Home run king Bonds and seven-time Cy Young winner Clemens, both
suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs, fell far short of
the 75 percent of the votes needed from the Baseball Writers'
Association of America for induction to Cooperstown.
While no players were elected in 2013 — the first shutout in 17
years and only the second since 1971 — it should be an entirely
different story this time with Maddux topping the list for induction
into the upstate New York shrine this year.
Maddux, who began his 23-year career with the Chicago Cubs before
becoming a fixture in the playoffs after joining the Atlanta Braves
as a free agent, won four consecutive Cy Young awards from 1992 and
amassed a career mark of 355-227.
The bespectacled, modestly sized right-hander, who looked more like
an academic on the mound than an athlete, dissected batters with
pinpoint control to lead the National League four times in earned
run average. He also helped his cause by earning a remarkable 18
Gold Glove awards as the best fielding pitcher.
Two other first-time candidates make strong cases for election in
former Maddux rotation mate Tom Glavine, who won 305 games in a
career spent mostly with Atlanta, and power-hitting first
baseman/designated hitter Frank Thomas.
Thomas, a former college football player who stood an imposing
6-foot-5, weighed 240 pounds (109 kg) and was nicknamed "The Big
Hurt," blasted 521 home runs in a career spent mainly with the
Chicago White Sox, while registering a career batting average of
A player must wait five years after his retirement to be considered
for the Hall of Fame.
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A group of second-year players could also win enough votes
for enshrinement as the writers can vote for up to 10 players.
Versatile infielder/outfielder Craig Biggio, who amassed 3,060
career hits in 20 season with the Houston Astros, fell 39 votes
shy of election last year as he received 388 votes from 569
Biggio was followed by pitcher Jack Morris (67.7 percent), Jeff
Bagwell (59.6) and Mike Piazza (57.8), who hit 396 of his 427
homers as a catcher — the most of any player at that position in
major league history.
Bonds, winner of seven NL Most Valuable Player awards and the
all-time home run leader with 762 and single-season leader with
73, received 36.2 percent of the vote a year ago.
Clemens, who had 354 career wins, got 37.6 percent of the vote,
while Sammy Sosa, the only major league slugger to bash more
than 60 homers in three different seasons and who totaled 609 in
his career, got 12.5 percent.
None of that well known trio has ever failed a publicly
disclosed Major League Baseball-administered drug test but each
has been involved in either court cases or congressional
hearings about the use of performance enhancing drugs.
Bonds was convicted for obstruction of justice regarding his
testimony in the BALCO drug case.
Players need to receive at least five percent of the votes in
order to remain on the ballot and can be considered for as long
as 15 years.
(Reporting by Larry Fine; editing by Frank Pingue)
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