As expected, it was announced earlier today that the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) elected no one to the Baseball Hall of Fame for the first time in 17 years.
The Class of 2013 was not lacking superstars, with Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens being eligible for the first time. Of course, those two names are at the forefront of the baseball steroid conversation in the 1990s and early 2000s. Craig Biggio, who has over 3,000 career hits, led the way with 68% of the vote, seven percent short of the required 75% to be inducted. This will be the first time since 1996 that the BBWAA has not elected anyone to the Hall of Fame.
It’s a shame, really. You have the all-time home run champion, the greatest power hitter and on-base man ever to play the game, and he can’t even garner half of the votes. Say what you want about Bonds’ sketchy past, it was never proven that he took any sort of substance that enhanced his performance. In fact, it’s never been proven at all that steroids, amphetamines and human growth hormone make it easier to actually hit a baseball, as in make contact, or throw strikes as well as Bonds and Clemens did respectively.
It just goes to show you what a stubborn dinosaur the BBWAA truly is. Bonds and Clemens aren’t the only ones being vilified by the writers. Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and several others are being held out of Cooperstown since they were in the thick of one of the darkest eras in professional sports. It is a shame that our childhood heroes are being punished for using drugs that were being used by probably over half of the Major League Baseball players during their careers in the ‘90s and 2000s.
So now, there aren’t any heroes to be remembered in upstate New York this summer, and Doubleday Field will sit empty in July. Earl Weaver was the only person inducted into Cooperstown in 1996. I’m sure the veteran’s committee will find someone to induct this summer, but it won’t be someone we idolized while we were growing up.
It’s an interesting debate. Are the likes of Bonds and Clemens in the wrong because they were using PEDs in a time when pretty much everyone else was doing it? Doesn’t it mean something that they still outperformed hundreds of other players who were also using steroids? Apparently not.
Image via ShedAvenue