NEW YORK – Baseball writers rejected a star-studded list of candidates for the Hall of Fame, refusing to vote in players with eye-popping statistics due to suspicion that their numbers were inflated by steroid use.
The results of the voting by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, unveiled Wednesday, showed that none of the Cooperstown hopefuls garnered the necessary 75 percent of the ballots needed for induction.
It marked just the seventh time the BBWAA did not select a single player to the Hall, the other years being 1945, 1946, 1950, 1960 and 1971.
As expected, career and single-season home-run king Barry Bonds, Dominican slugger Sammy Sosa and 300-game winner Roger Clemens were denied entry because of the performance-enhancing-drug suspicions surrounding their exploits.
Bonds was indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges for allegedly lying to a federal grand jury when he testified that he did not knowingly take steroids. He was eventually convicted in 2011 on the obstruction of justice charge.
Clemens was accused by his former trainer of doping but has vehemently denied the allegations and was acquitted last year of lying to Congress when he denied in 2008 that he had ever taken PEDs.
Sosa, for his part, has denied steroid use.
Bonds received just 36.2 percent of the vote, while Clemens got 37.6 percent and Sosa managed just 12.5 percent. It was the first time on a Hall of Fame ballot for all three.
All will be on next year’s ballot again because they surpassed the minimum 5 percent threshold.
Bonds holds the all-time home-run record with 762, won a record seven National League Most Valuable Player Awards, and was honored with eight Gold Glove awards for his defense.
Clemens notched 354 wins for his career, making him one of just 24 pitchers to achieve that milestone. All eligible pitchers on that list besides “the Rocket” have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The former starting pitcher had a lifetime 3.12 E.R.A., notched 4,672 strikeouts, third all-time, and won a record seven Cy Young Awards.
Sosa, meanwhile, had 609 career home runs, which puts him eighth on the all-time list, and he and Mark McGwire took part in a memorable chase to break the single-season home-run record in 1998, a duel credited with reviving interest in baseball four years after a players’ strike.
That chase, however, has since been tarnished by suspicion that both Sosa and McGwire were on steroids, and the latter – who temporarily held the single-season home-run record with 70 until Bonds broke it three years later – has since admitted to PED use throughout his career.
McGwire was on the Hall of Fame ballot for the seventh time this year, but received just 16.9 percent of the vote.
With the biggest names not even close to induction, former Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio was the biggest vote getter with 68.2 percent of the ballots. EFE