In a year that featured, for the first time, some of the most dominant players at their positions in baseball history, including seven-time MVP Barry Bonds and seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, the Baseball Writers Association of America did not elect a single player for induction into Cooperstown.
Craig Biggio, in his first year on the ballot, led the voting with 68.2 percent, short of the 75 percent standard for election. Jack Morris, in his 14th year on the ballot, was second with 67.7 percent.
This year marks the first time since 1996, and the eighth overall, that the BBWAA declined to elect a single player to the Hall of Fame. The electorate showed clear division about what to do with newly eligible players such as Bonds (36.2 percent), Clemens (37.6 percent), Mike Piazza (57.8 percent) and Sammy Sosa (12.5 percent) who were on the ballot for the first time, all of whom spent their careers playing during what is widely viewed as an era that was collectively (even if not necessarily individually) tainted by performance-enhancing drugs.
Notable returnees to the ballot, in addition to Morris, included Tim Raines (52.2 percent), Lee Smith (47.8 percent), Mark McGwire (16.9 percent) and Rafael Palmeiro (8.8 percent).
First-time eligible pitcher Curt Schilling, baseball’s all-time modern leader in strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 216-game winner who proved a signature contributor to three championship teams (one with the Diamondbacks, two with the Red Sox), received 38.8 percent of the vote in his first year on the ballot.
Players who spent a minimum of 10 years in the big leagues are eligible for consideration to the Hall after they’ve been retired for five full seasons. So long as they receive at least 5 percent of the vote in any given year, they can remain on the ballot for up to 15 years.
Writers with 10 or more consecutive years of membership in the BBWAA comprise the electorate. Votes had to be cast by Dec. 31.
For the full results of the voting, visit BBWAA.com.
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