Friday, December 14, 2007
Hall of Famer voters speak out about Clemens
ESPN.com asked Baseball Hall of Fame voters, "If the election were held today, would you vote for Roger Clemens?'' Here are some of their responses -- pro, con and undecided -- in the aftermath of the Mitchell report:
"Yes, I would vote for him on the first ballot. If, as Brian McNamee says, he started using steroids in 1998, he already had 213 wins, four Cy Youngs and a 3.00 ERA at the time. Without the steroids he wouldn't have won 350 games, but I do think he would have been a double-digit winner for many seasons, boosting his win total close to 300, and he was a dominant pitcher, unlike some other pitchers who might have racked up a lot of wins.''
-- Steve Krasner, Providence Journal
"No way he gets my vote. If you cheat, or even if I highly suspect you do, I'll fight letting you ever get in. Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, it's the same to me. I recognize there will be some players who will probably slip in who used illegal performance-enhancing drugs, but I'll be as consistent as I can.''
-- Steve Dilbeck, Los Angeles Daily News
"I will never vote for anyone associated with steroids on any ballot -- first or 15th. And, if the report is true, I put him in the same category with Barry Bonds, as a person with enormous talent who did not need to cheat.''
-- Hal Bodley, USA Today
"At this point, I would vote for Clemens to go to Cooperstown. I know what is in the Mitchell report, but I wouldn't hold him out of the Hall of Fame until there is stronger evidence against him and more of the story is heard.''
-- Mel Antonen, USA Today
"Yes on Roger Clemens. God forbid we mix the guys rubbing cream on their body with the racists, wife beaters, bat-corkers, adulterers and murder suspects that currently reside in a collection of dust and baseballs that is the Baseball Hall of Fame. It's a freakin' museum, and the last 20 years is a part of that history that was allowed to happen, no matter how badly people want to deny it.''
-- Joe Cowley, Chicago Sun-Times
"I vote yes. I'm to the point now where I'm just assuming that a majority of players over the past 20 years have at least dabbled in steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs, and I don't know if there is any way of knowing definitely who did and didn't. Thus, I'm just looking at everyone and their numbers through the same prism. I don't know if that is the right or wrong thing to do, but that is the only way I can do it in my heart.''
-- John Perrotto, Beaver County (Pa.) Times
"I like to keep three words in mind when I hear of things like this. (Duke, rape, lacrosse.) So the allegations -- which of course is what they are -- don't change my stance on Clemens as a Hall of Fame player. I would vote for him were he on the ballot.''
-- Bill Ballou, Worcester (Mass.) Telegram and Gazette
"I'm leaning toward voting yes. My basic feeling is that this is undeniably an era that will be defined by steroids. Like the deadball era, the stats are skewed by outside factors. Walter Johnson and Cy Young won 30 games a year while Bonds and McGwire had 70-homer seasons. In the end you have to judge players against their contemporaries. And Clemens was the best pitcher of his generation. The fact that steroids appear to have been widespread, in a way, makes it easier to vote for Clemens. His unfair advantage may not have been all that unfair if you look at it that way, because more than half the league may have been juicing.''
John Romano, St. Petersburg Times
"I regard Clemens in the same light as Barry Bonds. Neither one will get my vote. My position is based on ethics, not legality. The evidence is that they cheated; they turned themselves into something they weren't created to be by altering their bodies in a significant, chemical way at a time when baseball players normally wear out instead of getting better. Because of this, their achievements and records are tainted, even though both had careers worthy of first-ballot induction into Cooperstown before they ever began juicing. The Hall of Fame is no place for them.''
-- John Erardi, Cincinnati Enquirer
"I would vote no, now and forever. If I have a reasonable belief that a player cheated, I will not vote him in. Bonds, McGwire, now Clemens
I'm not talking about expunging their records or throwing them out of the game. I just don't have to give them the sport's highest honor.''
-- Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"Undecided. Let's have some consistency. If we draw the line at inducting Mark McGwire, then let's avoid having double standards by giving the free Cooperstown pass to other suspected or alleged drug cheats.''
-- Bernie Miklasz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"I'd vote no. I just finished a column recalling Clemens striking out 15 Mariners in Game 4 of the 2000 ALCS, and how Joe Torre compared him to Bob Gibson in the 1968 World Series against the Tigers. That's bull. Clemens cheated.''
John McGrath, Tacoma News Tribune
"Yes on both Clemens and Bonds for the Hall of Fame. In fairness, both Barry and Roger should be viewed in the same light as hundreds of other guys. Tons of guys were doing something, and they were just the best of a rotten and tainted era. We're singling them out because they set records, but they were hardly alone in this thing.''
Kevin Roberts, Courier Post (South New Jersey)
"No. I did not vote for Mark McGwire and, unless new information emerges in the next few years to change my mind, I intend to withhold my vote from players with known steroid ties or with heavy allegations against them. This is the worst stain on the game since the 1919 Black Sox scandal, and somebody somewhere has to stand up for what's right. Just because baseball failed to do this for far too long doesn't mean the rest of us should give everybody hall passes.''
-- Scott Miller, CBSSportsline.com