Today was the day that the Hall of Fame voting results were revealed. For only the eighth time in history, the induction class will be void of a player. Despite a lot of the attention falling on the eligible players from the Steroid Era, the shut out comes as a bit of a surprise considering players such as Tim Raines, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Don Mattingly, and Jack Morris were on the ballot. With the divided opinions regarding whether or not alleged steroid users belong in the Hall, it would not have been illogical to think that the focus and in turn some extra votes would go towards some of the names mentioned above.
Dec 3, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; MLB hall of fame president Jeff Idelson addresses the media during the Major League Baseball winter meetings at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-USA Today Sports
New comer Biggio led the 2013 edition with 68.2% of the votes, while Morris, Raines, and Bagwell crept closer to the 75% selection marker. Among the names taking a slight step back on their vote totals were Edgar Martinez, Larry Walker, and former Cubs coach Alan Trammell.
Unfortunately for Lee Smith and Cubs fans, the former closer was also among those who took a step back in votes received. Smith registered 47.8% in the 2013 go around, this after cracking the 50% mark in voting at this time last year. With fellow closers Goose Gossage and Bruce Sutter leading the way in the years prior, another year of progress in terms of vote total would have made more sense than the decrease that actually came about, considering the former Cub is third all time with 478 career saves. Smith’s resume also includes seven All Star game selections, back to back NL Rolaids Relief man of the Year awards in 1991 and 1992, as well as a third honor in 1994.
Fans drawn to controversy will want to know how Sammy Sosa fared in his ballot debut. Slammin’ Sammy registered a meager 12.5% of the vote. On the stat sheet, Sosa’s prolific career home run numbers certainly warrant consideration, but there will always be the cloud of performance enhancing drugs hovering over Sosa. To compare with his fellow Steroid Era sluggers, Sosa’s vote total also falls short. Barry Bonds registered 36.2% and Mark McGwire came in at 16.9%, which the former Oakland and St. Louis power hitter seeing a decrease from 2012.
Sosa’s chances of getting in one day does not appear bright based on the initial returns. How the voters and the public eventually judge players like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds from the Steroids Era will further impact the former Cub right fielders hopes. Until then, closer Smith figures to have the best chance to be the next former Cub to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.