Baseball writers elect no one to Hall of Fame
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It's the eighth time in 70 years of voting, and the first since 1996, that no players were elected by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
Smithtown native Craig Biggio, in his first year on the ballot, received the most votes (68.2 percent) from the eligible members of the BBWAA. A player must be named on 75 percent of the ballots to join the immortals in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Biggio, who had 3,060 hits in a 20-year career with the Astros, fell 39 votes short of induction. He is the only eligible member of the 3,000-hit club other than steroid-tainted Rafael Palmeiro to not be in the Hall. But he still has 14 more years on the writers' ballot and a good chance of being elected eventually.
Once again, the voters have spoken decisively about players tainted by an association with performance-enhancing drugs. All-time greats Clemens (37.6 percent) and Bonds (36.2 percent), each in his first year of eligibility, did not come close. Sammy Sosa and his 609 home runs garnered just 12.5 percent. Mark McGwire (16.9 percent) and Palmeiro (8.8 percent) continued to be hurt by their associations with steroids.
Clemens, on his verified Twitter account, posted a picture of a statement. It read:
"After what has been written and said over the last few years I'm not overly surprised. Thanks to all the teams I've worked with and to fans and friends for all the fantastic letters, voice mails, and texts of support over the last few years. To those who did take the time to look at the facts . . . we very much appreciate it. . . . Muchie Peachie, Rocket."
"Muchie Peachie" is slang for "much appreciated."
Piazza, the all-time home run leader among catchers with 396 of his 427 total, also could be considered a casualty of the steroid era. Piazza never has been directly linked to steroids, but suspicions were apparently enough to convince some to leave him off the ballot.
"We hope in the not too distant future that Mike Piazza will take his rightful place in the Baseball Hall of Fame," Wilpon said. "The statistics he compiled as a catcher were unmatched by anyone in the history of the game. We are optimistic one day soon Mike's plaque, with a Mets cap, will be hanging in Cooperstown where it truly belongs."
Major League Baseball issued a statement supporting the "long-standing process that the Hall of Fame has in place and the role of the BBWAA."
"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."
Clemens was found not guilty last summer of lying to Congress when he said he didn't take PEDs. Bonds was convicted of one count of obstruction of justice in 2011 for hindering a grand jury investigation into steroid trafficking.
Among others on the ballot, pitcher Jack Morris, who missed by only 48 votes last year, didn't get a boost this year. He got 67.7 percent in his next-to-last year of eligibility.
Former Yankee Bernie Williams (3.3 percent) did not get the required 5 percent to stay on the ballot. Don Mattingly got 13.2 percent in his 13th year of eligibility. Two-time NL MVP Dale Murphy, in his 15th and final year on the ballot, received 18.6 percent. Other notable first-timers included three-time World Series champion Curt Schilling (38.8 percent) and former Yankee David Wells (0.9 percent).
Rounding out the top five: Biggio, Morris, Jeff Bagwell (59.6 percent), Piazza and Tim Raines (52.2 percent).
According to the Hall of Fame, 569 ballots were cast, the third-highest total ever. Five were left blank.
The Hall's pre-integration committee previously elected Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, umpire Hank O'Day and 19th-century catcher Deacon White. They are the Hall of Fame's Class of 2013 and will be posthumously inducted on July 28.
With Cody Derespina