COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — The three men representing the Hall of Fame Class of 2013 have different credentials but one thing in common: They've all been dead for more than 70 years.
The afternoon ceremony at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will honor pioneers Jacob Ruppert, Hank O'Day and James "Deacon" White, after baseball writers failed to elect anyone for the second time in 42 years.
Outrage over performance-enhancing drugs kept out accused steroid users Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens. It also appeared to affect the candidacies of seeming locks with no obvious connections to PEDs such as Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza and Craig Biggio.
"When December rolled around and the ballots were out for completion, it started to dawn on us that there was a better-than-likely chance that the writers might not come to a 75 percent vote on anyone this year," Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said. "Disappointed? Yes, because we feel there are candidates on the ballot who certainly deserved consideration. But surprised? No."
What is likely to be one of the oddest ceremonies in years comes in the midst of the Biogenesis scandal, which has resulted in the suspension of Ryan Braun and an anticipated punishment for Alex Rodriguez, among others.
Several of the 34 Hall of Famers who attended Saturday night's reception at the museum expressed mostly frustration.
"This year, it's kind of sad," former Cardinals great Bob Gibson told cbssports.com.
"Guys cheated, created an uneven playing field — I don't have any sympathy for them," Orioles legend Brooks Robinson said. "There's probably a group out there that will never get caught. Who knows?"
Gibson, however, was willing to pass judgment, telling the website the scandal has not changed his opinion of Braun and Rodriguez.
"No," Gibson said. "They're both really good ballplayers. What surprises me is that the guys who are the best ballplayers in the world thought they needed to do that.
"But I've gotta say, if it had been me and I thought that somebody else was getting a little bit of an edge, I'm not so sure I wouldn't have done the same thing. I just don't know. … I'm glad I didn't have to make that decision. You guys would be talking about me instead of them."