Right Field


Given the opportunity to honor several of the greatest players to ever pick up a bat and ball, the Baseball Writers Association of America instead chose to induct no one into Cooperstown in 2013.

A winning candidate did not emerge from the Hall of Fame balloting conducted by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and verified by Ernst & Young. There were 569 ballots cast, the third highest total in the history of the voting, but none of the 37 candidates in the 2013 vote gained mention on the required 75 percent for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Craig Biggio, who totaled 3,060 hits and was a seven-time All-Star while playing three positions (catcher, second base, outfield), topped the ballot with 388 votes – 39 shy of the 427 needed for election. His total reflected 68.2 percent of the electorate, which consists of BBWAA members with 10 or more consecutive years of Major League Baseball coverage. Five blank ballots were among those submitted. Other players named on more than half the ballots were pitcher Jack Morris with 385 (67.7 percent), first baseman Jeff Bagwell with 339 (59.6), catcher Mike Piazza with 329 (57.8) and outfielder Tim Raines with 297 (52.2).

Two great center fielders, Kenny Lofton and Bernie Williams, did not even meet the 5 percent threshold needed to secure their places on next year’s ballot. A third, Dale Murphy, received only 18.6 percent of the vote in his final year of BBWAA eligibility.

In an online chat that took place in the announcement’s immediate aftermath, Joe Posnanski of Sports on Earth summed up the feelings of many:

Let’s take a second to reflect on this, by the way. This ballot, with Bonds, Clemens, Bagwell, two guys with 3,000 hits, two guys with 600 homers … nobody got in. It’s a historic moment. Not a happy historic moment, but historic just the same.

Don’t expect this year’s induction ceremony to be one you’ll want to tell your grandkids about. As one Baseball Think Factory commenter cynically observed, “Good summer to plan a trip to Cooperstown if you don’t like crowds or plan to make reservations.”

Jason Epstein is the president of Southfive Strategies, LLC. He was a public-relations consultant for the Turkish embassy in Washington from 2002 to 2007.


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