Yes, it is time for baseball to show clemency, or mercy, for Roger Clemens. Its endless inquisition into the man’s past offers no gain. Oh wait, it isn’t baseball that is leading the crusade against the Rocket: that has been Congress. How could this possibly be a priority? With all of the problems in this country, they view Roger Clemens’ methods of preparation as an important subject to be looked into?
Unfortunately, the media has received the impression that fans care about PEDs. They don’t. We don’t. I don’t. And as my continued protest against the holier-than-thou baseball writers, I present Clemency for Roger Clemens: If This Doesn’t Get You Into The Hall Of Fame, Than It’s Not A Hall Of Fame.
For those of you who think this matters, he has 354 wins. For those of you who think this matters, he has 7 Cy Youngs. For those of you who think this matters, he led the league in pitcher WAR 7 times. Really, this guy has an open-and-shut Hall case no matter what criteria you use. He appeals to those who appreciate longevity, yet he has the some of the best individual seasons in recent memory. He was the best pitcher in baseball at one point, yet his prime lasted for over a decade. He is amazing.
For those sabremetrically inclined, he has plenty going for him, as well. Since 1980, 6 pitchers have recorded 290 strikeouts or more in a season; Clemens has done it twice. Since 1980, 6 pitchers have had multiple seasons of 6.5 hits per 9 innings or fewer; he has done it three times. Since 1980, only Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux, and Roger Clemens have had multiple seasons of an ERA+ above 200. Since 1980, just Pedro, Dwight Gooden, and Clemens have posted 10 WAR or more.
Roger Clemens is second to just Cy Young in WAR for pitchers for his career. His 128.4 is 22% better than the 2nd place live-ball pitcher, Tom Seaver at 105.3. He is 9th in career ERA+, 3rd in career strikeouts, has the second-best career ERA+ in the live ball era (to Pedro Martinez), and has the most shutouts in the last 30 years. The list goes on and on.
I love watching good baseball- period. Some crotchety old fogeys with BBWAA credentials will try to remove the fun and entertainment provided by Roger Clemens; don’t let them. He had a once in a generation career, and we got to see it. I’m not letting them ruin my enjoyment of Clemens’ awe-inspiring career, and I hope that you don’t let them, either.