Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens statistically tower above the others on MLB's 2013 Hall of Fame ballot. From the 1980s and into the 21st century, both were considered among baseball's elite performers, if not the very best of the best.
Bonds is the all-time Home Run King with 762 round trippers while also holding the single-season mark with 73 (in only 476 at bats). Although recognized primarily for his home runs, Bonds has produced staggering numbers in other categories as well.
For his career, Bonds hit .298 with 602 doubles, 1,996 RBI, 2,227 runs scored and 514 stolen bases. He is also the all-time walks leader with 2,558. Bonds won the MVP award a record seven times. In the field, he won eight Gold Gloves.
Clemens (aka The Rocket) was an overpowering starter, winning 354 games while striking out 4,672 batters. He won the Cy Young award a record seven times. A physical fitness guru, Clemens pitched until the age of 45—a rarity for a power pitcher.
Given the astounding accomplishments of these two superstars, it makes sense that they should both gain entrance into MLB's Hall of Fame on their first ballot.
It is likely that some sportswriters will cite Bonds and Clemens' links to steroid usage as reasons to dismiss their Hall of Fame-worthiness. Considering their bodies of work and prolonged periods of dominance before steroids entered the picture, would they be missing the mark?
Absolutely—the two had arguably proven their Hall of Fame-worth with established on-field excellence by the mid-90s. Bonds had already won three MVP awards. Clemens had amassed a record of 192-111 with three Cy Young awards.
Importantly, neither Bonds or Clemens have been proven guilty of steroid usage. The sportswriters must keep that in mind when administering their votes while remembering to look at the big picture.
When the 2013 Hall of Fame entries are announced in January, I believe it can only be complete with Bonds and Clemens heading the class.
Let's hope the voters get it right.