For the first time, Bonds and Clemens were eligible for Hall of Fame induction even though their careers ended while they were under suspicion for gaining an edge through the use of performance enhancing drugs. However, each received well short of the 75 percent needed to be catapulted into the Hall of Fame. Though Clemens won the coveted Cy Young pitching award seven times, he had just 37.6 percent of the writers backing him. Bonds did even worse, getting 36.2 percent of the vote.
Vincent Russo, owner of Mickey’s Place on Main Street in Cooperstown, said many merchants no longer depend on a huge throng for Hall of Fame weekend to make their season. He said that changed after the annual game between major leaguers stopped being part of the weekend several years ago.
“Now you have a day and a half dedicated to autograph signing and a day dedicated to the induction,” he said. “The business model in Cooperstown is different now. We’re not as dependent on Hall of Fame weekend as we once were because it is just not that big of an event as it once was. We have many days during the summer where we do revenues that exceed the revenues that we do on those days.”
Clemens, who has vehemently denied the use of steroids, reacted to coming up short on the vote by sending a message through his Twitter account: “After what has been written and said over the last few years I’m not overly surprised. Thanks to all the teams I’ve worked with and to fans and friends for all the fantastic letters, voice mails and texts of support over the last few years. To those who did take the time to look at the facts … we very much appreciate it.”
The close that any former player under consideration came to winning induction was Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio, who finished with 68 percent of the vote.