Brian Kenny: I Wouldn't Honor Clemens, Bonds With HOF

The Hall of Fame is baseball's highest honor – one that Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds do not deserve, Kenny says

Zach Gelb
January 23, 2020 - 12:06 pm
Roger Clemens Yankees

USA Today Images


Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds have been on the Hall of Fame ballot for eight years, and for eight years, they have been denied admittance to Cooperstown. This year, Clemens and Bonds received 61.0 and 60.7 percent of the vote, respectively – well below the required 75 percent threshold.

MLB Network analyst Brian Kenny has no problem with this.

“I’d like to see the character clause swing both ways,” Kenny said on The Zach Gelb Show. “I’d like to see players like Dale Murphy and Don Mattingly get extra credit for being players that everybody in the game says they are the standard by which others should be measured. At the same time, are we outraged now about sign-stealing? I think everybody is. ‘Oh, this is terrible, they’re dirty, they’re cheating.’ Well, they were surreptitiously looking to gain an advantage. Well, what is taking steroids? Surreptitiously looking to gain an unfair advantage. That’s what these players did or are suspected of doing.”

Bonds won seven NL MVP awards and is the game’s all-time home run king. Clemens won seven Cy Young awards and a pair of World Series titles.

How much of that success was the result of steroids is anyone’s guess.

“I go back and forth on this, but I would try to choose to honor the clean player,” Kenny said. “I would rather give my vote to Fred McGriff than Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens. I don’t like it. I don’t enjoy all this steroid talk over the last 20 years. And yet, if I was choosing, I would say those guys, they cheated. They cheated other players, and I would choose not to honor them.

“You’re responsible for your actions,” Kenny continued. “These guys chose to surreptitiously take hormones – testosterone – to gain an advantage, and they had to do it systematically. It’s not something you did once and you made a mistake or you drove drunk or you got in a bar fight or something. No, this is something you did month after month, year after year. You chose to do it over the long haul. That is an organized, systematic way to cheat. So I would choose not to honor those guys with baseball’s highest honor.”