Does Roger Clemens belong in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum?
ESPN’s Jay Jaffe on Wednesday named the legendary pitcher as the Boston Red Sox’s best player not in the Hall. Clemens, who pitched for Boston between 1984 and 1996 and retired from Major League Baseball in 2007, would be a Hall of Fame lock if voters hadn’t punished him for his suspected use of performance-enhancing drugs in the latter stages of his career.
“As with Barry Bonds, Clemens’ place among the all-time greats is controversial because of his connections to PEDs and to the much-publicized legal battles he fought post-career,” Jaffe wrote. “Nonetheless, his infractions date to the pre-testing era, and his accomplishments before he is alleged to have begun using PEDs would be enough to get him into Cooperstown. He won an AL MVP award and three of his seven Cy Young awards in his 13 seasons (1984-1996) with the Red Sox while notching more than half of his 354 wins, 4,672 strikeouts and 139.2 WAR there before moving on to Toronto, New York and Houston. In all, he’s got a claim as the best post-World War II pitcher and ranks third in JAWS (102.6) behind only Walter Johnson and Cy Young himself.”
Clemens received 59.5 percent of the vote on the 2019 Hall of Fame ballot, and his total crept up to 61 percent in 2020. He’ll need 75 percent of the vote in order for the Hall of Fame to induct him and he has until 2022 to reach that magic number.
Jaffe picked one player from every team on his “best player not in the Hall” list and he’d struggle to find a more fitting Red Sox representative than Clemens. That almost certainly will remain the case for the next few years.