Roger Clemens acquitted of all charges, but will he make it to the Hall of Fame?
Roger Clemens was charged with one count of obstructing Congress, three counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury in connection with his testimony to a House committee about whether he used performance enhancing drugs. If the former pitcher would have been convicted on all counts, he would have faced up to 30 years in prison. On Monday, after a lengthy perjury trial, Clemens was acquitted of all charges. He walked out of the courtroom with his family and attorney Rusty Hardin fighting back tears as he approached the media for a statement. Now that the trial is over, Clemens’ legacy is in question as his name will be on the ballot in his first attempt at the Hall of Fame. Which raises the question, will he make it?
“It has been a hard five years. . . . All of you who know me in the media and followed my career, I put a lot of hard work into that career,” he said, sighing and choking back tears.
From the day he first appeared in front of Congress, in 2007, after being named in the Mitchell Report, Clemens has vehemently stated that he has never took steroids or human growth hormone during his career. “Let me be clear. I have never taken steroids or H.G.H.”, Clemens’ stated in front of Congress that year.
From there things didn’t clear up for the famed pitcher. The FBI and Justice Department kept pursuing the case against Clemens, which eventually involved 93 federal agents and officers.
They first attempted to try Clemens last year, but ended in a mistrial when the government showed a portion of a video that had been previously been ruled inadmissible.
After all of the investigating, the government could only find one person who had first hand knowledge of Clemens’ using performance enhancing drugs. Brian McNamee, was Clemens’ personal strength and conditioning coach while with the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees and said he has injected Clemens with steroids in 1998, 2000, and 2001 and HGH in 2000. He also had physical evidence that was kept in a beer can, which had traces of Clemens’ DNA.
McNamee proved on the stand that he was not as strong as witness as people thought. During the trial, prosecutors exposed the credibility of McNamee, who admitted to lying or stretching the truth numerous times. Also to add, the stories he remembers and told have changed several times over the course of the years. The evidence that he kept showed no signs of steroids or HGH, but traces of vitamin B12 and the anesthetic lidocaine. During the trial, McNamee was considered a “tainted” witness, that did not have a solid story to convince the jury that Clemens was guilty.
Forensic experts, former teammates, and an unlikely appearance from a housekeeper, took the stand in the trial which lasted nine weeks. It took jurors 11 hours in its tenth week to reach a verdict, on the six felony chargers against Clemens.
Said Hardin: ”This trial was the first chance we had to let somebody on his behalf question the accusations and what we knew were the wrong perceptions of him as a person. It got to where people thought arrogance was a man saying, ‘I didn’t do it.’ When a man says he didn’t do it, let’s at least start out giving him the benefit of the doubt.”
With the trial completed, the question raised is if Clemens will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first ballot entry this fall? Can the writers and those who vote look passed the fact that Clemens’ well be forever linked to performance enhancing drugs, even though he was acquitted of the charges and not found innocent? Those deceptions of Clemens bother him, as he feels that his legacy is now in question.
“I hope those in the public that made up their mind before there was a trial will now back up and entertain the possibility of what he has always said: using steroids and H.G.H. is cheating and it was totally contrary to his entire career,” Hardin said.
In his 24 year career, Clemens played for four different teams. He amassed 4,672 strikeouts in 4,916.2 innings of work. He is an 11 time All-Star, and named the All-Star and AL MVP in 1986. On his mantle rests seven Cy Young Awards which is a record for any pitcher and not to mention a World Series Champion with the 1999 and 2000 Yankees.
If anything, Roger “the Rocket” Clemens should be remembered as one of the greatest pitchers to ever step foot on a baseball field and the numbers he produced show the hard work that he has put in during his career.