In the 75 years in which the Baseball Writers of America gathered to decide who was worthy of entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, only one time previously did the writers not elect someone into the Hall. With the rise of players with numbers tainted by performance-enhancing drugs, the BBWA have decided that the old rules need not apply and that if a player seems to be tied to steroids, they’re not worthy of the hall. No one was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame for the class of 2013 (at least not by writer vote).
Three of the steroid era’s biggest names, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Roger Clemens, were all denied entry. None of them tested positive for steroids, and in the case of Roger Clemens, he was acquitted on perjury charges related to steroid use, but the accusations and the preponderance of circumstantial evidence against them was enough to keep them out. Even Mike Piazza, the greatest hitting catcher in baseball history who never tested positive for anything and was not entangled in the Mitchell report, failed to make the Hall because of the rumors dogging him (and his terrible defense, but that’s another matter).
I imagine by the time A-Rod retires and heads for the Hall, his reception will be a lot different, but with the steroids era players edging towards the end of their careers, even supposedly clean, honest players like Jim Thome may have trouble getting into Cooperstown when their achievements a generation ago would have made them first ballot entries.
Tags: cooperstown, new york, baseball hall of fame, baseball, hall of fame voting, barry bonds, sammy sosa, roger clemens, mike piazza, performance enhancing drugs, PEDs, baseball writers of america, bbwa, no one added to the hall of fame, no one added to the hall of fame for the second time in 40 years, baseball hall of fame inducts no one, unusual events, voting, performance-enhancing drugs