The Baseball Writers Association of a America announced the results of the 2013 Hall of Fame voting on Wednesday, and no player pulled in the 75% of votes required to get a plaque in Cooperstown. Craig Biggio, who many believed would have little trouble garnering support in his first year on the ballot, had the most votes at 68.2 percent. Meanwhile, voters punished anyone who they could link to steroids, whether they admitted use, tested positive, were rumored to have used, or were simply powerfully built. Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza did the best at 59.6 and 57.8, respectively, as the only evidence against them is that they're giant men. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds -- two of the greatest players to ever step onto the diamond -- checked in at the high-30s, while Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro stayed on the ballot but came in under 20 percent.
It was a disappointing result, especially with a slam dunk like Biggio on the ballot. Biggio seems to have got caught in a sort of limbo as he wasn't tainted by steroids but had his numbers questioned as he was compared to players who were (even though he appears to be a no brainer no matter the era).
I would personally have zero qualms voting for players like Bonds and Clemens, but I don't blame those who continue the fight from the other viewpoint and understand that the discussion will be ongoing for years to come. For now, I'm far more frustrated by Biggio's lack of support, Bagwell, Piazza and others getting punished despite the dearth of hard evidence against them, a borderline-at-best candidate like Jack Morris inching closer to enshrinement (67.7) as the BBWAA old guard's mascot, and Kenny Lofton falling off the ballot in his first year despite having a compelling Hall case.
Edgar Martinez's name was checked on 204 ballots, good for 35.9 percent. Edgar holds steady after receiving 36.5, 32.9 and 36.2 percent of the vote in his first three years on the ballot. Maintaining that level on a tough ballot might be seen as encouraging for those hoping for an Edgar plaque, but at some point he'll have to start climbing and it's not getting any easier. Edgar received the tenth most votes in 2013, which is about where we'd expect given where he ranks by cumulative WAR and JAWS. But cracking the top 10 will be harder than ever in 2014.
Greg Maddux, Mike Mussina, Frank Thomas and Tom Glavine will enter the fray next year as 2013's "most stacked ballot ever" is quickly supplanted. Edgar's support in the BBWAA will be tested as all four profile as better Hall of Fame candidates. Other additions will further divide the vote, most notably Jeff Kent.
Assuming that Randy Johnson will enter the Hall of Fame as an Arizona Diamondback in 2015, Ken Griffey Jr. still seems like the best bet to don the first Seattle Mariners cap in the Hall plaque room when he hits the ballot in 2016.