Phillips: Bonds, Clemens Should Be In Hall Of Fame

Former Mets GM Steve Phillips explained why he would vote for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
January 24, 2019 - 9:44 am

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Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, Roy Halladay and Mike Mussina were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this week, while seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens and seven-time MVP Barry Bonds were not. Both received just over 59 percent of the vote – about 16 percent below the required 75 percent threshold.

Will Clemens and Bonds ever get in?

“I think they’re going to be the year-10 decision,” former Mets GM and current Sirius XM MLB Radio host Steve Phillips said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “They’re creeping up a little bit. Some writers, it seems pretty clear that you’re in or you’re out on those guys. But I do believe that within that group that has not voted for the obvious PED guys or there’s some anecdotal evidence or positive test, that sort of thing, that there’s some punishment, that they’re (waiting) to see if there’s any more information that comes out.”

Clemens and Bonds have one thing going for them: they’ve never failed a Major League Baseball drug test. Many Ramirez has – and only got 22.8 percent of the vote this year.

“The writers are treating Manny much differently than they are Clemens and Bonds,” Phillips said. “Manny Ramirez’s numbers are clear he’s a Hall of Famer, but he’s only getting 22 percent of the vote. I think that that differential between him and those other guys is really about having positive drug tests.”

Ultimately, Philips believes Clemens and Bonds could one day be in the Hall.

“I do think there’s a chance,” he said. “I think they should be in. I think every era of baseball has had performance-enhancement. Babe Ruth’s numbers were enhanced because he didn’t play against some of the best Negro League players at the time. He hit 714 home runs he would not have if he faced some of the best African-American pitchers that were pitching but just not allowed to pitch against him.”

As Phillips explained, performance-enhancement has been a fixture of every baseball era.

“We lowered the mound, we changed equipment for the dead ball era, we’ve changed stadiums, we’ve added the DH,” Phillips said. “There used to be amphetamines allowed in the game, and now there’s not. Those were performance-enhancers. Players used them every day. I don’t think that we should make it about they don’t get in; I think you put in the best players in from every era, and then you explain the era. I would include Bonds and Clemens and Manny Ramirez and those sorts of guys in, but the writers don’t seem to agree with me right now.”