Steroids Era's Shadow Keeps Clemens, Piazza From Baseball Hall Of Fame
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For the first time since 1996, baseball writers decided today to not induct any eligible living players, including former Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens and former Mets catcher Mike Piazza, into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Clemens and Piazza were on the ballot for the first time, as were Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa.
Sosa, Bonds and Clemens have all been linked to steroids use, but Piazza was never linked officially to steroids.
Piazza, who was traded to the Mets in 1998, was the greatest offensive catcher of his generation and perhaps the game's history, with 427 home runs and a .308 lifetime batting average.
He brought the Mets to the brink of the playoffs his first season, into the playoffs in 1999 and then to the World Series in 2000.
Perhaps Piazza's most important home run came on September 21, 2001, when the Mets played the Atlanta Braves in Shea Stadium in the first game played in the city following the September 11th attacks.
Clemens, the only seven-time Cy Young Award winner, won 354 games over 24 seasons, and is third all-time on the strikeouts list.
He has always steadfastly denied taking performance enhancing drugs and was acquitted of perjury charges stemming from congressional testimony during which he again denied using steroids.
Bonds, a former left fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants, holds the home run title, with 762 lifetime and the single season record with 73. He is baseball's only seven-time MVP, but he too has been linked to steroids ever since the late 1990s.
He has always denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs.
Bonds was convicted in 2003 of one count of obstruction of justice for giving an evasive answer to a grad jury investigating the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
In order to enter the Hall of Fame, baseball players need 75 percent of votes from the deciding writers. The player closest to that threshold was former Houston Astros player Craig Biggio, who was on 68 percent of the ballots, finishing 39 votes short.
Next came Jack Morris, then Jeff Bagwell, and then in fourth place, Mike Piazza on 57 percent of the ballots.
Clemens was on 37 percent of the ballots and Bonds only earned 36 percent.