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Baseball Hall of Fame gets no new members for first time in 17 years

Ted Ballantine

Steroid use has the 2013 ballot surrounded in controversy

Steroid use mars 2013 ballot as Sosa, Bonds fail to gain entrance to Cooperstown

The Baseball Hall of Fame netted no new members in the 2013 vote, the first time since 1996 and only the eighth time in history no players have been selected to Cooperstown. 

The 569 members of the Baseball Writer’s Association of America, the entity that votes players into the Baseball Hall of Fame, failed to push any player over the 75 percent-of-the-vote threshold required to gain entrance to the Hall. 

The 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot was marred by players suspected of using performance enhancing drugs during baseball’s now-infamous “Steroid Era”. Players on the ballot included Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens, all players who broke records at a prolific pace but later became surrounded by controversy for their role in steroid scandals. 

Sammy Sosa, a one-time MVP, garnered just 12.5 percent of the vote, leading some observers to believe he will never get into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Sosa issued a statement saying, “We are still winners and there is always next time.”

Barry Bonds, seven-time MVP and the all-time leader in home runs, tallied a meager 36 percent of the vote, while seven-time Cy Young award winner Roger Clements gained only 37 percent of the vote.

A few players did come close to entering the Baseball Hall of Fame, including Jeff Bagwell, former Astro’s first baseman, who received 59 percent of the vote. He was beat out by teammate Craig Biggio, who gathered 68.2 percent of the vote but still fell short of the 75 percent required to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame. Notably, the two were never associated with steroid use. 

Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson told the Chicago Tribune: “Obviously, no one in Cooperstown was rooting for a shutout, but we have a great respect for the process.”

Players remain on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for 15 years, and only 21 percent get elected to the Hall their first time. Still, some find it hard to believe the notable names that didn’t get voted in.

“To ignore the historic accomplishments of Barry Bond and Roger Clemens…is hard to justify,” baseball players union chief Michael Weiner told the media on Wednesday. “Moreover, to penalize players exonerated in legal proceedings–and others never even implicated–is simply unfair.”

The 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot is considered to be a better bet in terms of electing players, as many haven’t been accused of steroid use. That ballot includes Frank Thomas and Greg Maddux. 

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