affect Boston Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens’ Hall of Fame candidacy. His numbers and reputation remain sterling.
If Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council can give President Donald Trump a mulligan for having an affair with Stormy Daniels can’t the BBWA give Boston Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens a mulligan for what occurred after 1996?
Some blog writer in the steel city can make a case for Pittsburgh Pirate Outfielder Barry Bonds.
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