Baseball Hall of Fame: Writers wrong; it’s time for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling

Roger Clemens, then with the Toronto Blue Jays (Photo by CARLO ALLEGRI/AFP via Getty Images)
Roger Clemens, then with the Toronto Blue Jays (Photo by CARLO ALLEGRI/AFP via Getty Images) /

Enough. It’s utterly ridiculous the Baseball Writers’ Association of America once again couldn’t muster enough support to elect three no-doubt selections for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The baseball writers have their heads firmly lodged up their rear ends. I have to keep my language rated-PG for this website, but I would use more colorful language if we were talking on the back porch.

The inductees for the Baseball Hall of Fame – or lack thereof – were announced Tuesday and not a single player on the ballot received the required 75 percent of the vote from the BBWAA. Three of the most notable players on the ballot: home-run king Barry Bonds, seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens and postseason bulldog Curt Schilling.

Frankly, their credentials speak for themselves. The statistics stand at a podium and project a thunderous, captivating and unmistakable message. However, the baseball writers overlook this message due to personal prejudice. And it’s time the writers are held accountable.

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If you’re any kind of a baseball fan, you know the backstory. You know why Bonds, Clemens and Schilling are standing on the outside of the Baseball Hall of Fame and peering in with a slight glimmer of hope.

Baseball Hall of Fame voters punishing Barry Bonds

Barry Bonds hasn’t been inducted because he’s been accused of transforming his physique with a vial of human growth hormone. No matter how many times Bonds denies it, he went from a marathon runner’s physique to a bodybuilder’s physique, from a beanpole to Mr. Olympia.

It seems his head – and his ego – doubled in size, along with every other muscle in his body. His shoulders bulged through the top of his jersey, his quads stretched the seams of his pants, and home runs rocketed off his bat.

Regardless of whether he used steroids, there’s no question he deserves to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He had hall of fame-level stats before his suspected steroid use. His transformation came around 1998. If you analyze the first 11 years of his career – from 1987-98 – he hit .294 with 358 home runs.

We all know what happened after 1998: he set the single-season home run record with 73 in 2001 and walloped his way to the all-time home run record with 762.

His suspected PED use doesn’t detract from his home run record. Juicing doesn’t automatically make you a slugger. Believe it or not, you actually have to be a good hitter – and Bonds might’ve been the best hitter ever. If taking steroids was all it took to be an MLB slugger, then every bodybuilder on the planet could step into the box and hit moonshots. But that’s not the case.

Bonds’ mere presence in the batter’s box made pitchers quiver with fear. He lived in their heads. He gave them nightmares. He was an intentional walk waiting to happen. Bonds averaged a jaw-dropping 174 walks between 2000-04 – the ultimate sign of respect.

The bottom line: Bonds was a career .298 hitter and the all-time home run king. No matter how you feel about his suspected PED use, you can’t keep him – or his statistics – out of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Baseball Hall of Fame: The cloud around Roger Clemens

The same goes for Roger Clemens, who, just like Bonds, has an ominous cloud of PED accusations hovering overhead. Both Clemens and Bonds were mentioned in the Mitchell Report – a 409-page report published by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine), who spent 20 months investigating steroid use in baseball.

In the report, Clemens’ former trainer, Brian McNamee, claims he injected Clemens with steroids on numerous different occasions from 1998-2001.

Clemens vehemently denied the accusations – and still does to this day. He denied them before a grand jury in 2008 and was charged with perjury. But he was acquitted of the charges in 2012.

And why was he acquitted? Because the prosecutor couldn’t prove Clemens used steroids. He was accused many times by many different people. But it was never proven that Clemens used steroids. Suspected, yes, but never proven.

I’m not convinced Clemens used steroids. Clemens never underwent massive physical change. He was always a large, husky guy. He didn’t look like a freak of nature. He certainly didn’t sport the superhuman physique of someone on steroids.

But, just for argument’s sake, let’s say Clemens did use steroids. Even in that case, he still deserves a plaque in Cooperstown. He’s the best pitcher of all time, bar none. The stats back it up. He won seven Cy Young awards, more than any other pitcher.

He ranks third all-time in strikeouts with 4,672, just behind Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson. He ranks ninth all-time in wins with 354. He posted a rock-solid career ERA of 3.12. He was the Tom Brady of Major League Baseball. He won the Cy Young in 2004 and arguably should’ve won in 2005, when he posted a 7.6 WAR and 1.87 ERA – at age 43!

Beyond the statistics, beyond the spreadsheets, Clemens terrorized batters with a menacing scowl and overpowering stuff. He glared in towards the batter’s box and challenged hitters with mid-to-upper 90s fastballs.

He induced flailing swings with a prototypical splitter, a pitch that cloned his fastball until it didn’t. A pitch that started off thigh-high and plunged into the dirt at the last second. The type of pitch that makes many Hall of Fame-level pitchers great.

Not electing Clemens into the Hall of Fame because of steroids suspicions – we’re talking about suspicions here, not proof – is a disgrace to the game. It’s hogwash, in every sense of the word.

Baseball Hall of Fame: Politics aside, Curt Schilling should be in

It’s also a disgrace that the baseball writers won’t induct Curt Schilling. And it’s not because of steroid accusations. It’s because of politics. Schilling has made controversial comments on Twitter expressing his personal beliefs and political views, which some find offensive and politically unacceptable.

However, baseball writers are using his politics to disqualify him from the Baseball Hall of Fame.

This is baseball, right? Just baseball? Politics and personal beliefs have absolutely nothing to do with baseball.

Denying Schilling entrance into the Baseball Hall of Fame because of his political beliefs is a travesty. It’s unconscionable. The only thing that should matter when evaluating a player’s Hall of Fame candidacy is his on-field performance. His statistics. And Schilling’s statistics are more than Hall of Fame-worthy.

He struck out 300 batters in a season three times – 1997, 1998 and 2002. He finished his 20-year career with a stellar 3.46 ERA. He was tougher than an overcooked piece of chicken. He led the Arizona Diamondbacks to a World Series Championship in 2001, sharing World Series MVP honors with Randy Johnson.

He famously pitched Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS with a torn tendon sheath in his right ankle, throwing seven brilliant innings against the New York Yankees, allowing just one run, with blood oozing from his right ankle nearly the entire game.

Hall of Fame's doleful 2020. dark. Next

2022 will be the last year Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling are on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. Time is running out. When baseball writers receive a chance to vote next year, they’d better get it right. Otherwise, they threaten the legitimacy of the Hall of Fame.