One guy has seven MVP's and the other has seven Cy Young's; between the two of them they face 17 felony charges for lying in federal court about their involvement with steroids. But I'm not here to discuss the legal issues that Bonds and Clemens face, my question is what is baseball going to do about cases like this particularly when it pertains to the Hall of Fame and the record books.
For all intensive purposes you could argue that Bonds is the greatest hitter who has ever swung a bat and that Clemens is the greatest pitcher to ever stand on the mound, the numbers say so (and we all know how baseball measures greatness by statistics more so than any other sports). Before you argue with me, allow me to point out how dominant both of them were during their era.
Clemens has 354 career wins which puts him 9th on the all time list. Only two of the eight in front of him were born after 1900, and those guys are Warren Spahn and Greg Maddux (Maddux 355 wins and Spahn 363). He is third all time in strikeouts trailing only Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson. The Rocket has been on six different teams that have played in the World Series and has two championship rings to show for it. Clemens has also won 7 Cy Young's, which is more than any other player. That's a pretty impressive resume for a guy that might not get into the Hall of Fame.
Now I'll try and do my best to explain how ridiculous Barry Bonds' career was because I could go on for days. I'll start with the easy stuff first. Bonds has won 7 MVP awards, nobody else has more than three (he also finished second twice). We all know that Bonds has the most career round trippers at 762, and he holds the single season mark at 73. He has been walked more than any other player who has ever played the game. He led the league in walks 12 times in his career. In 2004 Bonds was walked 232 times and 120 of those walks were intentional; he saw 45 pitches that year and he hit them all over the fence. Do you realize how crazy that is? Albert Pujols has walked over 100 times only twice in his career (115 walks is his career high); Bonds did that 14 times in his career. I've seen Bonds get intentionally walked with the bases loaded, no joke. Do you remember when ESPN would stop whatever was on to show you a Barry Bonds at bat? He was that good. There is no doubt that Barry Bonds was the most dangerous hitter anyone has ever seen. Nobody else really even comes close.
With all that being said, baseball faces a major dilemma. Both Clemens and Bonds have been linked to steroid use. Have they been proven gulity of anything? No, at least not yet. But no matter how their court hearings turn out; the two of them will forever leave a black mark on baseball, and my question is what baseball is going to do with these two.
Are the Hall of Fame voters going to keep Clemens and Bonds out of the Hall of Fame? We've seen how they've treated McGwire, but Bonds and Clemens' careers are far more impressive. If they let them in does that mean other steroid users (A-Rod comes to mind) are going to get into the Hall of Fame? Does baseball let Pete Rose become eligible for the Hall of Fame simply because everyone else was cheating.... that might be a stretch, but you see my point. It will be very interesting to see how the baseball community deals with Clemens and Bonds over the next couple of years because I don't think people are going to stop talking about them anytime soon.