In a bit of an oddity, no players were selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame Wednesday, even though several of them were eligible. This year’s crop of players included Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. There’s no doubt that these were all excellent ball players, but all three of them were also associated with performance-enhancing drugs.
This was just the second time in the last 40 years and eighth time overall that none of the eligible players received the 75-percent of votes needed to be inducted into the hall in Cooperstown. Other players that failed to earn enough votes included Lee Smith, Jeff Bagwell, Jack Morris, Curt Schilling, Tim Raines, Mike Piazza and Craig Biggio.
Sosa, Clemens, and Bonds all retired at the conclusion of the 2007 season and were eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time this year. They will still be eligible for induction for the next 14 years.
However, it was Biggio who came the closest to earning the votes, needed as he received 68.2-percent of votes from the total of 569 ballots. Biggio is currently No. 20 on the all-time hits list with 3,060, but he needed another 39 votes to reach 75-percent.
In comparison, Sosa received just 12.5-percent of votes while Bonds garnered 36.2-percent and Clemens 37.6-percent. Morris received 67.7-percent with Bagwell at 59.6, Piazza with 57.8, Raines at 52.2, Smith at 47.8 and Schilling with 38.8-percent.
But even though none of the players will enter the hall, the ceremonies will still take place in Cooperstown on July 28 as Deacon White, Hank O’Day and Jacob Ruppert will be inducted. Ruppert is a former owner of the New York Yankees while O’Day was an umpire and White was a barehanded catcher. All of them passed away more than 70 years ago.
Former slugger Jose Canseco, who admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during his career, said the players need to organize legal action against Major League Baseball or its writers because there’s no evidence that players such as Clemens, Sosa and Bonds cheated by taking steroids. Jeff Idelson, who is president of the Hall of Fame, said he wishes at least one player would be inducted, but he’s not surprised that none of them will be due to the era they played in.
On statistics alone, Bonds would have been a shoo-in. He was an MVP a league-record seven times who slugged a league-high 762 homers, including a record-setting 73 in one season back in 2001. However, he was found to have lied before a grand jury back in 2003 after being indicted on charges of using performance-enhancing drugs. He was convicted two years ago of a count of obstruction of justice.
Clemens won the Cy Young award a record seven times during his career and his 354 wins are ninth best all time. His 4,672 strikeouts are good for fourth in baseball history. In 2012 he was acquitted on a count of obstruction of Congress as well as counts of perjury and making false statements to Congress. All of these charges were connected to his alleged use of steroids while playing.
Sosa tested positive for drug use back in 2003 and finished his career with 609 homers, good for eighth in MLB history. However, in 2005, he stated that he never took illegal drugs when questioned by a congressional committee.