By Nick Picerno, Courier Sports Writer
For the first time since 1996, baseball writers fail to elect single person to Hall of Fame.
After much anticipation, the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot was revealed on Wednesday afternoon. It was a first year class that featured controversial figures such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, and Craig Biggio. These players, coming out of what is known as the “Steroid Era” in baseball, were examined from a different perspective than others. These players who put up numbers that would garner nothing other than endless praise otherwise, have been viewed with a great amount of skepticism due to the possible use of performance enhancing drugs. So when the ballot was revealed and it showed that not one player had been elected, it displayed the inability of the writers to elect someone who was potentially involved with PEDs.
This lack of support for first year players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens was foreseen, but not to the extent that presented itself on the ballot. Bonds only received 36.2 percent of the vote, while needing 75 percent to be elected. Clemens, who also was not anywhere near the necessary 75 percent, got a slightly higher, 37 percent. Retribution against these two was expected due to both players attitude toward writers and suspicious people who questioned their integrity. Despite this low number of votes, expect next year for their total to jump significantly, for many writer have publicly stated that they simply withhold a vote for the first year, and vote for them the second year. This form of “punishment” or “payback” has been widely questioned by numerous people who are extremely outspoken against any steroid users, or potential users for that matter, that are elected to the Hall of Fame.
No matter what the outcome next year, this year will be remembered by many as a failed opportunity to elect several worthy candidates that were outshined by the steroid spotlight. Players like Jack Morris, Tim Raines, or even Craig Biggio who is considered by many to be a worthy first ballot entry, are now having to wait another year. Hopefully next year worthy players will be elected and over shadow the sad reality of the steroid issue.