Hall of Fame Voters Reject Barry Bonds -- Resoundingly
Barry Bonds, perhaps the greatest baseball player of all time, will not be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this year.
He didn't even get close: Just 36.2 percent of baseball writers named him on their ballot. Bonds' misery, however, will have company. In a resounding, all-encompassing rejection of the Steroid Era, not a single player in this year's eligible class of candidates received the necessary 75 percent of votes for induction.
Roger Clemens, perhaps the greatest pitcher of his generation, got around 37 percent of votes. Clemens, like Bonds, is among the pool of players that most reasonable baseball observers assume took steroids. Sammy Sosa, also in that suspected group, was named on 12.5 percent of ballots.
There was a strong correlation between a candidate's vote share and the likelihood he cheated. Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza, less spectacular players than Bonds and Clemens, got 59.6 and 57.8 percent, respectively. While the cloud of suspicions hovers over their statistics, neither was caught up in federal investigations, unlike Bonds and Clemens, and, as a result, there was far less damning evidence against them.
Craig Biggio, a speedy second baseman who has not been suspected of taking steroids, came the closest, with 68.2 percent of votes.
Bonds' rejection marks the clearest signal for how Hall of Fame voters will be handling Steroid Era superstars. Bonds won seven MVP awards, more than any player ever. He won eight Gold Gloves and was a 14-time All-Star. He's hit more home runs in a single season than any player ever, and more home runs over the course of a career than any player ever. He's the only player to have hit 500 home runs and stolen 500 bases. No other player has even done 400 of both.
But to voters, his likely steroid use renders all that moot.