From Bobby Thomson to Roger Clemens

Except that cheating did taint Thomson’s famous shot. For decades, it was rumored that the Giants’ amazing 1951 stretch run — they made up a 13-game deficit to force the playoff with the Dodgers — had been abetted by a sign-stealing system devised by their manager, Leo Durocher. Finally, the truth leaked out: For the last 10 weeks of the season, and throughout the showdown with the Dodgers, the Giants used a centerfield telescope and a complex system of signals to tell their batters what pitch was coming next…

What Roger Clemens wants — what he’s recklessly pursued, to the point where he’s facing perjury charges and possibly jail — is what Bobby Thomson enjoyed. He wants to be judged on what happened on the field, where pitches are thrown and swings are taken, and everything else fades into irrelevance.

We know too much to give him that. But though he hasn’t asked for it, maybe we also know enough about baseball history to give him our forgiveness.