The voting-eligible members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America have pitched a ballot shutout.
For the first time since 1996, no player received the 75 percent of the vote necessary for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
“The standards for earning election to the Hall of Fame have been very high ever since the rules were created in 1936. 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," Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said.
This year’s ballot featured 37 candidates, including 24 first-timers. Among those making their ballot debuts were several candidates whose alleged ties to performance-enhancing drugs likely doomed their Cooperstown chances. That group includes Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa, all of whom posted Hall of Fame-worthy numbers during their careers but were clouded by PED suspicion. Clemens earned 37.6 percent of the vote, Bonds got 36.2 percent and Sosa got 12.5 percent.
Craig Biggio, a newcomer who wasn’t suspected of PED use, also came up short despite finishing his career with 3,060 career hits. He was the leading vote-getter with 68.2 percent of the vote.
Among the holdovers, Jack Morris was believed to have the best chance after he earned 66.7 percent of the vote last year. But he fell short in his penultimate opportunity, getting 67.7 percent. In his final year on the BBWAA ballot, Dale Murphy (18.6 percent) also failed to achieve induction despite a heartfelt campaign led by his children.
Jeff Bagwell (59.6 percent), Mike Piazza (57.8) and Tim Raines (52.2) all appeared on at least half the ballots, while Lee Smith (47.8), Curt Schilling (38.8), Edgar Martinez (35.9) and Alan Trammell (33.6) got at least one-third of the votes cast. Others who will appear again on the 2014 ballot: Larry Walker (21.6), Fred McGriff (20.7), Mark McGwire (16.9), Don Mattingly (13.2) and Rafael Palmeiro (8.8).
The candidates who failed to earn five percent of the vote and no longer will appear on the ballot in future seasons: Bernie Williams (3.3 percent), Kenny Lofton (3.2), Sandy Alomar Jr. 16 (2.8), Julio Franco (1.1), David Wells (0.9), Steve Finley (0.7), Shawn Green (0.4), Aaron Sele (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).
There still will be a Hall of Fame induction ceremony this summer—at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 28 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y. The 2013 class is composed former umpire Hank O’Day, one-time New York Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert and 19th century player Deacon White, all of whom were elected by the Pre-Integration Committee.