Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens Shouldn’t Get into Cooperstown Without a Ticket

MLB: Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giants

On January 22nd, baseball will announce the official results for this year’s Hall of Fame voting. That means once again, the issue of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) and the players who used them to cheat will be making headlines. The question gets asked every January: should players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. While they seem to get a few more votes each year, the answer should remain a firm “No” for both players.

The criteria for election to Cooperstown is clear. It reads:

“Voting shall be based on a player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which he played.”

Based on these criteria, Bonds and Clemens don’t make the grade. Sure, their playing ability is unquestioned but after that they run into trouble. They certainly don’t meet the integrity, sportsmanship and character criteria under any circumstances. These two players cheated and there is overwhelming evidence to back that up.

These players used PEDs to turn back the clock and achieve unheard of statistics later in their careers when their bodies naturally should have been slowing down. They used substances that were illegal under state and federal law and therefore not permitted in baseball even if the CBA didn’t specifically test for them at that time.

As for their records, sure, Bonds hit more home runs officially than anybody who ever played the game, but a lot of those home runs are tainted, clearly aided by his use of performance enhancing drugs. The same can be said for so many of Clemens wins and strikeouts.

By taking steroids, Bonds and Clemens cheated their fellow players, cheated the game and cheated the fans.

Because they cheated, comparing Bonds’ home runs to Hank Aaron’s or Babe Ruth’s is simply unfair. We will never know precisely how many of Bonds’ homers are tainted or how many of Clemens’ strikeouts or wins, but we know the amount is not insignificant. If somebody sets a record for the fastest marathon time ever but it was later revealed that he took a taxi cab for even two of the 26.2 miles, he doesn’t deserve the record because he didn’t earn it fairly. The same is true for Bonds and Clemens and the other steroid cheats out there.

The crazy thing is, Bonds and Clemens had a way out of this. Sports fans tend to be a forgiving bunch as long as people are honestly contrite. Everyone makes mistakes and America loves a good underdog/comeback story. But instead of admitting a past mistake and asking for forgiveness and a fresh start, Bonds and Clemens remained arrogant and continued to lie despite the overwhelming evidence against then at their respective trials and in the book “Game of Shadows” which thoroughly spelled out Bonds’ steroid history and regimen. The attitude was simply that the rules don’t apply to me and that’s just flat out wrong.

Sure, Bonds and Clemens weren’t the only ones who cheated. The abuse was widespread during the so-called “Steroid Era” and the powers that be looked the other way for too long because the juiced home runs and the pursuit of previously unattainable records kept the turnstiles clicking.

But the fact that so many people were doing it doesn’t make it right or excusable. Bonds and Clemens got caught cheating the game they claim to love, and they should pay the price for their actions.

It is likely that there already is a player in the Hall of Fame who used PEDs and there will likely be one or more in the future. But this group should include only players whose abuse was discovered after their election to the Hall. To knowingly admit players who cheated the game deliberately and repeatedly and without remorse is not fair to the game and to the players who did things the right way for so many years instead of taking illegal shortcuts.

Bonds and Clemens put up Hall of Fame numbers, but they are not Hall of Fame worthy players or people. They do not deserve induction into baseball’s hallowed hall.


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