Jan 9, 2013, 2:02 PM EDT
It’s possible that this year’s Hall of Fame ballot was the most stacked in the history of the institution. It contained the all-time home run leader. It contained a seven-time Cy Young award winner who may have been the best pitcher in baseball history since the deadball era. It contained the best hitting catcher of all time. It contained a middle infielder who got to 3,000 hits while flashing superior defense and power. It sported a 609-home run hitter a 583-home run hitter, the second best leadoff hitter in the history of the game and at least five others who, had they been inducted, would not be close to the worst players to make the Hall of Fame.
And none of them got in. Not a one. For the first time since 1996, all candidates on the ballot failed to receive the requisite 75% required for induction. The leading vote getter was Craig Biggio, who received 68% of the vote. Jack Morris received 67.7%, Jeff Bagwell received 59.6% of the vote, Mike Piazza 57.8% and Tim Raines at 52.2%. No other player received more than 50% of the vote. Roger Clemens received 37.6% of the vote and Barry Bonds received 36.2%. Each of those last two received totals far below even the most pessimistic predictions. The full results can be seen here.
The biggest takeaway from all of this: the Baseball Writers Association of America has, for the first time, unequivocally decided that the use of performance enhancing drugs is a disqualifier for induction to the Hall of Fame. It was suspected that this was the case given Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro falling short in previous years, but there are some reasonable non-PED arguments against those fellows’ candidacies. Not so with Bonds and Clemens. They were so good and so accomplished that, to paraphrase Bill James, you could cut them in half and have two hall of famers each. Maybe three, actually. Their exclusion is solely because a large portion of the electorate believes that one cannot take steroids and call Cooperstown home.
Which, while understandable, flies in the face of baseball history. There are almost certainly already steroids users in the Hall of Fame. Indeed, Hall of Fame voter and Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell said on camera, in Ken Burns’ “Tenth Inning” that he witnessed a current Hall of Famer taking steroids during his playing career. Maybe his fellow voters ignored him. Maybe, since that player’s induction, whoever he is, their attitudes have changed. Either way, there is certainly now a historical inconsistency baked into the Hall of Fame. And in no event can anyone who applauds today’s voting results do so on the basis of the Hall of Fame maintaining its purity, for its purity is pure fantasy.
But just as the BBWAA has now clearly stated that drug users are not wanted in the Hall of Fame, it has apparently likewise erected a near-impossible hurdle for those not associated with PEDs to bound, regardless of their merits.
Craig Biggio had 3,000 hits. Tim Raines was one of the best players of the 1980s. Curt Schilling has three World Series rings, was dominant in the playoffs, and was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball for several years when being a pitcher in baseball was about as hard as it has ever been. While I disagree that we should keep the PED players out, I at least understand the impulse. What’s the point of keeping out guys like Biggio, Raines and Schilling? What’s the point of the Hall of Fame if no one can get in in a year as talent-rich as this one?
But that’s where we are. Not one of the players on the ballot made it in. The induction ceremony in Cooperstown, New York this summer will honor three men – Hank O’Day, Jacob Ruppert, and Deacon White — who were elected by the Veterans Committee last month. All three of those men have been dead since the 1930s, so I don’t presume it will be a joyful gathering of family and friends reminiscing about their storied pasts. It’ll be more like a memorial service.
Which is somewhat appropriate given that, with their votes, the current electorate is, in this writer’s view, hastening the Hall of Fame to its doom.
Jul 12, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT
The Indians and Angels made a small deal on Saturday, swapping a lefty reliever for cash.
Jul 12, 2014, 10:05 PM EDT
The American League has added a reliever rather than a starter with David Price giving up his spot on the roster for the All-Star Game.
Jul 12, 2014, 9:10 PM EDT
Brian Dozier made a nifty play at Coors Field to get an out at home plate on Saturday.
Jul 12, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT
The Astros may get their center fielder back on Friday if all goes according to plan.
Jul 12, 2014, 7:20 PM EDT
Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz will take batting practice and work on blocking baseballs. The hope is to begin a rehab assignment by the weekend.
Jul 12, 2014, 6:25 PM EDT
The Pirates added some relief depth, signing Rafael Perez to a minor league deal on Saturday.
Jul 12, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT
A pair of neck surgeries limited Nolan Reimold to just 56 games between 2012-2013 and now he’s dealing with a calf strain.
Jul 12, 2014, 4:29 PM EDT
White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez was forced to exit this afternoon’s game against the Indians in the top of the fourth inning due to back stiffness.
Jul 12, 2014, 4:14 PM EDT
Reds first baseman Joey Votto has received platelet-rich plasma injections in an effort to get past his lingering quad injury.
Jul 12, 2014, 3:02 PM EDT
This is the first All-Star selection for Henderson Alvarez.
Jul 12, 2014, 2:01 PM EDT
The Pirates are focused on adding pitching in advance of the July non-waiver trade deadline.
Jul 12, 2014, 1:08 PM EDT
Jean Segura has returned to his native Dominican Republic following the death of his nine-month-old son yesterday.
Jul 12, 2014, 12:20 PM EDT
Brandon Phillips underwent surgery yesterday to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb and now the Reds will be without one of the potential options to fill in at second base.
Jul 12, 2014, 11:36 AM EDT
There’s increasing evidence that Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton is not of this world.
Jul 12, 2014, 10:53 AM EDT
Jake Odorizzi will move up in the rotation to start this afternoon. The hope is that Price will feel well enough to pitch tomorrow.
Jul 12, 2014, 10:22 AM EDT
The previous record was held by Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter, who went 39 consecutive appearances with a strikeout in 1977.
Jul 12, 2014, 9:38 AM EDT
At the very least, Jordan Zimmermann will not be able to pitch in the All-Star Game next week. His availability beyond that is up in the air.
Jul 12, 2014, 8:56 AM EDT
A quick recap of a busy Friday around MLB, including another loss for the Brewers.
Jul 11, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT
The AL Roster swaps one injured Tiger for a healthy one. Ian Kinsler will replace Victor Martinez.
Jul 11, 2014, 10:35 PM EDT
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle doesn’t expect Gerrit Cole to return to the club shortly after the All-Star break.
- Reds hope to get Joey Votto back for the “stretch run” 7
- Jean Segura leaves Brewers following the death of his nine-month-old son 47
- Settling the Score: Friday’s results 32
- Rangers catcher Geovany Soto arrested for marijuana possession 63
- Babe Ruth made his major league debut 100 years ago today 50
- Rockies owner: “maybe Denver doesn’t deserve a franchise . . . maybe time for it to find a new home” 80
- And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights 33
- Masahiro Tanaka diagnosed with partially-torn UCL in elbow 114
- Shocker: the Red Sox publicly criticize A.J. Pierzynski after cutting him (191)
- John Lackey on Nelson Cruz: “Not even going to comment … I’ve got nothing to say about him” (143)
- Masahiro Tanaka diagnosed with partially-torn UCL in elbow (114)
- The 2014 All-Star rosters have been announced (103)
- Giants broadcaster says Angel Hernandez “does not belong in the big leagues” (102)