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January 10, 2013

Steroids strike out Hall hopefuls

Ceremony will honor some players already enshrined

Controversy about the possibility of steroid users being voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame loomed over this year’s ballot. And, for at least another year, no suspected steroid-using players will be enshrined.

It was announced Wednesday afternoon that nobody will be getting a call saying they will recognized with what is considered to be baseball’s biggest honor — election into the Hall. A winning candidate did not emerge from the Hall of Fame balloting conducted by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and verified by Ernst & Young.

Suspicion of steroid use was the reason first-year candidates Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa were denied, and probably figured in the rejection of Mike Piazza, as well.

However, all four did receive enough votes to keep them on the ballot for next year.

There were 569 ballots cast, the third-highest total in the history of the voting, but none of the 37 candidates in the 2013 vote received the required 75 percent.

Craig Biggio, who had 3,060 hits and was a seven-time All-Star while playing three positions (catcher, second base, outfield), led the ballot with 388 votes — 39 shy of the 427 needed for election. He gained the votes of 68.2 percent of the electorate, which consists of BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years of Major League Baseball coverage. Other players named on more than half the ballots were pitcher Jack Morris with 385 (67.7 percent), first baseman Jeff Bagwell with 339 (59.6), catcher Piazza with 329 (57.8) and outfielder Tim Raines with 297 (52.2).

Five blank ballots were among those submitted.

"The standards for earning election to the Hall of Fame have been very high ever since the rules were created in 1936," Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson said in a media release. "We realize the challenges voters are faced with in this era. The Hall of Fame has always entrusted the exclusive voting privilege to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. We remain pleased with their role in evaluating candidates based on the criteria we provide.”

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