Cooperstown, NY (World Wide Gamble) - For the first time since 1996, the Baseball Writers' Association of America will not be electing anyone to the Hall of Fame.
Eligible candidates needed to be named on 75 percent of the 569 ballots submitted by members of the BBWAA, meaning 427 votes were necessary for election. Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio came closest by nabbing 68 percent of the vote, falling just 39 votes short of election.
This is the eighth election by the BBWAA that did not produce a Hall of Famer.
"The standards for earning election to the Hall of Fame have been very high ever since the rules were created in 1936," said Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson. "We realize the challenges voters are faced with in this era. The Hall of Fame has always entrusted the exclusive voting privilege to the Baseball Writers' Association of America. We remain pleased with their role in evaluating candidates based on the criteria we provide."
Other players named on more than half the ballots were pitcher Jack Morris with 385 (67.7 percent), first baseman Jeff Bagwell with 339 (59.6), catcher Mike Piazza with 329 (57.8) and outfielder Tim Raines with 297 (52.2).
Of course this ballot will long be remembered as the one that first featured all-time home run king and seven-time MVP Barry Bonds, as well as seven-time Cy Young Award winning right-hander Roger Clemens.
While there is no argument that Bonds and Clemens were two of the best to ever play the game, their careers have been tarnished for their alleged use of performance enhancing drugs.
Bonds, who set the all-time mark in home runs with 762 over 22 seasons and also set the single-season mark for homers with 73 in 2001, was named on 206 ballots (36.2 percent), while Clemens, a 354-game winner over the course of his 24-year career, received 37 percent of the vote.
"To ignore the historic accomplishments of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, for example, is hard to justify," said Major League Baseball Players Association Executive Director Michael Weiner. "Moreover, to penalize players exonerated in legal proceedings -- and others never even implicated -- is simply unfair. The Hall of Fame is supposed to be for the best players to have ever played the game. Several such players were denied access to the Hall today. Hopefully this will be rectified by future voting."
Other holdovers who will remain on the ballot in addition to Biggio, Morris, Bagwell, Piazza and Raines are first basemen Mark McGwire, Fred McGriff, Don Mattingly and Rafael Palmeiro; pitcher Lee Smith; shortstop Alan Trammell; designated hitter-third baseman Edgar Martinez and outfielder Larry Walker.
First-year candidates who received sufficient support to remain in addition to Biggio and Piazza were pitchers Curt Schilling and Clemens and outfielders Bonds and Sammy Sosa.
Outfielder Dale Murphy, in his 15th and final year on the ballot, received 106 votes (18.6). There were also 19 candidates who failed to make the cut this year (29 votes) - 18 of the 24 players who were on the ballot for the first time, plus outfielder Bernie Williams, who was on the ballot for the second time.
So with nobody new being elected, the Class of 2013 will feature umpire Hank O'Day, former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert and 19th Century star Deacon White, all of whom were elected by the Pre-Integration Era Committee in December, as well as Ford C. Frick Award winner Tom Cheek and Spink Award winner Paul Hagen.
Enshrinement will take place on July 28.