MLB Hall of Fame 2013: Voting Analysis and Looking Forward to 2014

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The MLB Hall of Fame voting was announced at 2pm Eastern this afternoon and not a single person was elected.  The highest percentage of the vote went to Craig Biggio with 68.2 percent of the vote.  The second highest was Jack Morris with 67.7 percent.  Barry Bonds received 36.2 percent and Roger Clemens received 37.6 percent.

What this means is that voting members of the Baseball Writers Assocation of America has determined that any tie to steroids or other PEDs, either through admission, a positive test or even just whispers (Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza), you will not be inducted into the Hall of Fame.  The BBWAA is like Gandalf facing off against the Balrog in The Fellowship of the Ring, yelling, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!”

Many of the voters complained about “how tough this ballot was” because all the “no-doubt” Hall of Famers on the list have PED ties.  However, the voters don’t know what tough is until the 2014 ballots arrive this November and along with Craig Biggio, Roger Clemens, Jeff Bagwell, Barry Bonds, Mike Piazza and Tim Raines, the names of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Mike Mussina will be added.  This doesn’t even count players such as Fred McGriff, Jack Morris, Edgar Martinez, Curt Schilling and Alan Trammell who will be holdovers from this year ballot as well.  By my count, that’s at least 15 players (18 if you count Palmeiro, Sosa and McGwire) who deserve consideration, if not an outright vote.  Plus, you have everyone else on the ballot who received over 5% to remain on the ballot (only 19 of the 37 players listed received less than the 5% and will not be on next year’s ballot) and all the other players that will be on the ballot (but really aren’t Hall of Famers).  Next year’s ballot may just be the best ballot top-to-bottom in baseball history (if you ignore the PED ties and look solely at the numbers and awards of the players).  If voters didn’t like the “10 player limit” this year, it’s really going to hurt them next year.

While I understand to a point why the voters didn’t induct any player with ties to PEDs, this doesn’t explain why a player like Dale Murphy or Tim Raines (players whose best years were in the 1980s) didn’t receive more support.

The Hall of Fame itself cannot be happy with this result (the first election since 1996 that didn’t result in a player being elected).  The celebration and ceremony in July will only be for three people, all of who died over 50 years ago – umpire Hank O’Day, catcher Deacon White and Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert.  The Hall of Fame and the city of Cooperstown is not going to like the low turnout that July weekend.

 The Hall of Fame is slowly becoming an afterthought because of the inaction of the media and MLB during the “Steroid Era” and due to inaction on its own part and MLB’s part not to issue any guidance to the voters regarding how to handle players from this era.  There may come a time when the Hall of Fame will simply be irrelevant and that will be a damn shame to all baseball fans and historians.

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