The 50-year-old, who pitches Saturday for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League, seems to be feeling his oats after getting off in June on charges he lied to Congress about using steroids. This pitching stint - he'll obviously be free of steroids this time - is to solidify his not-guilty verdict by saying "No way I took steroids, look at what I can do at 50!" The talk of making it back to the majors
? More of the same.
Pettitte pitches Clemens out of a jam
Clemens got off because his lawyer, Rusty Hardin, created enough of a maelstrom surrounding the character of prime witness, trainer Brian McNamee, that the jury could do nothing but declare they were not certain beyond a reasonable doubt. That and the fact his friend and teammate on the New York Yankees and Houston Astros, Andy Pettitte, dramatically changed his testimony at the last minute, throwing the prosecution under the bus and all but ensuring that the 7-time Cy Young Award winner would walk free.
He's bucking for Cooperstown - he will be on the ballot for the first time in December - and knows making it isn't going to be a slam-dunk. With his record it would be if he hadn't cheated (his 354 wins are 9th all-time). The courts might not be able to accept the testimony of McNamee - and Clemens' DNA on a needle and on medical waste - and the original testimony of Pettitte, but the court of public opinion can, and does.
And most members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWWA) who do the voting
for the Hall of Fame surely don't believe the excuses;
the vitamin B12 and the local anesthetic lidocaine nonsense that Clemens claims, nor that he was unaware his wife Debbie was given a shot of HGH in his own master bedroom by McNamee, nor that all who say they have knowledge of him using "misremembered." Most believe Roger Clemens did take steroids, and often and over a prolonged period.
Baseball Hall of Fame: Roger Clemens a Bust?
You can find many major leaguers who will not be happy if Clemens gets into Cooperstown, relief pitching great Goose Gossage among them. "These guys lie, lie, lie and lie," Gossage
said in the weeks after Clemens got off. "Roger, I think, is in the same boat. I think there is validity to him using and absolutely not do they belong in the Hall of Fame." But the Hall has a dilemma, it's hard to deny him entry after he was declared not-guilty by the courts, yet it's even harder to admit someone who took performance-enhancing drugs to bolster his abilities and record.
Whether he could have pitched until his retirement at 45 in 2007 without using steroids and HGH is highly unlikely, they were a great help to him over the years, though it doesn't really matter how much they helped him, he cheated and he lied. His attempts now to add to his legacy won't work and Roger Clemens will throw a few games in the minors and drop back out of sight.
He prospered but that prospering is over and whether the courts caught him or not - baseball did. Roger Clemens will never get enough votes to get into the Hall of Fame.