The timing is perfect.
And yes, the time has come, as well.
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens — two of the best to ever wear MLB uniforms — should both be voted to the Baseball Hall of Fame by year’s end.
The official 2021 Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot was released on Monday. And for the first time in a number of years, there wasn’t a shoo-in candidate of the new players added to the list.
There were some names we all know, including Torii Hunter, Tim Hudson, Mark Buehrle and Barry Zito. All had good careers, but none worthy of the Hall of Fame.
Enter Bonds and Clemens — marred stars who should both be in the Hall of Fame already. But their well-documented links to performance-enhancing drugs have derailed their trips to the Hall thus far. Despite neither guy ever testing positive for any banned substances or being suspended by MLB for use, some writers have withheld their votes to the pair.
That should end.
Both men should enter the Hall together, two peas in a pod.
Their plaques should list their incredible accomplishments on the field, but also mention that they were linked to the Steroid Era that rocked the game.
For sure, they got caught up, but were hardly the only ones that indulge.
This year marks their ninth year on the ballot. Last year, Clemens got 242 votes (61 percent) and Bonds had 241 (60.7 percent). The writers have been pretty consistent at looking at both stars and their place in baseball history.
That’s why getting in together would make total sense. They belong together — their careers and their plight. They are tied at the hip.
I have a vote and have voted for Bonds and Clemens every year they have appeared on the ballot.
But time is running out. You only appear on the ballot for 10 years. After that, the only way you can get induction into Cooperstown would be through a veteran’s committee, not via the writers’ vote.
To gain entrance via the writers, you need to get 75 percent of the vote. Both aren’t too far away, where it wouldn’t be impossible to make up the necessary ground in votes.
Last year, Larry Walker made it to the Hall on his 10th and final year on the ballot, becoming the seventh player to pull it off. Walker went from 54.6 percent in his ninth year to 76.6 percent in his final try.
Bonds and Clemens still would have another year if they don’t get enough votes this time around. And there’s no reason to believe the other voters won’t come around at the deadline.
After all, Bonds and Clemens could have been done years ago, as early as Year 1 when they first appeared on the ballot. But it wasn’t the case. They were both a decent number of votes away from the very beginning.
And the one promising sign is that their numbers have gone up just about every year. And while the increases haven’t been large, there haven’t been any decreases.
That scenario would have certainly spelled doom.
Mark McGwire had little support almost from the very beginning, and before you knew it, his chance had come and gone.
Same with Sammy Sosa. Last year, he got only 55 votes (13.9 percent of the vote). This is his ninth year as well. He has way too much ground to make up.
Let’s be fair. The steroid era is bigger than Bonds and Clemens. Google the Mitchell Report. There are sealed names of 89 players who are alleged to have used steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs.
We just don’t know all the names, but is it a stretch to believe there are some already granted entrance in The Hall.
There are guys already in the Hall that have been linked to PEDs, none bigger than Pudge Rodriguez, who somehow, was voted in on his first ballot despite being mentioned in the Jose Canseco book “Juiced,” which blew the lid off the entire scandal.
There are others rumored as well, including Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell. Both have been suspected but no paper trail. Both got in.
“My honest opinion is that Barry Bonds is the best player I ever played against my entire career,” said Bagwell when he was voted into The Hall. “Roger Clemens is the best (right-handed) pitcher. Man, they were awesome.”
We get it. Some writers wanted to make Bonds and Clemens wait it out. They want to make them sweat as some kind of punishment for what they did. It makes sense.
Still, with their numbers alone, they should have been voted in on the first ballot.
This year would work. In fact, it would be perfect.