Although I generally use this blog to discuss writing and performing and other elements of my most amazing and astounding career, from time to time other elements of life interrupt. Today is one of those days.
I’m a big baseball fan. Although it may give you a hint as to the direction of the remainder of this blog, I grew up and have always been a massive fan of the San Francisco Giants. Growing up in Santa Cruz, California, the Giants were my home team. I went to my first baseball game at Candlestick Park in 1980 and saw WIllie McCovey hit a pinch-hit sacrifice fly in what would be his final season. I was at the famous 1982 end-of-year Joe Morgan Home Run game. I survived the mid-1980s when the Giants were absolutely horrible. I went to the Dave Dravecky comeback-from-cancer game. I had playoff tickets in 1987.
I was also a fan during the Barry Bonds era. As a Giants fan, it was always fun to know how much everybody hated Barry. We didn’t care. He was our Barry. He rocked. We cheered him no matter how surly he was.
This year marks Barry’s fourth year on the Hall of Fame ballot. Once again, he was not elected, but got enough votes to remain eligible next year. Specifically, he received 44.3% of the vote (a player need 75% to get elected). There is one and only one reason Barry Bonds is not in the Hall of Fame. Steroids. There is ample evidence that he used them. Even most Giants’ fans will admit that. Some Hall of Fame voters cannot get past that.
I understand this line of reasoning. I do not agree with it, but I understand it.
There’s another player in his fourth year of eligibility who did not get in this year. Roger Clemens. He received 45.2% of the vote. He suffers from the same demon which torments Bonds. Steroids.
Here’s the thing. Barry Bonds was the greatest hitter of his generation. Roger Clemens was the greatest pitcher of his generation.
So if you are not voting for them, then you are not voting for them because of steroids. Again, I get it. Again, I disagree.
So how does Clemens gets 45.2% and Barry only 44.3%? It’s not a big difference, probably fewer than 10 votes, but that’s 10 people who chose to vote for Clemens and not Bonds. And there is no world or reality where that is defensible. If you vote for Clemens, then you are saying his PED issues are not a problem. If that’s true, then you have to vote for Bonds, too. It’s really very simple.
PED use is Bad = keep Clemens and Bonds out of the Hall. PED use is forgivable = vote for the GREATEST HITTER AND PITCHER OF THEIR GENERATION, HANDS DOWN.
Barry Bonds’ at bats were Events no matter where the Giants played. Home or away, the lines for beer and hotdogs dwindled when Bonds came to the plate. Managers changed the way they managed the game because of him. One guy actually Intentionally walked Boinds with the bases loaded. That means he purposefully gave the Giants a run because he was afraid Bonds would do something worse. And you know what? It worked. The next batter (catcher Brent Mayne) lined out to center and the Giants lost 9-8. And that was in 1997, which is two years before Bonds supposedly began using steroids. He was already The Man.
If that’s not a Hall of Famer, I don’t know what is.
The same can be said of Clemens. His starts were simply ridiculous. The things he did with a baseball should be outlawed. Like Bonds, he was a Hall of Famer long before he supposedly began using PED.
The funny thing is, I visited Cooperstown a couple years ago. Binds and Clemens are all over it. The only place they aren’t is in the Hall of Plaques. So voters are right now choosing to keep these guys out of that one room.
But they’re already in the Hall of Fame.