BOSTON — When Pedro Martinez looks at Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds — two symbols, fairly or unfairly, of Major League Baseball’s Steroid Era — he sees Hall of Famers.
Clemens and Bonds, both of whom have been the subject of performance-enhancing drug allegations, fell short in their first two years on baseball’s Hall of Fame ballot. Martinez, who was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame alongside Clemens on Thursday at Fenway Park, thinks that might change in time.
“I think Roger, with all due respect to everybody that votes, I’ll have to say Roger and Barry Bonds are two guys that I think had enough numbers before anything came out to actually earn a spot in the Hall of Fame,” Martinez said Thursday. “I’m not quite sure 100 percent how close they will be before all the things came out, but in my heart, if you asked me before any of that, I would’ve said, ‘Yes, 100 percent’ without looking back.”
Candidates must receive 75 percent of the vote to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Clemens earned 37.6 percent in 2013 and 35.4 percent in 2014, while Bonds earned 36.2 percent in 2013 and 34.7 percent in 2014. The two aren’t exactly knocking on Cooperstown’s door despite an impressive trophy collection.
Clemens, who won 354 games in his pitching career, earned 11 All-Star selections. He won seven Cy Young awards, seven ERA titles, five strikeout crowns and two World Series. The Rocket was the predominant power pitcher of his generation.
Bonds, baseball’s career (762) and single-season (873) home run record holder, earned 14 All-Star selections. He won 12 Silver Sluggers, seven MVP awards and eight Gold Gloves. The former outfielder was considered one of baseball’s best all-around players long before establishing himself as a pure power hitter.
“It wasn’t just the individual performances. (It was) how they dominated the time that they came up and stayed in the big leagues until those things happened,” Martinez said. “I believe they have a legit chance (to make the Hall of Fame), and I think, with time, the voters will take into consideration what they did previously.”
Clemens and Bonds certainly face an uphill climb in their respective Hall of Fame candidacies. Time tends to heal wounds, though, so perhaps, as Pedro suggests, the voters ultimately will change course.
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