Wednesday, January 09, 2013

and the 2013 Hall of Fame inductees are ...

No one was elected to the Hall of Fame this year. When voters closed the doors to Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa, they also shut out everybody else.

For only the second time in four decades, baseball writers failed to give any player the 75 percent required for induction to Cooperstown, sending a powerful signal that stars of the Steroids Era will be held to a different standard.

All the awards and accomplishments collected over long careers by Bonds, Clemens and Sosa could not offset suspicions those feats were boosted by performance-enhancing drugs.

Voters also denied entry Wednesday to fellow newcomers Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling, along with holdovers Jack Morris, Jeff Bagwell and Lee Smith.

Biggio, 20th on the career list with 3,060 hits, appeared on 68.2 percent of the 569 ballots, the highest total but 39 votes shy. The three newcomers with the highest profiles failed to come close to even majority support, with Clemens at 37.6 percent, Bonds at 36.2 and Sosa at 12.5.

Other top vote-getters were Morris (67.7), Jeff Bagwell (59.6), Piazza (57.8), Tim Raines (52.2), Lee Smith (47.8) and Schilling (38.8).

Bonds, baseball's only seven-time Most Valuable Player, hit 762 home runs, including a record 73 in 2001. He was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs but a jury two years ago failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer.

''It is unimaginable that the best player to ever play the game would not be a unanimous first-ballot selection,'' said Jeff Borris of the Beverly Hills Sports Council, Bonds' longtime agent.

Clemens, the only seven-time Cy Young Award winner, is third in career strikeouts (4,672) and ninth in wins (354). He was acquitted last year on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

Since 1961, the only years the writers didn't elect a candidate had been when Yogi Berra topped the 1971 vote by appearing on 67 percent of the ballots cast and when Phil Niekro headed the 1996 ballot at 68 percent - both got in the following years. The other BBWAA elections without a winner were in 1945, 1946, 1950, 1958 and 1960.

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