Baseball writers fail to elect any players to Hall of Fame

Baseball writers fail to elect any players to Hall of Fame
January 9, 2013, 7:24 pm
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The contentious, divisive, and hotly debated process in this years Hall of Fame voting yielded little in the way of consensus for both voters and observers.

It also resulted in no players being elected to the Hall of Fame. There were 568 ballots cast, with 427 votes (75 percent) needed for election. With many players being snubbed by voters because of admitted, or suspected, use of performance-enhancing drugs, no one reached that plateau.

It underscores the great detail and thought process, of the voting process, Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said on MLB Network. It also shows how difficult it is to earn election.

Reaction to the shutout was mixed. Major League Baseball respected the decision:

Major League Baseball recognizes that election to the Hall of Fame is our games most extraordinary individual honor. Achieving enshrinement in Cooperstown is difficult, as it should be, and there have been seven other years when no one was elected by the Baseball Writers Association of America. While this year did not produce an electee, there are many worthy candidates who will merit consideration in the future. We respect both the longstanding process that the Hall of Fame has in place and the role of the BBWAA, whose members have voted in the Hall of Fames elections since 1936.

But the Major League Baseball Players Association did not:

Todays news that those members of the BBWAA afforded the privilege of casting ballots failed to elect even a single player to the Hall of Fame is unfortunate, if not sad. Those empowered to help the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum document the history of the game failed to recognize the contributions of several Hall of Fame worthy players. To ignore the historic accomplishments of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, for example, is hard to justify. Moreover, to penalize players exonerated in legal proceedings -- and others never even implicated -- is simply unfair. The Hall of Fame is supposed to be for the best players to have ever played the game. Several such players were denied access to the Hall today. Hopefully this will be rectified by future voting.

It is the first time since 1996 that no players were elected were elected by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Players can remain on the ballot for up to 15 years as long as they receive at least 5 percent of the votes in the previous year.

In '96, the Veterans Committee elected former Orioles manager Earl Weaver and pitcher Jim Bunning. Prior to that, the last time the BBWAA failed to elect anyone was 1971. The Negro League Committee elected Satchel Paige that year.

This year will be the first time since 1960 the Hall of Fame will host an induction ceremony with no living inductees. However, the induction ceremony, scheduled for the weekend of July 26-28, will still be held in Cooperstown.

The Hall announced in December at the winter meetings in Nashville that umpire Hank ODay, Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, and 19th century catcherthird baseman Deacon White had been elected by the Pre-Integreation Era Committee. All are long deceased.

Additionally, long-time Philadelphia writer Paul Hagen will be honored with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award and Tom Cheek, who broadcast the Blue Jays' first 4,306 games, will be honored posthumously with the Ford C. Frick Award.

Craig Biggio led all candidates with 68.2 percent, 39 votes shy of election. Jack Morris, who will be on the writers' ballot for the last time next year, was next with 67.7 percent, followed by Jeff Bagwell (59.6 percent), Mike Piazza (57.8), and Tim Raines (52.2).

The players who instigated much of the voting debate fell well under the threshold. Roger Clemens was named on 214 ballots, receiving 37.6 percent in his first year on the ballot, while Barry Bonds was right behind him at 36.2 percent, being named on 206 ballots.

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling was named on 221 ballots, earning 38.8 percent of the vote.

Dale Murphy, who got just 18.6 percent of the votes in his final year on the ballot, will now need to rely on the Veterans Committee if he is going to get in.