Saturday, December 29, 2007

Bonds, Clemens and the HOF Class of 2013

If we assume that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are not going to be offered contracts to continue their baseball careers in 2008 and beyond, both would be eligible for the Hall of Fame Class of 2013.  Can you imagine a single HOF voting result of the past that would even compare in anticipation to the one we might see five years from now?  

Between now and then, of course, we'll know how the government's perjury and obstruction of justice case against Bonds turns out.  We'll know whether he cops a plea to avoid prison time. If he doesn't, we'll know whether he gets convicted, or walks out of court a free man.  And we'll know whether Clemens and his team of lawyers are successful in convincing a serious majority of voters that he is more believable than his former trainer, who told the Mitchell Report that he injected the Rocket with steroids and human growth hormone on several occasions between 1998 and 2001.  

Even if Bonds winds up a felon, and even if Clemens can't escape a tarnished image, they still might make the Hall of Fame, because many otherwise rational voters will subscribe to the theory that both had Hall of Fame careers before their alleged use of steroids began.  My friend, and respected columnist for the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, Lowell Cohn, is one of those voters, as he wrote in his December 27 column.

But on every HOF ballot, Rule 5 states that "voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played."  Integrity, sportsmanship and character.  One could make a very compelling argument that Bonds has failed miserably, on all three counts, that his alleged decade-long use of illegal drugs, and constant lying about it, have disgraced himself, the once-proud name of the Giants franchise and the game itself.  And depending on how much more we learn about Clemens in the months and years to come, he may fall into the very same category.

Last weekend, before my wife, two daughters and I walked into the big tent outside A-T-and-T Park to see Cirque de Soleil, we enjoyed observing the beautiful statues of Hall-of-Famers Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal and Willie Mays.  And we wondered whether a similar statue of Bonds will them in the future.  That may depend on those Hall of Fame voters.   






1 comment:

Capricornsrule said...

The purpose of this post is to make you aware of a grassroots fan
effort to elect former San Francisco 49er's quarterback, John Brodie
into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. John Brodie played with San
Francisco from 1957 to 1973. In this day and time that kind on
longevity alone is a remarkable achievement. When you add to that,
the statistics that he built during his football career, it is
apparent that John should have a place in the Pro Football Hall of
Fame.

During his 17 year career he played 201 games completing 2,469
passes for 31,548 yards and 214 touchdowns. His best season was his
MVP campaign in 1970 where he completed 223 of 378 passes for 2,941
yards and 24 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. In 1965 Brodie threw
for 3,112 yards and 30 touchdowns in 13 games.

As you are probably aware, while watching Monday Night Football on
October 23, 2000, John suffered a massive stroke leaving him with a
lengthy and difficult rehabilitation process that a lesser man might
not have come back from. However, with the same spirit that led him
to persevere throughout his athletic career and the support of his
family, John's resolve to improve and embrace life has stayed strong.

Our group is comprised of fans across the United States and even
Canada. Please visit our web page on John Brodie at
http://johnbrodieforfootballhalloffame.bravehost.com/ where you can
read more about John and sign a petition(
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/johnbrodie/) supporting this
campaign for the enshrinement of John Brodie into the Hall of Fame.
You can also visit a myspace page set up to give more information
regarding John at http://www.myspace.com/johnbrodieenshrinementcam It
is our hope to make the public aware of John Brodie's omission from
the Pro Football Hall of Fame and generate the support of the fans as
well as the football community in encouraging his nomination and
ultimate vote into the Hall of Fame.

We are respectfully requesting any support or publicity that you
would be willing to lend to our efforts to recognize John Brodie for
his contributions to football on the field and off. Thank you so much
for you time and consideration of this request.

The Committee to Elect John Brodie into the Pro Football Hall of Fame