2013 Baseball Hall of Fame Vote: 5 Big Surprises from This Year's Ballots

Ian CasselberryMLB Lead WriterJanuary 9, 2013

2013 Baseball Hall of Fame Vote: 5 Big Surprises from This Year's Ballots

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    The answer is... zero.

    Among the 37 players eligible to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013, none of them received the 75 percent of the vote required for induction into Cooperstown. 

    Though the result probably shouldn't be shocking, considering how much controversy was associated with this year's class, it's still a somewhat surprising outcome.

    Even if players associated with steroid use like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were almost certain not to be elected, there were plenty of other players still worthy of acknowledgement and election, most of whom had no suspicion linked to PED use whatsoever. 

    But even if the 2013 Hall of Fame balloting can't be considered a total shock, a deeper look at the voting results still reveals several surprises. Here are the few that stand out and may prompt some head-slapping among fans, reporters and analysts who follow baseball. 

No One Was Inducted? Really?

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    At the risk of piling on, this is a point that seems worth repeating. 

    During a year in which 37 players were on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot and a good case could be made for at least 10 candidates (if I'd had a ballot, I would've selected nine players), no one gained entrance into Cooperstown.

    The player with the most home runs in MLB history didn't get in. Nor did a pitcher with 354 career wins. But a cloud hangs over Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens because of association and suspicion of steroid use.

    What about Craig Biggio and his 3,020 hits? Mike Piazza has the most home runs by a catcher and wasn't elected. Curt Schilling and his 3,116 strikeouts are also left waiting. Tim Raines and his 808 stolen bases are denied yet again. So is Jack Morris and his 254 wins. 

    It was just the eighth time that Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) voters did not elect a single player into the Hall of Fame. 

    Clearly, this was a statement by the BBWAA electorate. Players associated with PED use aren't getting in for years to come. Those who also played in that era were penalized this year because of the crowded ballot. 

    What is supposed to be a celebration of baseball ended up as an embarrassment. 

Jack Morris' Vote Total Barely Increased

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    Based on his receiving 66.7 percent of the vote in last year's Hall of Fame balloting, it was reasonable to presume that Jack Morris would make the jump to the required 75 percent for induction in the 2013 balloting.

    Instead, Morris' voting percentage barely increased. He was listed on 67.7 percent of Hall of Fame ballots this year. 

    With pitchers like Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Mike Mussina on next year's ballot—along with what will likely be increased support for Curt Schilling—it's very possible that Morris will not receive 75 percent of the vote next year. He might not even reach 70 percent. Maybe his percentage could even drop. 

    Morris is a tough choice for the Hall of Fame. Many think his support is based almost entirely on his performance in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series. Morris pitched a 10-inning shutout, leading the Minnesota Twins to a championship. 

    His 254 wins and 3.90 ERA are not terribly impressive numbers, compared to other Hall of Fame pitchers. But an 18-year MLB career, during which he helped three different teams to World Series titles, earned three 20-win seasons and pitched 175 complete games, is worthy of the sport's highest honor. 

    In light of the 2013 vote, however, Morris' Hall of Fame fate will likely be decided by the Veterans Committee. 

Bonds and Clemens Didn't Get 40 Percent

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    It shouldn't be a surprise that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens—the two headliners on the 2013 Hall of Fame ballot—were not elected to Cooperstown in their first year on the ballot. 

    Bonds and Clemens are both widely regarded as cheaters due to their association with PED use in the latter stages of their respective careers. 

    For many BBWAA voters, steroid use is a deal-breaker for Hall of Fame eligibility. Those players broke the rules and to elect them is unfair to the many others who played the game clean. That was almost certainly going to prevent them from earning induction in their first year on the ballot.

    However, the accomplishments of these two players are so tremendous, so historic, that plenty of voters would presumably acknowledge those achievements. Bonds has 762 home runs, the most in baseball history. Clemens has 354 wins, ranking him ninth on MLB's all-time list. 

    Yet it appears that Bonds and Clemens will be waiting more than one year to be elected to the Hall of Fame. That's judging from the voting percentages each player drew in this year's balloting (via ESPN).

    Clemens received 37.6 percent of the vote. Bonds was named on 36.2 percent of this year's ballots. That's more than the 23.5 percent that Mark McGwire earned in his first year of eligibility in 2007. But it's still a long way from the required 75 percent and likely means it will be several years before Bonds and Clemens get close to the gates at Cooperstown. 

    The BBWAA voters made a statement against the so-called steroids era of baseball with the 2013 balloting. However, it turned out to be a more emphatic statement than some of us may have imagined.

Kenny Lofton Is One-and-Done

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    Kenny Lofton probably isn't a Hall of Fame player. A case could be made for him, however.

    Lofton hit .299 for his career while compiling 2,428 hits. While that hit total didn't reach the 2,500 or 3,000-hit benchmark, it's still an impressive mark. Only 111 other players in the history of baseball got more hits in their careers.

    With 622 stolen bases, Lofton also ranks No. 15 on the all-time list in that category. Considering that he played in an era where the stolen base was less emphasized—unlike the speedster days that Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines and Vince Coleman thrived in—Lofton's total should perhaps be considered more impressive. 

    But even if Lofton isn't a Hall of Famer, his career achievements warrant more time for voters to consider his case. Unfortunately, he won't receive that consideration.

    Lofton was listed on only 3.2 percent of Hall of Fame ballots submitted. A player has to receive at least five percent of the vote to be eligible for the following year's ballot.

    So that's it for Lofton. Just like that. If he's going to be inducted into Cooperstown, he'll have to wait for the Veterans Committee to elect him. That process will likely take decades. Even if it eventually pays off for Lofton, there's a possibility he won't even be around to enjoy it by then. 

    Five percent of the Hall of Fame electorate didn't feel he was worthy of another year on the ballot. That seems stunning. 

Aaron Sele Got a Hall of Fame Vote

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    A deeper look into the 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting reveals something more surprising than no players being inducted or Rafael Palmeiro receiving 8.8 percent—nearly four percent less than last year—of the vote. 

    One BBWAA balloter gave a vote to pitcher Aaron Sele. 

    To clarifly, that means 11 of the 37 players on this year's Hall of Fame ballot did not receive a single vote, but Sele was not one of them.

    Why poke fun at Sele? He was an MLB pitcher. He played 15 seasons in the big leagues. That's worthy of acknowledgment, right? 

    However, we're talking about a pitcher that won 148 games in the majors. That averages out to nearly 10 wins per season. Wins are no longer used to determine a pitcher's merit, as they were in the past. But this is taking that philosophy to an extreme. 

    There was so much outrage over Sele getting one Hall of Fame vote that he became a trending topic on Twitter shortly after the balloting results were released. 

    As both Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan and ESPN's Jim Bowden pointed out on Twitter, a Hall of Fame vote for Sele underlines the problems with the current balloting process.

    Is this an indication that too many writers out of touch with the sport are still allowed to vote? Does it mean that some voters don't hold the process and the privilege of voting in the proper regard? Is this particular voter somehow related to Sele? Was he the recipient of a gesture of kindness that is now being paid back? 

    Unfortunately, we'll never know because the writer who voted for Sele chose not to make his ballot public, unlike the 101 voters who did (via BBWAA.com). That's probably the best decision for him, but it makes a further mockery of the Hall of Fame voting process. 

     

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