As I mentioned in my article yesterday there was a chance that no one would be elected to Cooperstown this year and, indeed, that is what happened.
In order to be inducted, a player must receive 75% of the vote of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros garnered 68.2% of the vote followed by Jack Morris (67.7%), Jeff Bagwell (59.6%), Mike Piazza (57.8%), Tim Raines (52.2%) and Lee Smith (47.7%).
Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, who at one time would have been first ballot Hall of Famers, received 37.6% and 36.2% on their first ballots, respectively. Meanwhile, Sammy Sosa received only 12.5% of the vote.
For the first time since 1996, the BBWAA did not elect a player to the Baseball Hall of Fame. But at least, baseball fans got to see the induction of pitcher turned Senator Jim Bunning and long time Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver courtesy of the Veterans Committee that year.
The only living inductee in 2013 is Paul Hagen who is being awarded the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for baseball writing. The Ford C. Frick Award is being bestowed posthumously on Toronto Blue Jays radio broadcaster Tom Cheek. Actually, writers and broadcasters don’t get a plaque but are honored in a seperate wing of the Hall.
The three men getting plaques have been dead for decades – umpire Hank O’Day, New York Yankees owner Jake Ruppert and 19th century third baseman Deacon White.
Nothing wrong with honoring baseball’s early history but players who are alive and well should be honored as well. Buck O’Neil and Ron Santo were both honored a year too late.
Let me put it another way. There may be some vacant rooms on Chestnut Street during Hall of Fame Weekend in July.
The only good thing that might come out of it is that there will be a lot of inductees next year – Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Jeff Kent, Biggio & Bagwell and, hopefully, Jack Morris. Next year is Morris’ final year on the ballot.
Maddux, Glavine and Morris make one hell of a starting three.
UPDATE: Five members of the BBWAA left their ballots blank as a protest against the so-called steroids era. And what exactly do Jack Morris and Alan Trammell have to do with the steroids era?
They deny Craig Biggio his rightful place in Cooperstown because he happens to be a contemporary of Bonds and Clemens?
Can you say collective punishment?
And what of Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza? Do these BBWAA have evidence they did anything wrong?
They would probably respond with a blank stare.