He won a record seven Cy Young awards, at least one with each team he played with: the Boston Red Sox, the Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Yankees, and the Houston Astros.
He retired with a 354–184 record, a 3.12 ERA, and 4,672 strikeouts.
With 133.7, he is the all-time leader in pitching WAR (Wins Above Replacement) according to FanGraphs.
Despite all of these accomplishments and many more, he wasn’t elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
This year, he fell short with just over 65 percent of the ballots, not close enough to the necessary 75 percent for induction.
While he is deserving of a place among the greatest, there is certainly a case against him going to the Hall.
Otherwise, he just would have been voted in by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).
Steroid Links Hurt His Case
The biggest knock on Clemens’ career is his allegations of steroid use.
For starters, he was named in the Mitchell Report, most notably by his former trainer Brian McNamee.
McNamee himself said he injected Clemens several times with Winstrol.
While Clemens denied these allegations, he had to face the Justice Department.
He was indicted on six felony counts: perjury, false statements, and Contempt of Congress.
He was eventually found not guilty of lying to the Congress about his steroid use, but the damage to his Hall of Fame case had been done by that point.
Jose Canseco had already suggested Clemens used steroids, which the pitcher downplayed at the time.
Some people don’t want Clemens in the Hall as a result, because they think he cheated, even though the league clearly ignored the steroid issue for a lot of time.
Glanville's eloquent essay largely sums up my reasoning for not voting for Bonds, Clemens, and the other steroids users. There were consequences for clean players. So as he writes: "There should be a difference between being recognized by the HOF and being honored by it." https://t.co/ZfmWzATo3N
— John Harper (@NYNJHarper) February 1, 2022
Additionally, there is the character clause issue.
Clemens wasn’t the most liked teammate and was involved in more than a few controversies with rival players.
The most troubling allegation, besides the steroids, is the reported long-term relationship between Clemens and country music singer Mindy McCready that started when she was 15 years old.
The singer herself reportedly didn’t deny that there was a relationship, saying that, “I cannot refute anything in the story.”
She later said the relationship lasted over a decade and Clemens refused to leave his wife for her.
She did confirm, however, that they met when she was 16 and things became sexual “several years later.”
In any case, the pitcher becoming the center of adultery rumors didn’t help his Hall of Fame case.
With @NotMrTibbs reporting that Roger Clemens is teetering at the 75% mark, @Ring_Sheryl’s debut article for @PitcherList about the absence of Mindy McCready in the HOF discussion is vital. https://t.co/S3mwn5ZFem
— Nicole Cahill (@NicoleCahill_) December 29, 2021
On the mound, there is no case for Clemens being left out of the Hall of Fame.
He won over 300 games, struck out more than 4,000 hitters, and no one won more Cy Young awards than him.
He also won two World Series with the Yankees.
But some of the off-the-field baggage, not to mention the steroid links, are too much for some people to overcome.
Those are valid concerns to have.
Clemens still has a chance to enter the Hall through the Today’s Game committee, which will meet in December.
Only time will tell.