Baseball Hall of Fame

If Roger Clemens Is Acquitted, Will He Be Voted into the Hall of Fame?

WASHINGTON - MAY 14: Former major league baseball pitcher Roger Clemens (C) signs an autograph after appearing in federal court for his perjury and obstruction trial on May 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. Clemens' former strength trainer Brian McNamee testified against Clemens as early as today. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images
Christopher BenvieCorrespondent IIJune 6, 2012

It what may seem like an endless trial, the case against Roger Clemens appears to be dwindling down to an end. 

Clemens' defense attorney Rusty Hardin called forensic toxicologist Bruce Goldberg to the stand, where he questioned the evidence against Clemens, stating: ''The weight of the evidence in this case is lacking because of the potential for contamination."

As Clemens former strength coach and personal trainer, Brian McNamee, a key witness for the prosecution, had previously testified that he injected Clemens with performance-enhancing drugs in 1998, 2000 and 2001 and saved the needle and other waste from a steroids injection in 2001.

McNamee says he put the evidence in beer can and stored it for more than six years in a box in his house.

Goldberg called to question the handling and potential for contamination of the evidence as it was stored in McNamee's home, at his lawyers office and in several labs, stating ''all of that compromises the integrity and reliability of the evidence."

This is a significant blow to the government's case against Clemens.

The question then becomes, with the Hall of Fame ballots coming out soon, if acquitted, would Clemens stand a chance at being elected, moreover, elected on his first ballot appearance?

One tends to think that the Baseball Writers of America would sentence Clemens in their own right by not allowing him to be honored in the Hall.

However, truth be told, Clemens would be clean insofar as the rules of baseball go and only guilty in the court of public opinion.

Do the writers have the right to keep arguably the greatest pitcher of his generation, possibly the greatest pitcher of all time, out of the Hall of Fame?

Clemens accolades—seven Cy Young Awards, 11 All-Star game appearances, 1986 AL MVP, two-time triple-crown winner, 354 career wins, 4,672 career strikeouts...You get the point—make him an otherwise easy choice for the Hall.

It all boils down to the writers and their respective feelings on Clemens the man and not focus on Clemens the ballplayer.

Players are not enshrined in Cooperstown because of their strong moral fiber. If that were the case, the Hall would be just about empty. Why then should today's BBWA be allowed to deny Clemens entrance if he's been found guilty of no crime?

The bottom line is this: If acquitted, Roger Clemens deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

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