For two of the most transcendent superstars in baseball history, the clock on their Hall of Fame chances is ticking.
Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are in a race against time. Their best hope for baseball immortality is that time will heal the wounds opened by the sport’s dispiriting plunge into widespread steroid use in the late 1990s.
This year, Bonds and Clemens will be on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the eighth year. Their statistics an indisputable case: Bonds’ 762 home runs is Major League Baseball’s all-time record, and Clemens’ 354 pitching victories ranks ninth all-time and third among all pitchers whose careers came after World War I.
Of the top 24 winningest pitchers since the 1880s, only Clemens is not in the Hall of Fame. The reason is well-documented: despite denials of misdeeds from both Bonds and Clemens, evidence points to their use of performance enhancing drugs, which in baseball is interpreted as cheating.
A few years ago, the Hall of Fame rules were changed to reduce the number of eligible years on the ballot from 15 to 10. Counting the vote that will be announced in January, Clemens and Bonds have three years left.
Their vote totals have been…