The Baseball Writers of America have declined to elect anyone to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year. It’s only the second time in four decades that this has occurred.
As expected, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the two biggest stars eligible this year, were passed over because of the taint of steroids. But there were at least two other players who, in my view, had strong Hall of Fame credentials — Mike Piazza and Craig Biggio.
Piazza has been suspected by some of using steroids, but as far as I know, there is no evidence that he used them. It seems unfair to exclude Piazza based on mere suspicion. This one of the the awful consequences of the steroid era.
I’ve never heard it suggested that Biggio used steroids. His non-selection may have resulted in part from a reluctance, perhaps unconscious, to vote for him while not voting for players who performed much better. That too would be unfair.
There will be three new Hall of Fame inductees, however. Old-timers Jacob Ruppert (who owned the New York Yankees and purchased Babe Ruth), umpire Hank O’Day, and barehanded catcher Deacon White were selected by a special committee. Unfortunately, all three have been dead for the better part of a century. White was born before the Civil War, O’Day during it, and Ruppert just after it ended.
The induction ceremony this summer will have very little resonance except with the descendants of Ruppert, O’Day, and White. The Hall of Fame is losing relevance fairly rapidly.