On Wednesday night, former starting pitcher Roger Clemens put out a statement criticizing fellow former starter Roy Halladay for tweeting that neither Clemens nor Barry Bonds should be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame for their connections to performance enhancing drugs. Clemens, who fell short of being elected to the Hall of Fame for the fourth consecutive year, called Halladay "ill-informed" and accused him of making "an asinine statement."
Clemens's statement, which he released on Wednesday night after the Hall of Fame announced its voting results for the class of 2016, thanked the voters and noted that he had "distanced [himself] from the subject" before criticizing Halladay for "not having your facts on the matter at hand." Clemens does not refer to Halladay by name in his statement, calling him only "an ill-informed player making an asinine statement ... the latest coming from a former Blue Jays pitcher."
Earlier Wednesday, Halladay sent out a tweet in which he blasted players who had taken PEDs or steroids in their career and noted his opposition to alleged users being elected to the Hall of Fame. “When you use PEDs you admit your [sic] not good enough to compete fairly!” Halladay wrote. “Our nations [sic] past time should have higher standards! No Clemens no Bonds!”
Both Bonds and Clemens have been accused numerous times of using PEDs in their major league careers, though neither failed an MLB-administered drug test. Clemens was named in the 2007 Mitchell Report, which documented illegal steroid use in baseball, with former trainer Brian McNamee saying that he had repeatedly injected Clemens with Winstrol, an anabolic steroid. Clemens denied the charges, suing McNamee for defamation and testifying before a Congressional committee that he never used PEDs. Although he was indicted by a federal grand jury and put on trial for perjury regarding his statements to Congress, Clemens was ultimately acquitted of all the charges against him.
At the end of his statement, Clemens also appears to accuse Halladay—whom he was briefly teammates with in 1998 in Toronto—of PED use, cryptically saying, "Just to enlighten [Halladay], he was accused of using amphetamines by the 'strength coach.'" Halladay never failed a drug test and was never accused of steroid use in his 16-year career.
On Thursday, Halladay responded to Clemens’s comments on Twitter:
Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young award winner, has another six years remaining on the Hall of Fame ballot; his 45.2% vote total this year is his best showing so far. Halladay, who retired in 2013, will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in time for the 2019 election.
- Erin Flynn