Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

No players elected to National Baseball Hall of Fame

Once all the yelling subsided and the results were announced Wednesday, the lasting residue of the first real "Steroids Era" Hall of Fame voting was quiet.

No sounds of celebration over election. And no speeches to be given at the annual summer ceremony in Cooperstown, N.Y.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America voters delivered a shutout, just the second in the last 40-plus years, failing to elect any candidates, whether linked to performance-enhancing drugs or not.

Former Astros star Craig Biggio came the closest to the 75 percent standard, with 68.2 percent, 388 of the 569 votes cast, with pitcher Jack Morris next at 67.7. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, two players who would have been overwhelming choices if not for the steroids issues, both got less than 38 percent. (Tampa's Fred McGriff received 20.7 percent, a slight drop from last year's 23.9.)

"I think as a player, a group, this is one of the first times that we've been publicly called out," pitcher Curt Schilling, who received 39 percent of the vote, told ESPN.

"I think it's fitting; unfortunately, I think there's some players who got dragged into the muck, Craig Biggio was one. If there was ever a ballot and a year to make a statement about what we didn't do as players — which is we didn't actively push to get the game clean — this is it."

The lead-up to the announcement was filled with rancorous debate, as voters (who have to be 10-year members of the BBWAA), current Hall of Famers, candidates, present players and fans all attempted to sort through a convoluted and controversial process. The 569 ballots were four fewer than last year and included five blanks (down from nine), which factored into the percentage.

Players union chief Michael Weiner called the voting "unfortunate, if not sad."

"To ignore the historic accomplishments of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, for example, is hard to justify," he said. "Moreover, to penalize players exonerated in legal proceedings — and others never even implicated — is simply unfair. The Hall of Fame is supposed to be for the best players to have ever played the game. Several such players were denied access to the Hall today. Hopefully this will be rectified by future voting."

Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris, told the Associated Press: "It is unimaginable that the best player to ever play the game would not be a unanimous first-ballot selection."

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, however, said he had no issues with the result.

"This is not to be voted to make sure that somebody gets in every year," he told the AP. "It's to be voted on to make sure that they're deserving. I respect the writers as well as the Hall itself. This idea that this somehow diminishes the Hall or baseball is just ridiculous in my opinion."

Hall of Famer pitcher Jim Palmer said he was more concerned with the impact on other candidates. "The problem is for a guy like Fred McGriff, who never had any kind of accusations and had almost 500 home runs, or Dale Murphy,'' he told the Baltimore Sun. "Their numbers pale (in comparison), and people forget how good they were. That's the tragedy."

While some voters have said they are opposed to voting for any player connected to PEDs, others indicated they voted No now but might change their opinion.

Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson suggested a long-range view as players get to stay on the ballot for 15 years.

"It's a tough period for evaluation, that's what this chalks up to," he said. "Honestly, I think that any group you put this to would have the same issues. … There's always going to be discussion and concern about players who didn't get in, but at the end of the day it's a process and again, a snapshot in time isn't one year, it's 15 with this exercise."

To maintain interest in the July 28 ceremony, which still includes Pre-Integration Committee electees umpire Hank O'Day, Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert and 19th-century player Deacon White, the Hall also will honor 12 previous enshrinees who didn't have formal inductions, topped by Lou Gehrig and Rogers Hornsby.

First-timers on next year's ballot include three near locks, former Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and ex-White Sox slugger Frank Thomas.

Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Steven Souza Jr. on Rays’ roster moves: ‘This is not a shocker’

Steven Souza Jr. on Rays’ roster moves: ‘This is not a shocker’

PORT CHARLOTTE — RF Steven Souza Jr. returned to camp Tuesday after missing four days while he went home to Seattle to attend to a family matter.When asked if everything was okay, Souza said, "Right now. We'll just leave it at that."S...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
After whirlwind few days, C.J. Cron joins Rays

After whirlwind few days, C.J. Cron joins Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE – C.J. Cron knew he was spending Tuesday night in a Punta Gorda hotel. Beyond that, he knew little of his future with the Rays."I haven't talked to anybody about anything really," Cron said.The right-handed hitting first baseman ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Who is new Rays 1B/DH C.J. Cron? 10 things to know

Who is new Rays 1B/DH C.J. Cron? 10 things to know

Acquired Saturday night from the Angels (for a player to be named – a minor-leaguer, and not a top prospect), 1B/DH C.J. Cron is expected to join the Rays today in Port Charlotte.Here are 10 things to know about him:1. Full name: Christopher Jo...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays tread new turf (literally) for second straight year

Rays tread new turf (literally) for second straight year

PORT CHARLOTTE — Tropicana Field is getting new turf — again.Shaw Sports will replace the surface installed last spring in a mutual decision with the Rays that it did not look as good — from the stands or on TV — as expected.T...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Longtime fan Dick Vitale sounds off on Rays’ latest roster moves

Longtime fan Dick Vitale sounds off on Rays’ latest roster moves

Longtime and extremely popular ESPN college basketball announcer Dick Vitale is arguably the Rays' most prominent fan.The Lakewood Ranch resident has season tickets adjacent to the visitors' dugout at Tropicana Field and is often seen at Rays games.A...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Is ‘The Ray Tank’ a noun, or a verb?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Is ‘The Ray Tank’ a noun, or a verb?

The name of the Rays’ new blog, "The Ray Tank’’, inadvertently took on new meaning for fans following the departures of Jake Odorizzi and Corey Dickerson this past weekend.Rick Stroud has the latest from Port Charlotte in his latest podcast, as Kevin...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Ray Tank: Fans have fun with name of team’s new blog

Ray Tank: Fans have fun with name of team’s new blog

Rays fans upset about the team's recent moves found the perfect target for their ridicule Monday when the team announced the name of its new blog.The Ray Tank.Announcing... The Ray Tank!Our new blog will have behind-the-scenes stories, photos, and mo...
Updated: 3 hours ago
As Kevin Kiermaier blasts changes, Rays see empowered Kevin Cash as stabilizer

As Kevin Kiermaier blasts changes, Rays see empowered Kevin Cash as stabilizer

PORT CHARLOTTE — The list of those no longer with the team was going to be noteworthy no matter what Monday as the holdovers, newcomers and wannabes gathered for the first full-squad workout in Camp Dis-A-Ray.Then even before Rays manager Kevin...
Published: 02/19/18
Rays journal: Matt Andriese not mad (but not happy either) with move to bullpen

Rays journal: Matt Andriese not mad (but not happy either) with move to bullpen

PORT CHARLOTTE — Having spent the offseason preparing for a spot in the rotation, RHP Matt Andriese said he was initially "shocked" when told Sunday that he will begin the season in the bullpen."Ultimately, I'm not happy with the decision," And...
Published: 02/19/18
The Yankees’ show of shows is off and homering

The Yankees’ show of shows is off and homering

TAMPA — Move over, Hamilton.The show of shows began Monday at Steinbrenner Field. The Boss would have loved it. Yankees shock and awe began during the first full workout. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton took batting practice. The mere sight o...
Published: 02/19/18