It was the largest ballot since 1995, and not a single person made it in.
For only the second time EVER, there will be no new inductees in to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013. On the list of supposedly undeserving nominees? A 3,000 hitter, a home run king shrouded in controversy, and a handful of players with a career batting average better than .300.
So what happened? There’s no definite answer. Other than the baseball writers voting on the matter couldn’t agree enough to make a decision. But if you ask me? It’s just another thing steroids in baseball has ruined.
Among the vote getters were Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds (this was Clemens’, Sosa’s, and Bonds’ first year of eligibility), five guys that either admitted to, tested positive for, or have been implicated in using PED’s.
The math from there is real simple. The highest vote getter, Craig Biggio, missed induction by 39 votes. The total number of votes for the five guys I mentioned above? 637. If you’re telling me Biggio’s 39 missed votes aren’t somewhere in that 637, you probably also believe Palmeiro’s story about Miguel Tejada giving him steroid-ridden Vitamin B12 supplements.
If you don’t know how the vote process works, it’s quite easy. Each voter has a ballot, and they can name up to 10 players that they believe are worthy of induction. For a player to go from nominee to inductee, his name has to appear on 75% of those ballots.
How many people thought about putting down Biggio, but put down Bonds instead? Or Clemens? Or both? Jack Morris’ vote totals have steadily increased throughout his 14 years of eligibility, reaching a new high at 67.7% on this most recent ballot. What if 2013 could’ve been the year he finally got in?
Obviously, in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t too big of a deal. The only other year the voters failed to successfully induct someone, 1996, six players off that ballot eventually were inducted, the first of which came the very next year.
My main question, moving forward, is how much of a problem are these implicated cheaters on the ballot going to be? Roger Clemens’ name was written down on 37.6% of ballots, a little more than half of what he needs. For a man so widely speculated to have used PED’s, that number is astounding. Over one third of the baseball writers who decides who does and does not get into the Hall of Fame either believe Clemens didn’t use any PED’s or did but still merits induction.
That tells me there is a stark debate here amongst the voters. So fierce, as a matter of fact, that they failed to send through a member of the 3,000 hit club. Biggio, who finished with 3,060 hits, is one of only four members of the club that haven’t been inducted into Cooperstown. The other two are Derek Jeter, who is still active and currently ineligible, Pete Rose, who was banned from baseball, and Palmeiro, who tested positive for steroids.
Of the 22 members of the 3,000 hit club that were elected by the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) into Cooperstown, only four were not in their first year of eligibility. Three of those four — Tris Speaker, Eddie Collins, and Nap Lajoie — came in the late 1930’s shortly after the Hall of Fame’s creation, so we can put an asterisk by those knowing guys like Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth were naturally selected first. That would make Craig Biggio only the second member of the 3,000 hit club, really, not to be inducted in his first year.
You can thank steroids for that. But, hey, there’s no use in getting mad over things that are too late to change.
Like I said, I can only wonder if this’ll become a recurring thing. Now that we know how these likely cheaters faired in their first year of eligibility, what will happen in the second and third and so on? Will those that voted for them remain steadfast? Will others jump on board?
Next year, among the first-year eligibles are Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, and Frank Thomas. What will we say if Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds costs them a first-year induction? What if Maddux or Moose get inducted but their inductions snub Biggio for another year?
It could all get pretty messy pretty quickly.
But the bottom line is this: for an institution already hemorrhaging money, an ceremony-less 2013 is going to be disastrous for the National Baseball Hall of Fame. It’s a heavy blow to an American institution. And for guys who kept their noses clean like Biggio and Morris and Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza, not getting inducted was a blow for them.
How many good things about baseball are we going to sit back and watch get ruined as collateral damage to the Steroids Era? Where does infection end?
I, for one, hope we find out real soon.
NOTE: This story was originally published on SportsHead. To read this article and others click here.
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