The selection process for baseball’s Hall of Fame is normally one of the most exciting times of year for fans and for voters, as they get the rare chance to see their favorite stars become enshrined forever amongst the greatest players in the history of the game in Cooperstown.
However, this year a somber mood and a dark cloud hung over the proceedings, as a large portion of the candidates were either alleged, or confirmed steroid users. The ultimate question for voters was: Do their achievements in the game outweigh the steroid use?
For this year’s group of baseball writers, the answer was a resounding no, as they denied entry to all of the candidates in the 2013 class, including Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro. It marked only the second time in the past four decades that a class has come up empty.
The voters’ message was made perfectly clear. If you use steroids and get caught, you will be condemned, outcast and will never gain the respect of baseball, no matter how great your career might have been.
“I think as a player, a group, this is one of the first times that we’ve been publicly called out,” Curt Schilling said via ESPN.com. “I think it’s fitting. … If there was ever a ballot and a year to make a statement about what we didn’t do as players — which is we didn’t actively push to get the game clean — this is it.”
Even players on the ballot who had never been questioned about cheating seem to have been affected by the cloudy atmosphere. Craig Biggio led all candidates by receiving 68.2% of the vote, just shy of the 75% he needed to get in to the most exclusive club in the sport. His longtime teammate Jeff Bagwell with the Houston Astros came in third and greats like Schilling and Mike Piazza, who some would say is the greatest hitting catcher ever, were shut out. Here’s a look at the complete ballot:
“With 53 percent you can get to the White House, but you can’t get to Cooperstown,” BBWAA secretary-treasurer Jack O’Connell said. “It’s the 75 percent that makes it difficult.”
Of course, most of these players will be up for consideration several more times, as players are allowed 15 opportunities to be voted in before officially being held out of the Hall. This year two-time NL MVP Dale Murphy received just 18.6% of the vote in his 15th and final chance at immortality.
So what does this mean for bettors? Well, for one thing, if you considering betting a Hall of Fame prop next year, just know that the voters and the league still smell plenty of stink and they aren’t likely to change their minds on this group of players any time soon.