For just the eighth time in history, no player was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year. Results of the voting were released on Wednesday, revealing that not a single individual managed the required seventy-five percent of votes to be admitted. With close to six hundred ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, long-time Astro Craig Biggio was the closest to breaking the three-quarters mark, finishing thirty-nine votes short. Jeff Bagwell, Jack Morris, Mike Piazza, and Tim Raines rounded out the top five.
A number of headline makers in the recent past were also included in this year's voting, including Curt Schilling, Rodger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa. Schilling, Clemens, and Bonds did the best of the bunch, earning seventh, eighth, and ninth, respectively. Between themselves, the three were only separated by less than twenty votes.
Meanwhile, McGwire and Sosa, famous for their duel in the 1998 homerun chase, each finished unexpectedly low in the poll. McGwire, winner of the chase fourteen years ago, again bested Sosa with ninety-six votes. Sosa ended-up with seventy-one, though both achieved the needed five percent of the overall vote to stay on the ballot for next year.
Theree Brewers were on the ballot for the first time this year, as well. Though none managed the five percent to be eligible again next January, former infielder Julio Franco topped out the group with six votes. Jeff Cirillo and Royce Clayton both earned no votes.
The inability to select a hall of famer this year is just the second time since 1971 that such an event has happened. 1996 was the most recent incidence, until Wednesday.
Idelson Explains Reasons For Snubbing Everyone
Jeff Idelson, president of the Hall of Fame, admitted that there were likely many reasons that no player could muster the near four hundred votes required to be inducted this year, though he thinks the prevalence of players active during the turn of the century was the main factor. Idelson explained that the late nineties and early two-thousands were the heyday of supposed steroid use in major league baseball. Evidenced by McGwire's and Bonds lowly conclusions in the poll, Idelson reasons that voters strayed from any one player because of possible tarnishes to his performance.
The president also touched on the fears of some older players on the ballot, many who have just one year left of eligibility. Morris, the most storied of these unfortunate souls, saw his fourteenth try at the Hall of Fame end with disappointment on Wednesday, leaving him with just one more go at a coveted place in sporting history. Players have just fifteen years that they can remain on the ballot, and nineteen candidates this year either succumbed to that fate or did not receive five percent of the vote after multiple years of eligibility.
For Morris, his is an uphill battle. Finishing second this time-around, he will be joined by a wave a next generation players who will be up for selection in 2014.