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Roger Clemens Trial: Legacy Will Prevail In Texas, Despite What Happens In Cooperstown

Roger Clemens' local legacy remains positive, no matter what.

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Now that Roger Clemens has been acquitted on all six counts of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements when Congress said he lied in 2008 about his steroid and human growth hormone use during his playing career, the focus shifts to Clemens' legacy and how he will be treated in the court of public opinion.

It's a bit tricky since Clemens is obviously linked to steroid use by the Mitchell Report and these subsequent trials against the feds, but the truth is that there is no admittance by the seven-time Cy Young winner, or anything definitive that refutes his claim of innocence.

So what exactly happens when those two dynamics surround the conversation about Clemens' place in history and how he'll be remembered?

Hall Of Fame Future

Derek Jeter was asked about his former New York Yankees teammate before Monday's game against the Atlanta Braves. He said Clemens will go down as one of the best to ever play, somewhat of an understatement considering how they're legacies are slightly tied together and both are first-ballot Hall of Fame caliber players without even hesitating.

Tim Kurkjian was asked on Sportscenter if he'd vote for Roger Clemens on the HOF ballot when the time came, and he said he would. Kurkjian wasn't, however, so sure about his fellow baseball writers, most of whom seem to have their minds made up when it comes to alleged steroid users.

Players linked to steroids don't make it to the Hall.

It's an awfully critical stance to take on steroid users considering the Steroid Era, with all of the scars it brings, was when baseball was most electric and saw some of its greatest days.

Even when it wasn't always honest, it was real. The allure, the amazement, the scandal. All of it. At some point, baseball writers are going to have to acknowledge the reality of how greatness is often closely connected with enigma.

Steroids or no steroids, one still would have to ask this: If Roger Clemens doesn't make it to Cooperstown, then who exactly is supposed to be there?

Something else to think about: the greatest pitcher and greatest hitter of the same generation may be barred from the game's most distinguished group - all on the count of a short term memory narrative that seems to have forgotten how celebrated the Steroid Era was for at least a decade.

Local Legacy

You can forget about Texans turning their back on Roger Clemens. Next to Nolan Ryan, he's the most highly-thought-of pitcher to come out of the Lone Star State. Clemens spent his high school years in Houston before current Rice coach Wayne Graham essentially discovered him at San Jacinto Junior College.

Past that, Clemens went on to become the first baseball player to have his jersey number retired with the Texas Longhorns, where he won a College World Series title in 1983.

And Clemens' family is well-known in Houston, since that's where the Rocket lives, and his son Koby starred at Memorial High School several years ago before turning pro.

The local connections to Clemens might just go a bit beyond baseball, since he's a lifetime member of the homeland. It's a little different than dealing with baseball writers and the standards of the Hall of Fame.

Graham, just days off being eliminated from his own regional tournament by a former assistant now coaching Sam Houston State, showed support for another protege in Clemens and testified on his behalf.

Graham never said this, but that was more about loyalty than whether or not Clemens' character would actually allow him to take steroids and human growth hormones.

What it comes down to is the lack of frustration from common folks as it pertains to roiding. A lot of fans won't believe Clemens used, and just as many of the ones who do, really don't care.

There's a certain sensitivity about the integrity of the game, but that integrity was compromised systemically when the drug culture was allowed to go unchecked in Major League Baseball for that entire era.

What happened was pervasive, and to place all the associated steroid users in exile would be a grave disservice to the people who love, follow and even cover the game.

Read about the Houston Astros at The Crawfish Boxes. Check out Burnt Orange Nation for fan perspective on the Texas Longhorns. As always, Baseball Nation is your source for news and analysis around Major League Baseball.

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