Shane Rich, Staff Writer
As a new set of inductees swing their way into the Hall of Fame this year, the controversy over whether players such as Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens should be inducted is stirring. Should they be taken more seriously in this vote, or do they deserve to strike out?
The MLB Hall of Fame requires a player to get at least 317 votes in favor (a total of 75 percent of the voter’s support per ESPN.com article Baseball Hall of Fame adds four new members) to be inducted. This year’s graduating class consists of former Braves 3B Chipper Jones, Expos/Angels DH Vladimir Guerrero, Padres RP Trevor Hoffman, Twins 1B/3B Jim Thome, Tigers SS Alan Trammell and SP Jack Morris. Trammell and Morris were inducted through the Modern Baseball Era Ballot, while others were through the Baseball Writers Association of America Ballot.
Shifting focus back on to Bonds and Clemens, Bonds had a total of 238 votes (56.4 percent) and Clemens with 242 votes (57.3 percent) in this year’s vote. Players who were inducted such as Jones and Thome has 97.2 and 89.8 percent of the vote respectively. The former non-steroid using Mariners DH Edgar Martinez also got 70.4 percent of the vote to be inducted this year, which was only 4.6 percent away from induction. (Baseball Hall of fame adds four new members)
Due to his clean track record, Martinez deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame before Clemens or Bonds. Otherwise, Bonds and Clemens were on a level of dominance during their time of play that is Hall of Fame worthy, but the use of performance-enhancing drugs still pose an issue.
When a player takes a performance-enhancing drug as Bonds and Clemens did throughout their careers, this gives them a clear advantage over their competitors. However, if they did not run into this issue of steroid use, they would be first-year inductees in my book.
It is a shame that Bonds especially holds the record for most home runs in a single season (73), most career home runs (762) and the most walks (2558) and hasn’t been inducted because of his steroid use. It is also a disappointment that Clemens with his 7 Cy Young’s and 1 MVP award hasn’t been inducted for the same reason. Both players are tainted by their history and would have been an easy choice for the Hall of Fame if no steroids were taken.
Even without the drugs, Bonds and Clemens would have been Hall of Fame worthy players. People make mistakes, ones that they definitely regret. To hold all of Bonds and Clemens mistakes against them and prevent their induction to the Hall of Fame would be unfair.
These record-breaking baseball legends do deserve their spot in Cooperstown along with those who were inducted this year, but not at the expense of clean players who deserve to be elected as well. Ultimately, if the election of Bonds or Clemens prevented players like Edgar Martinez or another baseball great with a clean track record from being inducted, I would say that is unjust. If not, I see no issue with voting in two of the greatest baseball players the world has ever seen.
Edited by Brendan Shriver