In a clear rebuke of the steroid era, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens came nowhere close to Cooperstown on Wednesday.
Nobody else got into the Baseball Hall of Fame, either.
For just the eighth time since voting began in 1936, and the first time since 1996, no player reached the 75 percent threshold of votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
"It takes time for history to sort itself out,'' said Jeff Idelson, the president of the Baseball Hall of Fame, acknowledging the debate surrounding players tainted by steroid allegations. "I'm not surprised we had a shutout."
Bonds, the former Giants outfielder who hit a record 762 home runs, was named on only 36.2 percent of the 569 ballots cast by the BBWAA. Clemens, who won 354 career games, finished eight votes ahead of Bonds for 37.6 percent.
Bonds was in Hawaii on vacation, according YahooSports. Clemens posted via Twitter: "After what has been written and said over the last few years I'm not overly surprised.''
Former Houston Astros second baseman Craig Biggio came the closest to election by being named on 68.2 percent of ballots. Biggio, who finished his career with 3,060 hits, needed 39 more votes for election.
As was the case so often during his career, Bonds was at the center of an impassioned debate across the baseball landscape. His supporters blasted the BBWAA for omitting the 14-time All-Star and eight-time Gold Glove winner and called for an
Among those outraged by the snub was Michael Weiner, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, who called this year's Hall of Fame shutout "unfortunate, if not sad."
"To ignore the historic accomplishments of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, for example, is hard to justify,'' Weiner said in a prepared 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."
Both Bonds and Clemens finished their careers amid steroid allegations. Bonds has denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs and was convicted on one count of obstruction of justice for giving an evasive answer in 2003 to a grand jury investigating PEDs. Clemens was acquitted of perjury charges stemming from congressional testimony during which he denied using PEDs.
Idelson, in a nod to the cloud surrounding some of the players on the ballot this year, said the voting process this year posed "well-documented challenges" to the BBWAA.
"We remain very, very comfortable with the process,'' Idelson said. "It's a tough period of evaluation. Honestly, I think that any group that you put this to would have the same issues."
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, attending the owners' meetings in Paradise Valley, Ariz., dismissed the notion that the Hall of Fame was somehow damaged by the results of this election.
"This is not to be voted on to make sure someone gets in every year. It's to be voted on to make sure that they're deserving,'' Selig said. "I respect the writers as well as the hall itself. This idea that this somehow diminishes the hall or baseball is ridiculous, in my opinion."
The other BBWAA elections without a winner were in 1945, 1946, 1950, 1958, 1960, 1971 and 1996.
This year's shutout means the Class of 2013 will be limited to umpire Hank O'Day, former Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert and 19th-century star Deacon White, all of whom were elected by the Pre-Integration Era Committee in December.
They will be enshrined in Cooperstown as part of the July 26-29 Induction Weekend. At that time, the Hall of Fame will also honor Lou Gehrig and Rogers Hornsby and 10 other players who never received formal inductions because of restrictions during World War II.
Those visiting the Cooperstown this summer can still see Bonds' artifacts, if not the man himself. There are several mementos from his career on display in the museum. Idelson said that exhibit called "Today's Game" features signage that informs visitors that some of the items were used by players who used, or are suspected of using, performance-enhancind drugs "and it's up to you to determine how you feel."
"When visitors walk through the museum, we present facts. We don't lead people toward opinions,'' Idelson said. "That's not what a museum's job is."
Bonds was named on six of the eight ballots cast by writers from the Bay Area News Group. Online sports editor Jon Becker, executive sports editor Bud Geracie, columnist Tim Kawakami, assistant sports editor Mike Lefkow, columnist Monte Poole and sports writer Carl Steward voted for Bonds.
Columnist Mark Purdy and breaking news reporter Rick Hurd did not vote for Bonds.
Selected ballots are available at bbwaa.com.
75 percent of the vote needed to be elected:
Craig Biggio (above) 68.2%
Jack Morris 67.7%
Who came up well short?
Mark McGwire 16.9%