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.”
This is the eighth election by the BBWAA that did not produce a Hall of Famer. It the first since 1996. That year, the top three vote-getters were Phil Niekro (68.3), Tony Perez (65.7) and Don Sutton (63.8). All were eventually elected; Niekro in 1997, Sutton in 1998 and Perez in 2000. The other BBWAA elections without a winner were in 1945, 1946, 1950, 1958, 1960 and 1971.
Biggio and Piazza were on the ballot for the first time. Bagwell was on for the third year. It was Raines' sixth. Morris only has one more year for a chance to be elected by the BBWAA. Players remain on the ballot for up to 15 years provided they receive 5 percent of the vote in any year.
There were 19 candidates who failed to get 29 votes, and will not appear on next year's ballots. Outfielder Bernie Williams of the Yankees, in his second year on the ballot, received 19 votes, or 3.3 percent. The other 18 players were on the ballot for the first time.
First-year candidates who received sufficient support to remain, in addition to Biggio and Piazza, were pitchers Clemens and Curt Schilling and outfielders Bonds and Sosa. Outfielder Dale Murphy, in his 15th and final year on the ballot, received 106 votes (18.6).
Others who will remain on the ballot are first basemen Mark McGwire, Fred McGriff, Don Mattingly and Rafael Palmeiro; pitcher Lee Smith; shortstop Alan Trammell; designated hitter-third baseman Edgar Martinez and outfielder Larry Walker.
As part of the Induction Weekend ceremony Sunday, July 28, at the Clark Sports Center in which three Pre-Integration Committee electees — umpire Hank O’Day, New York Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert and 19th-century player Deacon White — will be inducted, the Hall of Fame will recognize 12 individuals previously counted among its roster of members who never had a formal induction due to wartime restrictions. They are BBWAA electees Lou Gehrig (1939) and Rogers Hornsby (1942), along with the entire class of 1945 selected by the Committee on Old Timers: Roger Bresnahan, Dan Brouthers, Fred Clarke, Jimmy Collins, Ed Delahanty, Hugh Duffy, Hughie Jennings, King Kelly, Jim O’Rourke and Wilbert Robinson.
Paul Hagen, the J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner for baseball writing, and the late Tom Cheek, the Ford C. Frick Award winner for broadcasting, will be honored during the Awards Presentation on Saturday, July 27, at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown.
The vote was as follows: Craig Biggio, 388 votes, 68.2 percent; 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; 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.