Alex Rodriguez will become eligible for election into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2022. He hopes that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, two of his contemporaries, will have gotten the call to Cooperstown by then."Of course I want them to get in, because that would mean that I
Alex Rodriguez will become eligible for election into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2022. He hopes that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, two of his contemporaries, will have gotten the call to Cooperstown by then.
"Of course I want them to get in, because that would mean that I have an opportunity to get in one day," Rodriguez said on ESPN's "First Take" on Wednesday, the day after the Hall of Fame's 2019 class was announced.
Three of A-Rod's former teammates made the Hall this year -- Edgar Martinez, Mariano Rivera and Mike Mussina -- but Bonds and Clemens did not. In their seventh year of the 10-year eligibility window on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot, Bonds saw his vote share increase from 56.4 percent to 59.1 percent, while Clemens' increased from 57.3 percent to 59.5 percent. Candidates must receive 75 percent of the vote to be inducted.
Bonds and Clemens have three years of eligibility remaining, and their final year on the ballot would coincide with Rodriguez's first.
Like Rodriguez, Bonds and Clemens were among the best players to play the game, but performance-enhancing drug allegations cast a shadow over their careers.
"Look, I pray every day I get a chance to get in. The Hall of Fame is the ultimate place," Rodriguez told ESPN. "If you think about Roger and Barry specifically ... if you stopped their career at the age of 33 or 34, they were both first-ballot [Hall of Famers] and then the noise [about PEDs] started. For me, it's just a shame. I am certainly cheering for both of them. I like them both very much. They're both friends, and I'm in their corner."
Rodriguez hit 696 home runs and collected 3,115 hits in his 22-year career with the Mariners, Rangers and Yankees before retiring after the 2016 season. He was a three-time American League Most Valuable Player Award winner and a 14-time All-Star, and he won a World Series championship in '09 with New York. He also was suspended for the '14 season for violating MLB's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
If Bonds and Clemens were to be elected in one of their final years of eligibility, it could signal a shift in philosophy among voters that would make it more likely that Rodriguez, facing a similar situation, might also eventually be voted into the Hall. But A-Rod has said he understands that his mistakes might prevent that.
"I made my case when I made my mistakes," Rodriguez said on ESPN. "I'm going to have to lie in my bed. I'm still hoping that I can one day get in."
David Adler is a reporter and researcher for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.