(NEW YORK) — Two of Major League Baseball’s all-time greats are on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year, and despite stats that make them look like shoo-ins, it’s likely neither will be enshrined in Cooperstown this summer.
Barry Bonds, baseball’s home run king, and Roger Clemens, the owner of more Cy Young awards than any other pitcher, are eligible for the Hall this year, and based solely on their numbers, both would be obvious first-year inductees.
However, both players’ extraordinary careers were tainted by steroid use during baseball’s “Steroids Era.”
In nearly all offensive categories, Bonds is among the best ever — the recipient of a record-setting seven MVP awards and 14 All-Star appearances. Clemens ranks near the top in career wins and strikeouts. But steroid use is the ultimate lightning rod in baseball, and both men have been at the center of the controversy.
In order to make it to Cooperstown, a candidate must be named on 75 percent of the about 600 ballots sent to Baseball Writers Association of America voters. Players are to be elected according to their “record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to [their] team.”
This year, several of the 37 players listed on the ballot were implicated for performance enhancing drug use during the steroids era.
A number of baseball writers have publicly released their ballots, with explanations of why they did or did not vote for the candidates. There is a chance that this year, based on the ballots that have been made public so far, none of the eligible players will be elected into the Hall.
Two other faces of the so-called “Steroid Era,” Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, whose home-run derby of a 1998 season captured the attention of the nation, are also both on the ballot this year.
It’s McGwire’s seventh year on the ballot (last year, he appeared on 19.5 percent of ballots), and Sosa’s first. Based on the votes that have been made public, it doesn’t appear likely that either will make it into the Hall this year.
The results of the vote will be announced at 2 p.m. ET on MLB Network and streamed live on Baseballhall.org.
Players who make the cut will be inducted in Cooperstown on July 28, along with umpire Hank O’Day, executive Jacob Ruppter, and catcher Deacon White, all of whom were elected by the Pre-Integration Era Committee.
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