Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens have had many honors and titles bestowed upon them over their wonderful careers. And they have had many labels to describe their accomplishments. But now there is one title that they will never have.
MVPs, Cy Youngs, strikeout records, home run records and unthinkable milestones all seemed to leading to Bonds and Clemens to being called "first ballot hall of famers."
But now, they never will be. Even if the BWAA elects them in 2014, they will not be first ballot Hall of Famers.
As writers shut out Clemens and Bonds, as well as every other nominee on the 2013 ballot (via USA Today), the man with the most Cy Young Awards and the home run king are on the outside looking in.
Clearly it was a statement against PED users. And some of the current Hall of Famers, including Goose Gossage, applaud keeping them out---as written by Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times.
It was a strong statement by the writers. Only 37.6 percent voted for Roger Clemens. Even fewer voted for Bonds who came in at 36.2 percent.
Will 26 percent of them be able to make the same statement 14 more times?
Seventy-five percent of the vote is needed for election. With the likes of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Ken Griffey Jr coming onto the ballots in each of the next three winters, there will be shortage of new first ballot entries.
Meanwhile players such as Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza will almost certainly get in on the 2014 election. And players such as Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell, Curt Schilling, Tim Raines and Edgar Martinez will go through the gauntlet of scrutiny.
All of those votes are in addition to the hand-wringing over Bonds and Clemens.
Almost certainly, Bonds' and Clemens' vote total will be higher next year. The protest was heard loud and clear. Fewer writers will send in blank ballots, like Howard Bryant of ESPN.com did this year.
But other writers might be entrenched and stand firm. Even if some unqualified writers are weeded out of the process and the character clause of Hall of Fame election is scrapped, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports suggests, only 26 percent of the writers would need to be unswayed by Clemens and Bonds every year between now and 2027.
Some of the other prominent names associated with PED's will fall off the ballot soon. Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro's Hall of Fame chances are now close to nothing.
McGwire's support peaked at 23.7 percent in 2010 and fell all the way to 16.9 percent in 2013. Sosa's debut on the ballot was in 2013 where he managed only 12.5 percent. Palmeiro's best year was in 2012 where he got 12.6 percent. In 2013 it fell to 8.8 percent. If it falls to below 5 percent, the man with 3,020 hits and 569 home runs will be off the ballot.
Clemens and Bonds will not go away so easy. The chances of them being elected any time soon is unlikely. If they get in, the process will be a long and agonizing drawn out affair. The likes of Bert Blyleven, Jim Rice and Goose Gossage waited for many years. The idea of 40 percent of the vote turning in Bonds and Clemens favor quickly is unlikely.
But will 26 percent be stubborn and stick to their proverbial guns?
Right now there are 569 eligible voters. If 148 of them never put Clemens' name nor Bonds' name on a ballot every year for the next 14 years, they will not be elected.
Both Clemens and Bonds were known for being fierce competitors and quite stubborn. If more than a quarter of the writers match them in stubbornness, then Clemens and Bonds might continue being on the outside looking into Cooperstown.
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