Debate: Will Former Yankees Pitcher Roger Clemens Get into Cooperstown?

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IJune 19, 2012

TORONTO - AUGUST 7:  Roger Clemens #22 of the New York Yankees leaves the field after hitting Alex Rios #15 of the Toronto Blue Jays with a pitch on August 7, 2007 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
Dave Sandford/Getty Images

On Monday, the announcement came that Roger Clemens was found not guilty on all six counts of perjury charges.

Clemens has been under investigation and on trial for lying to the government back in February 2008 about taking performance-enhancing drugs during his career.

The government based a lot of their case on Clemens' former trainer Brian McNamee, who had testified that he gave Clemens steroids and HGH from 1998-2001. Clemens' team of lawyers worked very hard to discredit McNamee as a witness because "he kept changing his story."

Now that Clemens has been found not guilty and will not be going to prison, the real debate on Clemens' future can begin.

"The Rocket" hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since 2007 and while he hasn't officially retired from baseball, he hasn't been active either, which means he will be eligible for the Hall of Fame very soon.

His resume alone speaks for itself.

During Clemens' 24-year career, he won seven Cy Young Awards—three with the Boston Red Sox, two with the Toronto Blue Jays, one with the New York Yankees and one with the Houston Astros.

He won the 1986 American League MVP Award, posting a 24-4 record with a 2.48 ERA.

He has a career 354-184 record; Clemens ranks ninth all time with his 354 wins and is only one of 24 players to ever record 300 wins.

Clemens won two World Series with the Yankees in 1999 and 2000 and pitched in two others for the Red Sox in 1986 and the Astros in 2005.

Clemens has 4,672 career strikeouts, which ranks third all-time; only Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson have more strikeouts than Clemens.

During his career, Clemens won 20 games in a season six times and won 18 games four times.

He has had one of the most dominant careers by a professional pitcher and before December of 2007, he was a shoo-in for Cooperstown.

And then on Thursday, December 13, 2007, everything changed for Clemens.

The Mitchell Report was released, a report conducted by U.S. Senator George Mitchell uncovering many prominent baseball players who allegedly took performance-enhancing drugs with Clemens as the top name in the report.

Clemens has denied ever taking steroids or HGH despite his former trainer McNamee's claims; he has been criticized and scrutinized by the media and the public ever since.

That's when the federal government got involved in the situation as Clemens testified in front of Congress back on February 13, 2008 that he never took performance-enhancing drugs.

That's when they tried to prosecute Clemens for lying in his testimony, which has now failed not once, but twice; the first time ended in a mistrial last year.

And now, he's been acquitted in court, but the damage has been done. His reputation has been tarnished and destroyed and who knows if he will ever be able to recover from it.

22 Oct 2000: Starting pitcher #22 Roger Clemens of the New York Yankees celebrates getting out of the fifth inning against the New York Mets during Game 2 of the MLB World Series at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York. <DIGITAL IMAGE> Mandatory Credit:
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

After everything that Clemens has gone through over the last four and half years, can he still get inducted into Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame?

The past has not been kind to players who have been tied to steroid allegations; as Mark McGwire has yet to be inducted since becoming eligible in 2005 due to his ties to steroids.

Will the baseball writers look past Clemens and the steroid allegations and vote him into the Hall? Or will they shun him, just like they have McGwire?

And now I will turn the debate over to you, the public. Should Clemens get into the Hall of Fame?

Only time will tell.


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