The BBWAA Hall of Fame voting results finally come on Wednesday. For our purposes here, we have but one player left to profile and the polarizing Roger Clemens.
As with Barry Bonds, we know the score on Clemens. His numbers say he's one of the greatest pitchers in history. He won a record seven Cy Youngs along with an MVP. He won 354 games (ninth all time) and struck out 4,672 hitters (third). He led the league in wins four times, winning percentage three times, ERA seven times, complete games three times, shutouts six times, innings twice, strikeouts five times, ERA+ eight times, WHIP three times, strikeout rate three times and strikeout-to-walk rate four times.
Among pitchers, Clemens led his league in WAR seven times and is third all-time behind Cy Young and Walter Johnson.
Clemens pitched on six pennant winners and two World Series champions, too.
We don't really need to continue here. That's an easy Hall of Fame resume.
And yet, Clemens sits here on his sixth Hall of Fame ballot.
We know why and it's his connection to PEDs in addition to how he reacted to the Mitchell Report, namely his attacks on former personal trainer Brian McNamee.
Much like with Bonds, we really don't need to get into it. The minds of most people are already made up when it comes to Clemens.
That is, of course, aside from the BBWAA voting body, apparently.
Here's how Clemens has trended in Hall of Fame voting so far:
The big jump after 2015 came due to the Hall of Fame purging voters who hadn't covered baseball within the past 10 years. The voting body is ever-changing due to deaths, the new 10-year rule, younger voters becoming eligible and qualified voters changing their minds due to various reasons.
On the latter point, something that could move the needle this year in either direction is Joe Morgan's letter,. It rubbed many the wrong way, though it's possible it resonated with others.
As of this writing (and it'll be changing through the day), Ryan Thibodaux's ballot tracker shows Clemens has gained two votes among returning voters and has gotten all 10 of the new voters who has thus far publicly revealed their ballots. Clemens is tracking at over 63 percent of the vote, but he lost nine percent last year once we found out the results (those who don't make their ballots public tend to be those who aren't voting for Clemens). If the same thing happens this year, Clemens will have barely added to last year's voting percentage.
This is a big vote for Clemens. If he doesn't make another leap, he runs the risk of sitting in neutral and not making the Hall. If he does find an increase to get in the range of 60 percent, there's real momentum to get in before his 10 years of eligibility lapse.