At 2 p.m. Wednesday, when the Baseball Writers’ Association of America discloses whether Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens received enough votes to be inducted to the Hall of Fame, it will deliver the most significant verdict to date on baseball’s steroid era.
There are at least some indications that the players will fall short.
Bonds and Clemens are the most accomplished players ever linked directly to the use of performance-enhancing drugs, or P.E.D.’s. Bonds is a record seven-time most valuable player and the holder of the single-season and career marks for home runs; Clemens is a record seven-time winner of the Cy Young Award, with 354 career victories. Both endured federal trials on perjury charges stemming from their denials of drug use, with Bonds being found guilty of one count of obstruction of justice in April 2011 and Clemens being acquitted of all charges last June.
Without their drug links, they would be automatic choices for Cooperstown, which requires being named on at least 75 percent of the hundreds of ballots cast each December by members of the writers association. But not now, not in a time when journalists who cover the sport are still trying to figure out what lines should be drawn in weighing achievements on the field against whatever drug use may have occurred off it.
In the case of Bonds and Clemens, the line may be going more or less down the middle, leaving both players with enough voter support to not feel humiliated but without enough to gain entry to the Hall, at least for now.