Nobody will be inducted in to the Baseball Hall of Fame in the Class of 2013. The Baseball Writers Association of America, for the eighth time in the history of the hall of fame, elected nobody to their class this year on Wednesday.
Among the former Phillies on the ballot this year included Curt Schilling (38.8%), Kenny Lofton (3.2%) and Jose Mesa (0%). Players appearing on the ballot need to receive 75% of the votes in order to be elected to the Hall of Fame.
On MLB Network after the announcement, longtime baseball analyst Peter Gammons said he believed because of the fallout of the PED and steroid issue surrounding a number of big names on the ballot, Schilling might have been able to get elected this year with voters looking for someone to vote in this year. Clearly, not enough support was there for Schilling, who won two World Series rings away from Philadelphia but had one of the more memorable World Series pitching performances with the Phillies in 1993.
This year's ballot was the first to feature some of the game's biggest names in the modern era. First-year ballot players Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa and seven-year ballot player Mark McGwire all failed to receive enough votes to be elected. It goes without saying these players are among the big names tied to the tainted steroids era in baseball.
Much will be debated about whether or not these players should be in or not. You can make cases for players using sabremetrics that were not around in the 1980s and 1960s as much as you can make a case against other players using the advanced methodology. In the same respect you can debate how much value should be placed on use of PEDs or not. How these affect your view on greatness is your own right.
To be honest, I do not care.
To me the Hall of Fame is not just to honor those who performed great on the baseball diamond but also those who did acted the right way in doing so. Unfortunately, there are a number of players who were far from role model material but the way we perceive players and their accolades changes by generation. In today's game the baseball writers will not be willing to accept players who supposedly ruined the game. I might even agree with the idea that some players tainted the game. They did. But at the same time I have a difficult time taking a Hall of Fame seriously if it does not include the game's best players.
Bonds was a Hall of Fame player before he got jealous of the home run chase between McGwire and Sosa. Yes, what these three men did ruined one of the game's pure treasures, but at the same time the writers who celebrated these chases are now frowning upon it. In this scenario, nobody seems to win. The players, the writers and the fans. This debate is not going anywhere, that's for sure.
In all honesty, I have more of a problem with voters elected to adopt a policy that prohibits them from voting for a player the first year on the ballot regardless of the character, numbers and issues surrounding the player. If a voter chooses to take a year off to reassess a player based on the PED issues, that is fine, but some voters just will not vote for a player the first year on the ballot even if their name is Nolan Ryan, Mike Schmidt or Cal Ripken Jr. This makes absolutely no sense.
Longtime Houston Astro, and noted Phillies killer, Craig Biggio received the highest percentage of votes in his first year on the ballot. Biggio received 68.2% of the votes, suggesting that he could one day receive enough votes to be elected to the hall, perhaps even as soon as next year depending on how many voters kept him off their ballots due to the equally asinine logic that says they cannot vote for a player on the first ballot. Either they are a Hall of Fame player or not, if you ask me. I expect Biggio to be elected within the next couple of years. Longtime teammate Jeff Bagwell looks to have a shot at the Hall of Fame after receiving 59.6% of the votes in his third year on the ballot. He has a way to go, so we'll see what happens moving forward.
Second on the ballot was Jack Morris, who missed out on the hall in his 14th year on the ballot with 67.7% of the votes. Entering his final year of eligibility before being passed on to the veterans committee down the line, there may be a push made by some to get him elected next year. I'm not sure whether or not Morris is a Hall of Fame player, and after 14 years apparently I am not alone.
Schilling received 38.8% of the votes in his first year on the ballot. That number should not be considered too surprising. Many seem to feel Schilling has a very good chance to be inducted someday, especially when considering his postseason results. We may have to wait a while to see it happen.
The good news for baseball fans is next year will most certainly have at least one player inducted in with the Class of 2014. Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine all appear to be first-ballot hall of fame players that will be eligible next season. It would only be fitting to see Maddux and Glavine be inducted together after so many years together in Atlanta. A case could be made for Mike Mussina and Jeff Kent at some point, although maybe not as first-ballot players.