The Baseball Writers of America elected no one to the Hall of Fame for the first time since 1996 in what's being largely seen as a rebuke of the "steroid boom" that consumed Major League Baseball and many of its record-holders in the late '90s.
Despite the presence of career home-run leader Barry Bonds, all-star pitcher Roger Clemens, and catcher Mike Piazza, no one received enough votes from the writers to earn passage into the hall. A player has to earn the vote of at least 75 percent of the group to be inducted into Cooperstown. Based on informal initial polling, it was expected that Bonds or Clemens weren't going to get voted in. The predicted percentages were accurate to within about 4 percent. Bonds and Clemens were directly implicated for using performance-enhancing drugs — this was the first year several players who were thought to have used steroids were up for the vote.
The New York Times's Nate Silver explained on Tuesday how the suspicion of steroid use was likely to keep out Bonds and Clemens. Despite a view from some writers that Bonds and Clemens deserve to be inducted for what they accomplished before their alleged juicing periods, Silver explains that this is a larger sign of how baseball wants to look back on that particular time in the history books:
But it does seem fair to say that the vote on Bonds and Clemens is close to being an up-or-down referendum on whether suspected steroids user are fit for the Hall of Fame; they are not borderline cases otherwise. As such, the vote on Bonds and Clemens provides a useful benchmark for how writers are handling the steroids issue — and how it may be affecting the vote on players for whom the evidence of steroids use is circumstantial at best.
As in, it doesn't want to acknowledge it at all.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.