Love them or hate them, Barry Bonds and Rogers Clemens are integral to the history of Major League Baseball.
Neither Bonds nor Clemens were selected for induction into the MLB Hall of Fame on Tuesday night in their final appearance on the writers’ ballot. Although their chances for induction into the Hall are low, they still have a chance and now their fate is in the hands of the Veterans Committee.
Let’s address the elephant in the room right now: steroids.
That’s why the duo weren’t inducted into Hall of Fame. But should they have been? The topic has been hotly debated since the pair were first placed on the ballot 10 years ago but no matter where your opinion lies on the discussion, both Bonds and Clemens are extremely important in MLB history.
Bonds and Clemens are two of the greatest players to step on a baseball diamond. Bonds is the all-time home runs and walks leader and on top of that racked up a league-record seven MVP awards, eight gold gloves, 14 All-Star appearances, 12 Silver Slugger awards and led the league in batting two different times.
Clemens has plenty of records of his own including the most Cy Young awards of all-time with seven and also earned 11 All-Star appearances, an MVP award, seven ERA titles and two Triple Crowns throughout his career.
These are all great accolades and stats and steroids likely played a role, but these two should still be in the Hall of Fame. Even if there was an asterisk on their plagues, these two both impacted the game arguably more than any other and to not have them in the museum doesn’t tell the league’s whole story.
Bonds and Clemens aren’t the only two players to allegedly take a performance enhancing drug but just the poster boys. The league’s testing has certainly grown, but it wasn’t always very in depth. It was a part of the era and frankly the electrifying performances and long balls helped increase baseball’s popularity in the late 90s and early 2000s.
With the amount of steroid use that was running rampant at the time, who knows, there might already be players in there who just avoided detection.
It’s not a perfect science. There’s a wide range of opinions with but steroids or not, you can’t tell the story of baseball from 1985-2007 without Bonds and Clemens, they were baseball. The MLB Hall of Fame is a museum that details the league’s history, without these two in it, it is incomplete.