Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2013 comes up empty
BY TONI GINNETTI email@example.com January 9, 2013 10:06PM
Houston Astros' Craig Biggio checks his bat during the fifth inning against the Chicago Cubs Monday, August 13, 2001 in Houston. Biggio hit the 28th leadoff homer of his career in the first inning, two short of the NL record in the Astros 9-5 win over the Cubs. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
HALL OF FAME VOTING
569 votes cast, 427 needed
Craig Biggio 388 (68.2%), Jack Morris 385 (67.7%), Jeff Bagwell 339 (59.6%), Mike Piazza 329 (57.8%), Tim Raines 297 (52.2%), Lee Smith 272 (47.8%), Curt Schilling 221 (38.8%), Roger Clemens 214 (37.6%), Barry Bonds 206 (36.2%), Edgar Martinez 204 (35.9%), Alan Trammell 191 (33.6%), Larry Walker 123 (21.6%), Fred McGriff 118 (20.7%), Dale Murphy 106 (18.6%), Mark McGwire 96 (16.9%), Don Mattingly 75 (13.2%), Sammy Sosa 71 (12.5%), Rafael Palmeiro 50 (8.8%).
By receiving fewer than 29 votes (less than 5 percent), Bernie Williams 19 (3.3%), Kenny Lofton 18 (3.2%), Sandy Alomar Jr. 16 (2.8%), Julio Franco 6 (1.1%), David Wells 5 (0.9%), Steve Finley 4 (0.7%), Shawn Green 2 (0.4%), Aaron Sele 1 (0.2%), Jeff Cirillo 0, Royce Clayton 0, Jeff Conine 0, Roberto Hernandez 0, Ryan Klesko 0, Jose Mesa 0, Reggie Sanders 0, Mike Stanton 0, Todd Walker 0, Rondell White 0 and Woody Williams 0 are no longer eligible for election by the BBWAA.
Updated: January 9, 2013 11:23PM
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America shut the door Wednesday on the Steroid Era, keeping some of the game’s most celebrated names out of the Hall of Fame.
For only the eighth time since voting began in 1936, no player won the required 75 percent of votes for election. Most say the influence of performance-enhancing drugs on the game in the 1990s and into the 2000s was the major reason why.
‘‘We knew sooner or later this issue would end up on the Hall of Fame ballot,’’ said BBWAA executive director Jack O’Connell.
Former Houston Astros infielder Craig Biggio, one of 24 first-year candidates on the 37-player ballot, came closest with 68.2 percent of the vote from 569 votes cast.
Far behind were some of the game’s most recognized players, including Barry Bonds (all-time leader with 762 home runs), who received 36.2 percent, and pitcher Roger Clemens (354 career victories), who received 37.6 percent. Former Cub Sammy Sosa (609 career homers) received 12.5 percent.
‘‘No one was rooting for a shutout,’’ Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said. ‘‘I’m not surprised given how volatile this era has been in terms of assessing the statistics and the impact on the game those players had.’’
Hall of Famers Tommy Lasorda and Andre Dawson — the former Cub who talked about the integrity of the game in his induction speech in 2010 — were among those who said players implicated in steroid use should not be elected.
But Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Michael Weiner called the results ‘‘unfortunate, if not sad.’’
‘‘Those empowered to help the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum document the history of the game failed to recognize the contributions of several Hall of Fame-worthy players,’’ he said in a statement. ‘‘To ignore the historic accomplishments of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, for example, is hard to justify. Moreover, to penalize players exonerated in legal proceedings — and others never even implicated — is simply unfair.’’
The last time no one was elected was 1996, but the top three vote-getters then — Phil Niekro, Tony Perez and Don Sutton — eventually earned the required 75 percent.
Players remain on the ballot for 15 years as long as they receive at least 5 percent of the vote in the prior year.
Idelson dismissed criticism that the results might diminish the Hall’s stature, saying it also is a museum of baseball and includes exhibits involving the era of PEDs.
He said three exhibits touch on the matter, including one called ‘‘Today’s Game,’’ which depicts lockers of all 30 teams with notations about players who were suspected of using steroids when they reached certain milestones.
‘‘We present facts and let people make their own decisions,’’ he said.
The induction ceremony July 28 will honor three men selected by the Pre-Integration Era committee: Deacon White, who played in the 1800s; umpire Hank O’Day; and former New York Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert.
The late Tom Cheek, who was a broadcaster for the Toronto Blue Jays, will be given the Ford C. Frick Award. Paul Hagen of MLB.com will be presented the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for sportswriting.
The Hall also plans to honor 12 Hall of Famers who never had an formal induction ceremony because of wartime, including Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gehrig and 10 players elected in 1945.