The Baseball Writers Association of America, perhaps not to everyone’s surprise for the first time since 1996, elected no one to the Baseball Hall of Fame on the 2013 ballot. The association continued their harsh stance against the so called “Steroid Era” players who either tested positive, admitted use, or seeming did but never tested positive as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa do not even come close to being elected.
Craig Biggio led all candidates in voting as he was named on 68.2% of the ballots, falling just 39 votes short of being elected. Biggio’s numbers are Hall of Fame worthy, but perhaps his failure of being elected is more of the writers saying he wasn’t a first ballot hall of famer, which I think is rediculous, but probably the case. Jack Morris, on his final year of being on the ballot, was on 67.7% of the ballots and Jeff Bagwell was on 59.6% of the ballots to round out the top three.
Of course the real story leading into the election was how Bonds and Clemens would fare, and again, the writers took a stance against steroids as Bonds was on 36.2% of ballots and Clemens 37.6% of ballots. I am in no way surprised they didn’t get in, but I am surprised that neither of them cracked the 40% mark. I am not going to dive into whether they should be in or not, but I am going to complain about something else.
First, when these writers receive their ballots they should be answering the question that is being asked of them, “is X player a Hall of Famer?” That’s it! Not is this guy a first ballot Hall of Famer, or since this guy played in the steroid era should he suffer too? The latter question I am referencing someone like Jeff Bagwell. Bagwell is one of the best players that I ever saw play the game, and since he played in the steroid era, he is being labeled as a possible user and writers are not voting for him, even though he never tested positive or indicted or anything of the sort, but some writers are treating him as if he did steroids or HGH. Another player that could be victim of this is Mike Piazza, I am shocked he was only on 57.8% of the ballots. It is a shame that Bagwell and Piazza are suffering because of the era they played in.
Second, someone like Craig Biggio, who easily has Hall of Fame numbers doesn’t get elected because “he is not a first ballot Hall of Famer.” It is obsurd to not vote for someone because it is their first time on the ballot, again the question the voters are supposed to answer is whether or not X player is a Hall of Fame player!
Next year will certainly not be another shutout as Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Jeff Kent and Mike Mussina headline the list of first timers. It will be interesting to see how Kent and Thomas fare, considering they are in the same boat as Piazza and Bagwell, but Maddux will get in, and Glavine likely will as well. Honestly, I do not feel that Mussina has Hall of Fame numbers anyway, but now a question voters will need to ask themselves is, “if I believe a pitcher is clean of steroids, should his numbers be looked at differently since he pitched against hitters who were using steroids?”
The Baseball Hall of Fame is at an unfortunate time in its existence due to this “steroid era,” but players will continue to get elected to the Hall and at some point a controversial player will get in, and then we will see a wild reaction.