Nobody Elected into MLB Hall of Fame

There were a handful of players who were expected to easily make it into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.  However, in an unexpected turn of events, nobody made the cut.

The favorites were Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Craig Biggio, and Sammy Sosa.  Unfortunately, none of these players were able to obtain the required number of votes to be inducted to the Hall of Fame.

Pitcher Roger Clemens has 24 years of major league experience under his belt (1984-2007).  In 1986 he was crowned the American League MVP after recording 24 regular season wins and leading the Boston Red Sox to a World Series appearance.  That same year, he broke the record for most strikeouts in a game (20) against the Seattle Mariners.  Since then, only 2 pitchers have matched that record (Kerry Woods and Randy Johnson).  However, he remains the only pitcher to do it twice; the second time being in 1996 against the Detroit Tigers.  He won the first of his 7 Cy Young (best pitcher) awards in 1986.  On June 21, 1989, Clemens gave up the first of Sammy Sosa’s 609 career homeruns, who was ironically another Hall of Fame favorite this year.

Clemens made the move to the Toronto Blue Jays for the 1997 and 1998 seasons.  In those 2 years, he won both Cy Young awards and achieved 2 Triple Crown awards (lead the league in wins, strikeouts, and ERA).  The Triple Crown has only been achieved 38 times in MLB history.

Roger Clemens was apart of the New York Yankees from 1999-2003.  In that time, he lead them to back-to-back World Series victories (1999 and 2000).

On June 13, 2003, Clemens recorded his 300th win and his 4000th career strikeout while pitching against the St. Louis Cardinals.  This has never been accomplished in the same game.  To date, only 21 pitchers have achieved such a feat.

Outfielder Barry Bonds was another player who was expected to make it to the Hall of Fame.  Bonds played in the MLB for 21 years (1986-2007) going back and forth between the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants.  His 7 MVP awards are the most earned by any one player.  He also won 8 Gold Glove awards.

However, in 2007, Barry Bonds was accused of using performance enhancing drugs, perjury, and obstruction of justice.  Although he was only proven guilty of the obstruction of justice accusation, many baseball fans, analysts, and experts still believe he used steroids.  Bob Nightengale, a sports writer for USA today, wrote an article discussing the potential Hall of Fame winners and their steroid use.   In the article, he wrote, “Do I still believe they cheated? Absolutely.  Do I have proof? No.”  This is exactly why many accused of steroids are in the Hall of Fame or are still considered to be future Hall of Famers.  Although many think players have used steroids, they can only suffer consequences if they have been convicted of doing so.  Bonds was not.  Therefore, he cannot be ineligible for the Hall of Fame based on steroid use.  He was however, ineligible for the 2011 Hall of Fame because of the obstruction of justice.

Craig Biggio received more votes this year than any other potential Hall of Famer with 68.2% of the votes.  Over the course of his 19 year MLB career (1988-2007), he earned 4 Gold Glove awards and appeared in 7 All-Star games. Biggio also earned the Silver Slugger award (best offensive player) his rookie year.  In addition to achieving these  prestigious awards throughout his career, Biggio holds a rather unusual record: the hit-by-pitch record.  He was hit by a pitch a record 287 times, and according to The Baseball Page, his teammates started calling him the “King of Hit Batsmen.”

In 2008, one year after his retirement, Biggio’s number 7 jersey was retired by the Houston Astros due to his outstanding performance at second base as well as catcher.  Craig Biggio was constantly being toggled back and forth between the two positons.

The final favorite was right-fielder Sammy Sosa.  Sosa first started off with the Texas Rangers in 1989.  The first couple years of his career were significantly below average.  In 1990, he had the fourth most strikeouts in the American League (150).

In 1991, Sosa was traded to the Chicago Cubs; which is where he would spend the majority of his MLB career.  His performance started increasing soon after being traded.  He played his first All- Star game in 1995.  In 1998, Sosa and Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals were involved in what was nicknamed the “home run record chase”.  McGwire and Sosa were in a neck-and-neck race to break the single-season homerun record (61).   Both ended up breaking the previous record; however McGwire came out on top with 70 while Sosa had 66.

Sosa was awarded the National League MVP in 1998 after leading the Cubs to the playoffs.

He was also suspected of steroid use.  But as mentioned previously, no consequences can be enforced unless he is convicted; which he was not.

However, Sammy Sosa has done what very few have dared to do: use a corked bat.  On June 3, 2003, Sosa’s bat broke during a game aginst the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.  After breaking, the corked area of the bat was visible and officials ejected Sosa from the game immediately.

By using a corked bat, Sosa was able to swing faster, thus creating more power, because his bat was lighter.  According to an article written by Daniel A. Russell titled “Physics and Acoustics of Baseball & Softball Bats”, there are many other advantages to using a corked bat than just a faster swing.  One of these advantages include that the center-of-gravity is slightly towards the handle, thus giving the player a much more controlled swing.  Those of you who wish to learn more about corked bats can read the article at http://www.acs.psu.edu/drussell/bats/corkedbat.html

Many think that the main reason why nobody was elected into the Hall of Fame this year is because of the controversial steroid use.  Many voted for not-so-great players simply because they didn’t want to vote for the all-stars who have been suspected of using performance enhancing drugs.

How does one get elected into the Hall of Fame you might ask?  Well, every year the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) vote to see who makes the cut.  Each member of the BBWAA gets three votes per ballot.  A player or coach must receive a vote from at least 75% of all members from the BBWAA.  Unfortunately, sometimes it works out to where nobody makes it to the Hall of Fame; as exhibited this year.  The last time nobody made it into the hall of fame was in 1996.