Tuesday night, the 2022 National Baseball Hall of Fame class was announced, and two historic names were left off of the ballot for the 10th and final time.
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens failed to garner the necessary 75% of the votes in order to be elected, officially ending their chances of being elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America members.
With Bonds and Clemens not admitted to the halls of Cooperstown, the Baseball Hall of Fame now does not contain the game’s all-time hits leader (Pete Rose), the home run king (Bonds), and the pitcher with the most CY Young awards (Clemens).
It begs the question: What is the point of the National Baseball Hall of Fame?
The Hall is supposed to be the collection of the game’s greatest players, individuals who contributed to the game at an historic level. It’s a place where fans of the games can go in order to honor the accomplishments of the players who had a large impact on the game of baseball.
Whatever your thoughts on Bonds and Clemens, you cannot deny their impact on the game of baseball. Both are sure-fire Hall of Famers, whether they cheated in order to gain an advantage or not.
Clemens is ninth all-time in wins (354), third in strikeouts (4,672), and had a .658 career winning percentage.
Bonds is the all-time leader in home runs in a career (762) and the home run king for a single season (73). He was also a career .298 hitter, is the all-time leader in walks (2558), and had an absurd .444 career on base percentage. For nearly two decades, Bonds was must-watch television.
Neither player failed a drug test or were suspended for PEDs in their careers, but Clemens is named in the Mitchell Report, and Bonds is implicated in the BALCO scandal.
But baseball has decided that its Hall of Fame should not include two of the greatest players to play the game, even as stories of cheating litter the history of the game.
The wide availability of “greenies” — amphetamines — in clubhouses back in the day are well known, and the Houston Astros were caught using video in order to steal signs during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Has any player been denied the Hall of Fame due to these infractions? Nope, though we won’t know for a few years how the Astros cheating scandal will impact Hall of Fame voting. But for baseball, more specifically the Baseball Writers’ Association of America members, steroids are apparently where we draw the line.
The more important point, is that the man who presided over the steroid era in baseball — Bud Selig — is in the Hall of Fame. The man who ran the league while hundreds of players ballooned to cartoonish sizes in front of their eyes, while the league turned a blind eye, is in Cooperstown.
Additionally, David Ortiz was selected as a first ballot Hall of Famer on Tuesday, and actually tested positive in an anonymous survey test in 2003.
I’m not saying what Bonds and Clemens are alleged to have done is right. What I am saying is that you cannot have a Hall of Fame without two of the best baseball players in the 100+ year history of the game, and you can’t deem steroids as the only type of cheating that will keep you out of the Hall.
Put an asterisk next to their names or put their plaques in a separate room. It’s ok to note the suspicions around Clemens and Bonds while still recognizing their greatness.
Baseball continues to stick their foot in their mouth, because without Bonds and Clemens, Cooperstown doesn’t carry much weight.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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