Does Roger Clemens deserve to be in Cooperstown?
Earlier this week, one of my baseball heroes was acquitted of perjury charges in Washington D.C. He faced these charges because a Senate Hearing Committee in Washington a couple years ago did not believe Roger when he told them he did not knowingly take steroids or Human Growth Hormone. Both which are now banned substances in Major League Baseball.
You can't blame them. Most of the planet who follows baseball didn't believe Roger. He was a great baseball pitcher in an era of great players, all of whom in one form or another have now admitted that they cheated to get ahead. Roger Clemons stood his ground though.
When The Rocket signed with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1997, I was elated. As a Jays fan, it meant that my team had a legitimate shot at a playoff run. Sadly it never materialized. But Roger was on top of his game. He won the CY Young award both years he was in Toronto and just as quickly as he appeared... He was gone. He was traded to the Yankees in 1999 and hoped to win his elusive World Series. He eventually did win in New York... twice. I had the chance to actually meet my baseball hero in a Toronto bar back in 1999 when I just happened to be invited to sit with him and some Blue Jays trainers who remained friends with Roger after he left T.O. I asked him what happened in Toronto and He said to me that he just wanted to win. He didn't think it would happen in Toronto and he asked to be traded to the Yankees. I thanked him for his honesty (and for buying me a Rye & Ginger) and wished him well in New York.
He struck me as a guy who would do anything to win. So it was no surprise to me that he was thought of as a cheater and was being accused of using performance enhancing drugs. I believe he used them. And for that alone he will probably never make it in to the Hall Of Fame. However, he has now been cleared twice by a jury of his peers for lying to Congress about cheating in baseball and you have to start asking yourself - "at what point do we let this go?".
Did Roger Clemens use drugs to prolong his MLB career? That question has been answered by the legal system. Roger (I believe) is owed his due. Put him on the ballot and let history (and the baseball writers) decide his fate. If he cheated, Roger is now the only one left who has to live with that shame.
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