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Nobody winning can be a bit disappointing

The following editorial appeared in the Chicago Tribune on Thursday, January 10:


(MCT) Fans can’t be surprised that home run king Barry Bonds, ace pitcher Roger Clemens and Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa were not elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame this year.

But nobody?

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the single-season and career home run records, collected votes from 36.2 percent of the baseball writers casting ballots.

Clemens, the only seven-time Cy Young winner, got 37.6 percent. Sosa, famous for a 1998 home run duel and a 2003 corked bat, got 12.5. They needed 75 percent.

All three have been linked to performance-enhancing drugs. We get that. They don’t deserve the honor.
But the baseball writers also declined to admit Astros’ slugger Craig Biggio (68.2 percent); his teammate, first baseman Jeff Bagwell (59.6 percent); Mets catcher Mike Piazza (57.8 percent); or any of 31 other eligible players.

For only the eighth time, no player was elected. Bummer.

Our gripe isn’t with the writers who collectively set the bar for entry into baseball’s shrine. Stars who cheated should be excluded. It’s galling enough to have to see their performance records on the books.

But we’re just disappointed when a momentous honor is in play and the winner is … nobody.
It happens.

Just last year, the Pulitzer Prize board declined to name a winner in the fiction category, to the dismay of readers who loved Karen Russell’s “Swamplandia.” (No award for editorial writing, either. Hey!)

The Grammys’ Best New Artist award, the kiss of death to countless rising stars, was not given in 1967.

It used to be fairly common for the Nobel Peace Prize to go unclaimed: It happened 18 times between 1901 and 1972, including five years in a row from 1939 to 1943. A winner has been named every year since 1973.

Time magazine has been known to punt on its Person of the Year honor, bestowing it on American Women in 1975, The Computer in 1982 and You in 2006.

But at least Time never devoted its end-of-the-year cover to Nobody.


©2013 the Chicago Tribune

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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