On Wednesday, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America did not elect a single player to the Hall of Fame – not Roger Clemens and his seven Cy Young Awards, nor Barry Bonds and his 762 home runs.
“No one is going into Cooperstown in 2013, and that ceremony, which is supposed to be so celebratory, is going to be deadly quiet, and that is just not right,” ESPN.com writer, Hall of Fame voter, and Only A Game baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian told Bill Littlefield.
Kurkjian said his job as a voter has gotten increasingly difficult.
“I’m not sure there is any way to get it right anymore,” Kurkjian said. “And this is my really big concern. I spent hours on my ballot. I must have gone through it 100 different ways, and I wasn’t happy with any of the ways I filled out my ballot.”
Kurkjian voted for the maximum 10 players – including Clemens and Bonds – but several voters left their ballots blank, opting not to include any players who have been linked to performance-enhancing drugs.
Kurkjian said the issue of PEDs has added a level of complexity to voting.
“I still am not comfortable as the moral arbiter here. I’m certainly not comfortable as a scientist who is supposed to decide exactly what steroids do,” Kurkjian said. “This is the predicament I have, and it’s going to get worse as we move forward.”
One reason it’s going to get worse is that while players like Bonds and Clemens remain on the ballot, every more players with Hall-of-Fame-caliber numbers will become eligible. On next year’s ballot, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina, Frank Thomas and Jeff Kent will be added to the current crop of nominees.
“It’s entirely possible that 20 guys on next year’s ballot I’m going look at and say, ‘This guy has a legitimate case for the Hall of Fame,’ and I’m only going to be able to vote for 10 of them,” Kurkjian said.
Even so, Kurkjian predicted that Bonds and Clemens could gain admission, although it might take some time.
“Maybe there will be a spike next year where people say, ‘All right, I punished you the first year. I’m not putting you on the first ballot as a protest, and I’ll put you on the second year,’” Kurkjian said. “But I don’t think those guys, Clemens and Bonds, are going from [a voting percentage in] the mid-30s to the mid-50s in one year. I just don’t see it.”
“If Clemens and Bonds get in – and I’m not sure they are – it’s going to take all 15 years for that softening process to be completed,” Kurkjian added.