We can now add yet another asterisk to the respective legacies of Barry Bonds
and Roger Clemens -- they managed to keep their entire class of peers
out of the Hall of Fame.
Results of Cooperstown balloting have been released, and for the first time since 1996, no one gained enshrinement. Former Astros All-Star Craig Biggio came closest, but not even his 3,000 hits could overcome the taint of the two rankest names on the ballot, who continue to defile the sport five years after retiring. Biggio received 68.2 percent of the vote, falling 39 votes shy of enshrinement.
It's been reported that five writers sent in blank ballots, which in turn drove up the number of votes needed to gain enshrinement, since players need 75 percent of the votes cast to get in.
And why would anyone turn in a blank ballot, of course, but as a means of protest against Clemens and Bonds, the two faces of steroids in baseball -- and along with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, all of professional sports -- even though they each last stepped on the field in 2007, when the Red Sox won their second World Series of the decade, and the Hall of Fame class featured legends Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn.
Clemens did slightly better than Bonds, earning 214 votes (37.6) percent, to 206 for Bonds (36.2 percent). But neither was anywhere near the number (427) required for enshrinement, which is an indictment of the way they've handled themselves since landing at the center of the steroids controversy and single-handedly doing more to keep the issue alive than any active players.
Because so many voters view these two as the face of a disgraced era, they took it out on the rest of the class. In another year, Biggio probably gets in on the first ballot, while Jack Morris (385 votes, 67.7 percent) maybe gets over the hump in his 14th and penultimate year on the ballot. But instead we have this -- no one living heading to Cooperstown this summer, and none of the biggest stars of the '80s and '90s getting their day.
If deserving players like Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, and Curt Schilling are wondering what happened, they have Roger and Barry to thank.
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