I'm sitting at my desk in the middle of the CSNNE newsroom, listening to my colleague, Felga, pontificate about the Red Sox allowing cheaters like Roger Clemens into their Hall of Fame.
Overall, I agree with Mike about Clemens. The late, great Will McDonough was right when he labeled the Rocket “The Texas Con-Man.” So please understand: For the purposes of this discussion, I'm talking pure baseball. Judging a player’s morals is dangerous territory, because do we really know how moral or immoral a particular player is?
But when it comes to pure baseball, Roger Clemens certainly belongs in the Red Sox Hall of Fame. As a matter of fact, I think he belongs in Cooperstown. But focus on the Red Sox enshrinement.
He won 192 games with the Red Sox and was their first ace since they lost Luis Tiant to the Yankees in 1979. Roger was the reason to watch every fifth day, much the way Pedro Martinez was after Roger bolted for Toronto.
In Boston, Clemens won 20 games three times, 18 three others and put three Cy Young Awards on his mantle. He set the single-game strikeout record at 20 in 1986, and then tied the record 10 years later just before he left town.
But the statistic that blew me away when I re-acquainted myself with Roger’s numbers was innings pitched. In 7 of his 13 years here, he threw over 240 innings! In 1987, when he won Cy Young number two, he threw 281 innings. In '88 it was 264, and in 1991 it was 271. What a freakin’ horse! Roger was the first pitcher I remember being termed “The Stopper.” He halted countless Red Sox losing streaks from 1984-1996.
Now comes the tricky part. I believe Jose Canseco when he stated that Roger got on the juice in Toronto. Look at the numbers. In his last year in Boston he had a 3.53 ERA. In Toronto during the next season, he lowered it to 2.05 (and won his fourth Cy Young).
Therefore, I choose to believe he was clean in Boston. This is why he should be recognized for what he did while a member of the Red Sox.
Now comes the unpopular part. Since there are no rules regarding performance-enhancing drugs when it comes to voting for baseball’s Hall of Fame, the voters have to make up their own. Which is what I have done.
Would Clemens have reached 353 wins without PEDs? No. But if he averaged 10 wins a season during the 11 years he played after leaving Boston, he still would have had 302 victories. That's a Hall of Fame number.
Look, my argument for Cooperstown is shaky and comes down to my opinion. Blast me for it if you wish. I just think the morals clause for the Baseball Hall of Fame is joke. It's a shrine for baseball players, not Boy Scouts, and that’s why Pete Rose should have been put in a long time ago. But that's another argument for another time.
All I know is, when I saw Roger Clemens in Boston I saw a Hall of Fame pitcher.
Sorry, Mike. I win. What Roger did on the field while he was here is certainly Red Sox Hall of Fame worthy.