Hall of Fame: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens still on the outside looking in


There was never a chance that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were going to be elected to the Hall of Fame today. Their performance enhancing drug associations too strong, their infamy too great to sway a great many voters. But they did see significant improvement in the vote totals this year, suggesting that their path to Cooperstown — once considered impassable — has gotten somewhat easier.

Bonds received 44.3% of the vote. Clemens: 45.2% Compare that to Bonds’ 36.8% and Clemens’ 37.5% a year ago. A nice little jump for them, but still a long way to go for the required 75%.

Why did they see the uptick? A couple of reasons. The largest is likely the Hall of Fame culling its voter rolls, removing roughly 130 voters who had not covered baseball in the past 10 years. It is thought that the older and the more out-of-touch a Hall of Fame voter was, the less likely they were to vote for players with PED associations, and with many of them gone, players like Bonds and Clemens were sure to benefit. The benefit was modest, but real. In the past three years on the ballot Bonds’ totals has stayed static, between 34-36%. Clemens: in the 35-37% range. Going up 7-8 percentage points is a pretty big deal for these two.

Another reason: changing minds. As we have been arguing ever since Bonds and Clemens first appeared on the ballot in the fall of 2012, PEDs or not, both are worthy of Cooperstown. As time has gone on, voters have very slowly begun to come around to our way of looking at things, including influential voters such as Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman, each of whom have changed their voting habits with respect to Bonds and/or Clemens recently. Over time PED moralizing has become less popular and, over time, the case for Bonds and Clemens has thus become more compelling.

Not compelling enough. At least not yet. They still have yet to reach the magical 50% threshold, which has ensured eventual election for everyone except Gil Hodges, Jack Morris and, so far, Lee Smith. There’s no escaping the fact that Bonds and Clemens each have a long way to go.

But, as of today, they don’t have anywhere as near as far as they had to go before.

McCutchen’s sacrifice fly lifts Pirates to 5-4 win, extends Athletics’ road losing streak to 15

Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH – Andrew McCutchen’s tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the eighth inning lifted Pittsburgh to a 5-4 victory over Oakland on Monday night, extending the Pirates’ win streak to six games and sending the Athletics to their record-tying 15th consecutive road loss.

The 15 straight defeats away from home matches the Athletics’ record since they moved from Kansas City in 1968. Oakland set that mark in 1986.

The major league-worst Athletics (12-50) have lost five games in a row overall. They are on pace to finish the season exactly 100 games under .500 at 31-131.

“It’s tough,” Athletics manager Mark Kotsay said. “Tonight’s game, we didn’t play well enough to win the game. I don’t want to say we gave the game away but there were a lot of instances where we had a chance to capitalize on opportunities and didn’t do it.”

McCutchen also singled and drew three walks to go with two RBIs. The 2013 NL MVP now has 1,998 career hits.

With the score tied at 4, Ji Hwan Bae led off the decisive eighth inning with a single off Sam Moll (0-3) and advanced to third on Austin Hedges’ one-out single. McCutchen’s sac fly plated Bae.

“I was just trying to get the job done. I understand the situation there,” McCutchen said. “We just need to get the run. I was trying to bear down against a hard thrower and trying to get that run in as much as I can, and I was able to do it and have a good at-bat.”

Angel Perdomo (1-0) retired both hitters he faced. and Colin Holdeman pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his first career save. It was an eventful inning for Holderman as the first three batters reached base, but he struck out Carlos Perez with runners on the corners to end it.

“I began my career as a starting pitcher in the minor leagues but ever since I was switched to relief, this has been the goal, to get a save in the big leagues,” Holderman said.

Pittsburgh starter Johan Oviedo gave up three runs and four hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

Oakland left-hander JP Sears did not allow a hit until Mark Mathias’ leadoff single in the fifth but was unable to make it through the inning. Sears was charged with one run in 4 2/3 innings while allowing two hits, walking five and striking out six.

Sears has not allowed more than two runs in five consecutive starts. His nine no-decisions are the most in the major leagues.

Ryan Noda and Brent Rooker had two hits each for the Athletics.

The Athletics tied the score at 4-4 in the eighth inning on pinch-hitter Aledmys Diaz’s run-scoring double. Oakland left the bases loaded, though, when Nick Allen hit an inning-ending flyout.

Consecutive bases-loaded walks keyed a three-run sixth inning that put the Pirates 4-3. McCutchen and Bryan Reynolds each worked bases on balls off Shintaro Fujinami to tie the score at 3-all and pinch-hitter Jack Suwinski followed with a sacrifice fly.

The Athletics opened the scoring in the first inning when rookie Esteury Ruiz reached on catcher’s interference, stole his MLB-leading 30th base of the season and scored on Noda’s single. Seth Brown doubled in a run in the third and came home on Perez’s sacrifice fly to push Oakland’s lead to 3-0.

Connor Joe hit an RBI double for the Pirates in the fifth.

The Pirates drew 10 walks, their most in a game in nearly two years.

“We had a bunch of opportunities that we didn’t capitalize (on), but the thing I think I was most proud of is we got down and we didn’t rush to get back,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “We were still patient.”


Athletics: LHP Kirby Snead (strained shoulder) is expected to pitch in the Arizona Complex League on Tuesday, which will be his first game action since spring training. … RHP Freddy Tarnok (strained shoulder) will throw a bullpen on Tuesday.


Pirates catching prospect Henry Davis was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis from Double-A Altoona. In 41 games at Double-A this season, the 23-year-old hit .284 with 10 home runs and seven stolen bases.

“He was performing offensively at a level where we felt like he was more than ready to meet the challenges,” Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said. “He improved as an offensive player even since spring training, focusing on the things we were challenging him on. Defensively, he’s made strides too.”

Davis was the first overall selection in the 2021 amateur draft from the University of Louisville.


Athletics RHP James Kaprielian (0-6, 8.12 ERA) will make his first start in June after taking the loss in all four starts in May and face RHP Mitch Keller (7-1, 3.25). Keller has eight or more strikeouts in seven consecutive starts, the longest streak by a Pirates pitcher in the modern era (since 1901).