The Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown NY is quite the place. I've been there seen the hall, all the historic exhibits from Larson's Perfect Game ball to the dreaded bloody sock. One thing I didn't like was thinking that the greatest player in my lifetime might not end up there. The greatest player from a generation before me may never be enshrined and one of the greatest pitchers I have ever seen may never be immortalized in the hall.
Who am I speaking of? Barry Bonds, Pete Rose, and Roger Clemens of course. Pete Rose, love him or hate him, had to impress you in his career. The man was a winner, period. The all-time hit king, 17 time all-star, two time gold glover, nl MVP, World Series MVP, and member of three world series champion teams.
Does that sound like an average player or does that sound like someone that only six or seven infallible sports writers would not vote for on the first hall ballot?
Next up, Barry Bonds, one of the greatest players ever, no arguement. Bonds put up numbers that only have one word to describe them, Ruthian. As in Babe Ruth. Bonds is a 14 time all-star, eight time Gold glover, MLB record seven time MVP winner, all-time home run king, all-time leader in walks, 5th all-time in career Slugging percentage (behind Ruth, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, and Jimmy Foxx), 29th All-time in Stolen Bases, and a mere 65 hits away from the 3000 mark.
Steroids or no steroids, these numbers are amazing. He also is fourth all-time in Total bases, and RBI, he holds the single season record for slugging percentage with .863, and the major league record for HR's in a season with 76. He also had an OBP over .500 four years in a row and is the only major league player in history to have 500 HR's and 500 SB's. Yet he too sadly may never end up in the hall.
Finally, that brings me to Roger Clemens. Roger has been an all-star 11 times, a cy young winner a MLB record seven times, an AL MVP, an All-star MVP, ninth most wins of all-time (3rd most since 1930), third all-time in strike outs, two time world series winner, and a 3.12 ERA lifetime. He tragically may not make it into the Hall.
So, what does it really mean to be in the hall of fame if three obvious all-time greats may never get to enjoy the idea of being a hall of famer. In the hall of records their names are there but, unless the finicky sports writers see bonds and clemens for the greats that they are they may very well join Pete Rose in hall of fame limbo.
Rules are rules, and these gentlemen definitely didn't win any character points for integrity, but the truth is that Bond's and Clemen's have never been proved guilty of anything. They have never tested positive for anything and remain in the eye's of the law innocent until proven guilty.
Let us not forget however, another hall of fame member Ed Walsh, an infamous spit-baller. Spit balls were seen to give the pitchers and unfair advantage and were then later outlawed, sounds almost like a performance enhancer.