SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – In an apparent statement on the suspected use of performance-enhancing drugs, no player has been elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, following a vote by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Steroid-tainted stars Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa were among those denied entry to Cooperstown.
Bonds received just 36.2 percent of the vote, Clemens 37.6 and Sosa 12.5 in totals announced Wednesday by the Hall and the BWAA. They were appearing on the ballot for the first time and have up to 14 more years to make it into the Hall.
Craig Biggio, 20th on the career list with 3,060 hits, topped the 37 candidates with 68.2 percent of the 569 ballots, 39 shy of the 75 percent needed. Among other first-year eligibles, Mike Piazza received 57.8 percent and Curt Schilling 38.8
Jack Morris led holdovers with 67.7 percent. He will make his final ballot appearance next year, when Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine are eligible for the first time.
Bonds has always steadfastly denied using performance enhancing drugs, even after being convicted of obstructing justice during the BALCO steroids investigation.
Bay Area sportswriter Susan Slusser, who says she did not vote for any suspected steroid users, believed the percentage of votes for or against Bonds would’ve been more even.
“Opinions seem so split down the middle, I thought it would be closer to 50 percent. But it was lower.” said Slusser. “I don’t know if people thought about it a little more or maybe, a large number of the voting membership is retired sports writers and sports editors. Maybe there was disapproval of steroid use from some of the older guard of the BBWAA.”
Slusser said the opinions of current Hall of Fame members held much sway.
“I was at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony last July and every Hall of Fame player that was there was saying either on or off the record, ‘We do not want the steroid guys in the Hall of Fame. It besmirches the Hall of Fame.’ I think that carries some weight,” said Slusser.
Slusser believes that at some point, she expects Bonds and Clemens to both gain entrance to the Hall of Fame.
Since 1965, the only years the writers didn’t elect a candidate were 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 were chosen the following years when they achieved the 75 percent necessary for election.
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