Clemens says Hall chances are 'out of my control'
Seven-time Cy Young Award winner has the numbers, but PED suspicion lingers
Roger Clemens is a candidate on the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot. The Class of 2014 results will be announced exclusively on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com live on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET as part of a three-hour live show beginning at noon. On Thursday, MLB.com and MLB Network will air the news conferences featuring the electees live from New York at 11 a.m. ET.
These days, when Roger Clemens is asked about the Hall of Fame, he says simply that he has done all he can do.
"It would be nice," he told the Longhorn Network, "but it's out of my control."
After pitching a few games for an independent league team in 2012 and flirting with the idea of making a few starts for the Astros, Clemens seems to have moved into the next chapter of his life, once and for all.
Clemens keeps a much lower profile than he once did, but he certainly is not in hiding. Clemens works for the Astros as an advisor and instructor, attending an assortment of celebrity golf tournaments, and he has a long list of charitable interests.
Once upon a time, being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame seemed critically important to him. Clemens understood he was one of the best ever and enjoyed the comparisons to other all-time greats.
With 354 victories, 4,672 strikeouts and seven Cy Young Awards, Clemens has a resume that may never be matched again.
Beyond the numbers, Clemens was also one of the game's great competitors, and at least in the second half of his career, he was both a great teammate and a terrific ambassador for the sport.
Everything changed when he was named in the 2007 Mitchell Report as someone who had obtained performance-enhancing substances.
Clemens has emphatically denied ever using PEDs. Last year in Clemens' first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot, his name was checked by 37.6 percent of the eligible voters.
A candidate must receive 75 percent of the vote from eligible Baseball Writers' Association of America members to gain election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. With 569 ballots cast last year, 427 votes were required for induction. Clemens was named on 214.
No players reached the 75 percent threshold in 2013. Second baseman Craig Biggio (68.2 percent), starting pitcher Jack Morris (67.7 percent) and first baseman Jeff Bagwell (59.6 percent) are the top returning vote-getters from last year's ballot. Results of the 2014 election will be announced on Wednesday.
During a 24-year Major League career, Clemens established himself as one of the best ever. He's ninth all-time in victories and third in strikeouts. His name is all over the leaderboards in virtually every pitching category, from winning percentage (18th at .658) to shutouts (26th with 46) to starts (seventh with 707).
Besides the record seven Cy Young Awards, Clemens finished second once and third twice. He won the American League Most Valuable Player Award in 1986 and finished among the top 10 in the balloting five other times. Clemens led his league in victories four times, in ERA seven times and in strikeouts five times. He pitched more than 200 innings 15 times.
There are different chapters of Clemens' 24 seasons, but they're almost all astonishingly good. For instance, in his first seven full seasons with the Red Sox, he averaged 19 victories, 34 starts, 257 innings and 239 strikeouts. In his final nine full seasons, he averaged 17 victories, 214 innings and 212 strikeouts.
Those who played with Clemens say he worked harder and competed more fiercely than almost anyone. However, a majority of Hall of Fame voters have declined to vote for anyone connected to performance-enhancing drugs.
"The Hall of Fame is great," he told CBS News in 2012. "I've got a lot of great buddies there. The guys that are there paved the way for me to do what I love to do and make a lot of money doing it, take care of my family."
Clemens won more games than Tom Seaver and had more strikeouts than Walter Johnson in his career. Clemens also helped teams get to the postseason 12 times, and in eight World Series starts, he was 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA.
Clemens made his Major League debut at 21 in 1984 and pitched his final game 23 years later at 45. With or without the Hall of Fame, he had an amazing run.
Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.