Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa finally faced a jury Wednesday that would decide whether they are worthy of the Hall of Fame, and the verdict was a resounding no: For only the eighth time, no players were selected for induction.
The inclusion of the Steroids Era players on this year’s ballot overshadowed those who were thought to have the best chance of being voted into baseball’s hallowed shrine in Cooperstown: former Chicago White Sox outfielder Tim Raines, the Houston Astros’ long-time duo of Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell and All-Star pitcher Jack Morris.
This Hall of Fame eligible class has received more attention than most because of the inclusion of Bonds, who won seven MVP awards; Clemens, who won seven Cy Young awards and Sosa, the former Cub who won a National League MVP award after his famous 1998 home run duel with the Cardinals’ Mark McGwire.
McGwire, the only one of those who publicly has acknowledged using performance-enhancing drugs, has failed seven times in his Hall of Fame election bid. Former Cub Rafael Palmeiro, who tested positive for a drug, has failed three times.
The so-called Steroids Era has caused division within the electorate, comprised of 10-year members of the Baseball Writers Association. They historically have been very stingy with their votes, especially considering it takes 75 percent to be included in the summer induction ceremonies.
By Dave van Dyck, Tribune reporter
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