Yes, it was headline-worthy that not one candidate was elected to the Hall of Fame ... but really, was it that big of a surprise?
Even if any of the Royd Boyz do eventually get in, it is not the least bit shocking they were denied on their initial year as candidates. I specifically said I wasn't going to give the likes of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens the special honor of being first-ballot HoFers, and I'm sure dozens (if not hundreds) of my fellow voters felt that way, too.
Craig Biggio also didn't quite make it on the first ballot, but he has an excellent chance next year because there are many, many BBWAA voters who save first-ballot HoF status for only the best of the best.
-- I knew Sammy Sosa wouldn't come close to getting in but I was surprised he received fewer votes than Mark McGwire did. While those two will be linked forever in baseball history, Sosa finished with better numbers and also had more skills than McGwire did.
-- Again, I'm not stunned that Jeff Bagwell didn't get in, but I did think he would get more votes. I was relieved he didn't miss by one, because I already am second-guessing my decision to leave him off my ballot.
-- Don Mattingly received enough votes to stay on the ballot for next year but Bernie Williams didn't. There is zero doubt in my mind that Williams was the better, more important Yankee.
-- Lots of get-a-lifers -- yahoos who spend a good chunk of their time obsessing about the HoF -- said only idiots would refuse to put the Royd Boyz in the Hall on the first ballot while stating we very well might vote for Bonds and Clemens in future years. Well, here's what another first-ballot candidate, Curt Schilling, told ESPN:
"I think it's fitting. If there ever were a ballot or a year to make a statement about what we didn't do as players, this is it."
Schilling went on to say that even players who weren't juicers were complicit in the Steroid Era and deserved to be denied Hall entry. And he went out of the way to include himself among the guilty.
Schilling, who finished just ahead of Bonds and Clemens, got my vote. And now I feel even better about it.
-- Sad to see two guys drop off the ballot: Dale Murphy couldn't get anywhere near enough votes during his 15 years of eligibility but truly embodied all the great things in sports; and Kenny Lofton, a fine player during his prime who almost surely deserved more than one year as a candidate (he didn't get the required 5 percent of the vote).
-- I sure as heck hope that the one writer who checked the box next to Aaron Sele's name did so as a protest vote.