Although acquitted, The Rocket is still guilty in the eyes of many

Jun 19, 2012 By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer


That's what The Rocket, Roger Clemens, heard Monday when a federal court jury returned a verdict acquitting him on all charges that he obstructed and lied to Congress when he denied using performance-enhancing drugs to build his long and brilliant career as one of the greatest pitchers in Major League Baseball history.

Clemens was accused of being a cheater. He was accused of using banned, and now illegal, substances to achieve and extend his success.

He actually was tried twice. The first was declared a mistrial, and the second jury didn't take long (just 10 hours after a 10-week trial) to announce that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond the "reasonable doubt" threshold.

The jury decided Clemens had not lied to Congress when he denied the use of performance enhancing substances.

Mustn't that mean he told the truth?

The U.S. Attorney's Office said in a written statement, "The jury has spoken in this matter, and we thank them for their service. We respect the judicial process and the jury's verdict."

We must respect it too, although many won't.

"I think everybody believes he was guilty in some form or fashion," said John Harper of the New York Daily News.

Never being afraid to pitch inside, Clemens won seven Cy Young awards with three different teams. He is No. 2 on the all-time strikeout list, was named to the American League all-star team 11 times, and was named as the Sporting News Pitcher of the Year five times. He was the American League MVP in 1986 and has 354 career wins.

But The Rocket still has one more jury to face, and this jury will launch a fastball right back at Clemens, high and tight.

The Baseball Writers Association will, in December, decide whether William Roger Clemens will be inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame's class of 2013.

There are some other very interesting names on that ballot including Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling and Craig Biggio.

Did the names Bonds, Sosa and Piazza, all associated with performance-enhancing substances, just jump out at you?

After seven years of digging, Bonds was convicted on one count of obstruction of justice in a San Francisco court last year, with the jury deadlocked on whether Bonds lied to a grand jury when he denied knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs.

Recently ESPN's Tim Kurkjian wrote that, "Bonds won seven MVPs, four more than anyone else. I recently asked a revered baseball historian to name his all-time Mount Rushmore of hitters, and without hesitation, he said, 'Barry Bonds is first,' then followed with Ted Williams, Babe Ruth and Albert Pujols."

The era of steroids continues, now on Hall of Fame ballots.

And even though Clemens was tried by his peers and was acquitted, he probably will remain guilty in the eyes of Hall of Fame voters.

Many, many of baseball's greatest performers, along with Clemens, will never be voted into the Hall of Fame? Not guilty in the court of law, but somehow guilty by association, apparently.

Is that right?

Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!

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