The Baseball Hall of Fame Will Be Missing Some of Baseball’s Best Players Ever | Smart News | Smithsonian
Current Issue
July / August 2014  magazine cover
Subscribe

Save 81% off the newsstand price!

Keeping you current

The Baseball Hall of Fame Will Be Missing Some of Baseball’s Best Players Ever

For just the second time in forty years, not a single player was inducted this year. Not Barry Bonds, not Roger Clemes, not Sammy Sosa—nobody

smithsonian.com

Image: US Navy

To get into the baseball Hall of Fame, you must be really good at baseball and be voted in by a body of baseball writers. There are players out there who have checked that first box. But this year, none of them met that second condition. For just the second time in forty years, not a single player was inducted in the Hall of Fame this year. Not Barry Bonds, not Roger Clemes, not Sammy Sosa—nobody.

The vote is a clear statement against steroid use in Major League Baseball. Many of the players up for consideration have been linked to or accused of steroid use. For the voters, that’s a deal breaker. The San Francisco Chronicle writes:

In a clear referendum on baseball’s steroid era, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, in perhaps its most-debated election in history, voted nobody into the Hall of Fame, according to results released on Wednesday. Not Bonds, who spent 15 of his 22 big-league seasons with the Giants, and not pitcher Roger Clemens, both soundly defeated in their first appearances on the ballot. The two were easily the most polarizing of the 37 candidates on the ballot.

The Washington Post says that many players aren’t surprised:

“After what has been written and said over the last few years I’m not overly surprised,” Clemens said in a statement he posted on Twitter.

And a lot of pre-steroid hall of famers are happy about it. The Washington Post writes:

“Curt Schilling made a good point, everyone was guilty. Either you used PEDs, or you did nothing to stop their use,” Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt said in an email to The Associated Press after this year’s vote was announced. “This generation got rich. Seems there was a price to pay.”

“I’m kind of glad that nobody got in this year,” Hall of Famer Al Kaline said. “I feel honored to be in the Hall of Fame. And I would’ve felt a little uneasy sitting up there on the stage, listening to some of these new guys talk about how great they were. … I don’t know how great some of these players up for election would’ve been without drugs. But to me, it’s cheating.”

But a lot of current baseball fans and players aren’t so thrilled. Here’s what Michael Weiner, the Major League Baseball Players Association’s executive director had to say:

Today’s news that those members of the BBWAA afforded the privilege of casting ballots failed to elect even a single player to the Hall of Fame is unfortunate, if not sad. Those empowered to help the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum document the history of the game failed to recognize the contributions of several Hall of Fame worthy players.

To ignore the historic accomplishments of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, for example, is hard to justify. 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.

And if you look at the achievements of Bonds, Sosa, Clemens and the rest of the shunned class, it’s hard to deny their importance to baseball. Barry Bonds was the MVP of the MLB seven times. He’s hit 762 home runs. Rodger Clemens has won the Cy Young Award seven times and ranks third in the history of baseball in career strikeouts. Sammy Sosa hit 609 home runs in his career.

But when future baseball fans look back at the Hall of Fame and the greatest players that ever played, not one of them will be there.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Baseball on the Screen
How Babe Ruth Changed Baseball

Tags
About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

Read more from this author |

Comment on this Story

comments powered by Disqus