Brouillard: What was the best 7-year pitching stretch in MLB history?

From SABR member Jesse Brouillard at Wax Pack Book on April 19, 2015:

Of all the lingering effects of baseball’s steroid era, one of the most unfortunate is the degree to which the accomplishments of those implicated have essentially been negated, even those which were achieved while clean. The two most obvious victims of this are Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, two ultimately unlikable men who, nevertheless, were clearly on their way to the Hall of Fame before they made the fateful decision to begin cheating, and then later to disgrace themselves further by lying under oath about it.

It’s easy (and weirdly enjoyable, somehow) to dismiss the entire careers of players who we know made themselves great primarily through the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Jose Canseco, obviously, was fraud almost from day one (the man may as well have invented steroids, as prominent as his role was in the spread of them throughout baseball), and in retrospect our collective fawning over Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998 seems hopelessly naïve at best, and willfully ignorant at worst. McGwire and Sosa are, by most accounts, pretty decent guys, but no one’s shedding a tear for either of them if, as expected, they never make it into the Hall of Fame.

But what of the great players whose careers were essentially bisected by their steroid use? Or, to put it more directly, what of Clemens and Bonds? Roger had three Cy Youngs and Barry three MVPs long before either of them was suspected of juicing, which in both cases is generally believed to have begun around 1998. Do we really just disregard all the great things they did in their youthful, steroid-free primes? I grew up in New England, not western Pennsylvania or the Bay Area, so someone else can defend Barry’s legacy; I’m concerning myself only with the Rocket for the moment.

Read the full article here:–clemens-article-4-19-15.html

Originally published: April 21, 2015. Last Updated: April 21, 2015.