The Hall of Fame class of 2013 will include no players for the first time since 1996. No players reached the required 75% of ballots for induction into Cooperstown, including Mike Piazza, in his first time on the ballot.
Piazza, the all-time leader in home runs by a catcher, was named on 329 of 569 ballots, or 57.8%. He was fourth behind fellow first-timer Craig Biggio (68.2%), Jack Morris (67.7%), and Jeff Bagwell (59.6%).
The last catcher elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA was Gary Carter in 2003.
Piazza suffered the wrath of the PED era, though the catcher was never technically linked to performance enhancers. A few voters summed up their non-votes for Piazza.
Per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:
As with Sosa, I delayed my "yes" vote on the greatest hitting catcher of all-time to await more evidence. It has been reported he's writing a book, so perhaps he will shed some light.
Scott Miller at CBS Sports lumped Piazza and Bagwell together:
Jeff Bagwell and Mike Piazza: Did they do steroids? Loads of speculation, no proof. I want to vote for both, but I'm just not going to rush into it. Bagwell is only in his third year on the ballot, Piazza is in his first. As long as each gets at least five percent of the vote, he will remain on the ballot for 15 years. For me, each is in sort of a holding pattern. I want to give it a few more years, and see if any more of the Steroid Era vagaries clear.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, in his 13th year on the ballot, received 13.2%. Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire received 16.9% in his seventh year on the ballot.
Major League Baseball released a statement regarding no players getting in:
“Major League Baseball recognizes that election to the Hall of Fame is our game’s most extraordinary individual honor. Achieving enshrinement in Cooperstown is difficult, as it should be, and there have been seven other years when no one was elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. While this year did not produce an electee, there are many worthy candidates who will merit consideration in the future. We respect both the longstanding process that the Hall of Fame has in place and the role of the BBWAA, whose members have voted in the Hall of Fame’s elections since 1936.”
The MLB Players Association chimed in as well.
“Today’s news that those members of the BBWAA afforded the privilege of casting ballots failed to elect even a single player to the Hall of Fame is unfortunate, if not sad. Those empowered to help the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum document the history of the game failed to recognize the contributions of several Hall of Fame worthy players. To ignore the historic accomplishments of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, for example, is hard to justify," said executive director Michael Weiner in a statement. "Moreover, to penalize players exonerated in legal proceedings -- and others never even implicated -- is simply unfair. The Hall of Fame is supposed to be for the best players to have ever played the game. Several such players were denied access to the Hall today. Hopefully this will be rectified by future voting.”