What previously looked like a strong possibility has become a confirmed and controversial certainty. Despite a field loaded with qualified candidates, no one will be elected to the Hall of Fame the writer's ballot this year. It's the first time that's happened since 1996 and the 16th overall since 1940, though none of those years featured such a deep crop of candidates nor such a divisive issue like PED abuse.
BBWAA.com has the full results of the voting and it's clear the writers were able to send the anti-drug message that they intended. Barry Bonds (36.2 percent) and Roger Clemens (37.6) didn't come close to getting the 75 percent of the vote necessary for election their first time on the ballot. Neither did Mike Piazza (57.8) or Sammy Sosa (12.5). Craig Biggio led all players with 68.2 percent of the vote and was just 39 votes short of election. He was followed by Jack Morris (67.7 percent), Jeff Bagwell (59.6), Piazza and Tim Raines (52.2).
But none of them will see their plaques hoisted alongside the plaques for the three dead inductees from the veteran's committee — Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, umpire Hank O'Day and deadball-era player Deacon White — in late July. That should make for a dreadfully boring induction weekend.
A few thoughts, observations and notes:
• Bonds and Clemens being shutout despite being the all-time career home run leader and a seven-time Cy Young winner is the big headline, but the bigger question is how many years they'll have to serve in this purgatory. Both men received percentage totals in the 30s and it's hard to say how many who voted 'no' will treat future votes. How many plan to let this be just a one-year punishment? How many plan for it to be a two or more year statement? How many never plan to vote for Bonds or Clemens? With Curt Schilling garnering a higher vote total for both men, it seems likely we'll be going through this process for many more years before Bonds or Clemens ever see the inside of the hall.
• Though this summer will be a thin one in rural New York, we're looking at the chance of a nicely-populated class of 2014. Biggio will almost certainly make the jump to get voted in while Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas will be first-timers on the ballot. Piazza and Bagwell could also make decent jumps, though both will likely still fall inexcusably short.
• Jack Morris may not be as lucky as he enters his 15th and final year of the ballot. The pitcher received 66.7 percent of the vote in 2012 and it looked like he might reach 75 percent in 2013. However, he received only a 1 percent increase to 67.2 and it's looking likely that his divisive candidacy could fall victim to a crowded ballot that limits each voter to only 10 picks.
• With only 12.5 percent of the vote, it looks like Sammy Sosa will never get into the Hall of Fame. Home run chase buddy Mark McGwire got 21.5 percent his first time on the ballot in 2009 and has fallen every year since, receiving only 16.9 percent of this year's vote.
• As long as we're talking about that happy band of buddies from Capitol Hill, Rafael Palmeiro received just 8.8 percent of the vote and was just 22 votes away from being dumped off the ballot. He'll face his fourth year of eligibility in 2014 and it could well be his last.
• Writers are only too happy to dock candidates on the character clause, but they won't bend the other way. All-time good guy Dale Murphy received just 18.6 percent of the vote and will fall off the ballot having now appeared for 15 years. His dominant peak didn't last very long, but it'll be interesting to see if the veterans committee inducts Murphy in the future.
• The biggest names to fall off the ballot were Kenny Lofton (3.2 percent in his first year of eligibility) and Bernie Williams (3.3 in his second). Other notable players receiving the boot were David Wells (0.9), Julio Franco (1.1) and Shawn Green (0.4).
• Just asking: Who the heck was the one guy who voted for Aaron Sele?
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