In the wake of this Grimsley revelation, as well as Roger Clemens' 4th or 5th return from retirement, I thought it might be interesting to float this idea. Clemens is like the Bonds of pitchers, in terms of his on-field performance. He has 7 Cy Youngs, is 2nd all-time in strikeouts, and his 341 wins rank 9th all-time and of the guys ahead of him, Warren Spahn is the most recent to retire in 1965. He is by far the best pitcher of our generation.
Bonds allegedly began using performance enhancing drugs after the 1998 season at the age of 34. Prior to that age he averaged .290/32/94 per season, and afterwards his numbers have been .324/43/94 and a bajillion walks. Here are some numbers on Clemens to ponder: From his rookie year in 1984 until 1992, Clemens was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball, going 152-72 with a 2.79 ERA and nearly 1900 Ks. However, from 1992-1996, he went a mediocre 40-39 with a 3.75 ERA. Boston GM Dan Duquette thought he was done and let him go to the Blue Jays. Clemens was also 34 in the 1997 season, when he had perhaps his finest season of his career, magically resurrecting himself by going 21-7 with a 2.05 ERA and 292 Ks. He has continued to have remarkable seasons after that in his old age, compiling nearly identical numbers from age 34-42 as he did from age 22-30. My question is this: What caused this amazing turnaround? Was it really new found motivation when everyone thought he was on the downside of his career? Or did he get a magical pick-me-up that everyone is accusing Bonds of getting that has carried him to his new heights?
Clemens is currently listed at 6-4 and 235, but looking back to his early years, he is much more slender and his babyface is not nearly as square-looking as it is now. People accuse Bonds by pointing to his physique, but what about Clemens? I dont have the statistics on his measurements as a rookie, but he has certainly gained at least 30 pounds and most of it seems to be in his upper body, and his face is defintely fatter than it used to be. Also, what about that bat-throwing incident in the 2000 World Series? Maybe a bout of 'Roid Rage perhaps? This is all hypothetical of course, but I find it interesting. Bonds and Clemens both have tremendous numbers in their late age, and are both intense personalities on the field and off. But Bonds, a black man, has become the ultimate villain, while the white man Clemens is everyone's hero and family man. Bonds is assumed guilty already, while nobody even questions Clemens. I find that a little strange.