• Bill Althaus: Hall of Fame vote is indictment on major leagues

  • The dramatic impact of steroid abuse in Major League Baseball was never more evident than Wednesday afternoon.

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  • The dramatic impact of steroid abuse in Major League Baseball was never more evident than Wednesday afternoon.
    That’s when the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame announced that none of the 37 nominees on this year’s ballot received the 75 percent of the vote necessary to be inducted into the baseball shrine.
    There were 24 first-time candidates on this year’s ballot, including all-time home run king Barry Bonds (36.2 percent of the vote) and seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens (37.6).
    Both of their career achievements were clouded by alleged performance enhancing drugs use.
    Houston’s Craig Biggio, a first-year candidate who wasn’t suspected of PED use, also came up short despite finishing his career with 3,060 career hits. He was the leading vote-getter with 68.2 percent of the vote.
    The last time Hall of Fame voters pitched a shutout was 1996. I have been a voter for more than two decades and am now a lifetime member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
    I believe Biggio was a victim of poor timing as many writers appeared to be strident in their voting and left off a player who deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
    I voted for Biggio on my ballot.
    “The results are evident that the voters were more serious about this exercise than any other ballot they have filled out,” Hall of Fame president Jeff Idleson said in a national conference call. “The standards for earning election to the Hall of Fame have been very high ever since the rules were created in 1936.
    “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.
    Former sluggers like Sammy Sosa (12.5), Mark McGwire (16.9) and Rafael Palmeiro (8.8) also fell well short in their bid for induction. The only way they will probably ever enter the Hall is if they purchase an admission ticket.
    Another all-time record holder, Pete Rose, who holds the major league record for base hits, was not eligible for the voting process because he is banned from the sport for betting on baseball.
    This is a dark day for baseball, although Idleson said there will still be a Hall of Fame induction scheduled for 12:30 p.m., July 28 at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y.
    The 2013 class will be made up of former umpire Hank O’Day, one-time New York Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert and 19th century player Deacon White, all of whom were elected by the Pre-Integration Committee.

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