NEW YORK Nobody was happier about the Hall of Fame shutout than the Hall of Famers.
Goose Gossage, Al Kaline, Dennis Eckersley and others were in no rush to open the door to Cooperstown for anyone linked to steroids.
To Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa: Keep them all out of our club.
"If they let these guys in ever at any point it's a big black eye for the Hall and for baseball," Gossage said. "It's like telling our kids you can cheat, you can do whatever you want, and it's not going to matter."
For only the second time in 42 years, baseball writers didn't elect anyone to the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, sending a signal that stars of the Steroids Era will be held to a different standard.
The awards and accomplishments collected over storied careers by Bonds, Clemens and Sosa all eligible for the first time could not offset suspicions that those exploits were boosted by performance-enhancing drugs.
"I'm kind of glad that nobody got in this year," Kaline said. "I feel honored to be in the Hall of Fame. And I would've felt a little uneasy sitting up there on the stage, listening to some of these new guys talk about how great they were."
Bonds received 36.2 percent of the vote and Clemens 37.6 percent in totals announced by the Hall and the Baseball Writers' Association of America, well short of the 75 percent needed for election. Sosa had 12.5 percent.
"Wow! Baseball writers make a statement," Eckersley tweeted. "Feels right."
The results keep the sport's career home run leader (Bonds) and most decorated pitcher (Clemens) out of Cooperstown for now. Bonds, Clemens and Sosa have 14 more years on the writers' ballot to gain baseball's highest honor.
"Even having just been considered for the first time is already great honor, and there's always a next time," Sosa, who's eighth on the career home run list, said in a statement. "It was an honor just to have been nominated. I'm happy about that."
Bonds, baseball's only seven-time MVP, hit 762 home runs, including a record 73 in 2001. He has denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs and was convicted of one count of obstruction of justice for giving an evasive answer in 2003 to a grand jury investigating PEDs.
Clemens, the game's lone seven-time Cy Young Award winner, is third in career strikeouts (4,672) and ninth in wins (354). He was acquitted of perjury charges stemming from congressional testimony during which he denied using PEDs.
Sosa, who finished with 609 home runs, was among those who tested positive in MLB's 2003 anonymous survey, the New York Times reported in 2009. He told a congressional committee in 2005 that he didn't take illegal performance-enhancing drugs.
Hall of Famer and former Giants pitcher Juan Marichal believes Bonds, Clemens and Sosa belong in Cooperstown.
"(The voters) have been unfair to guys who were never found guilty of anything," he said. "Their stats define them as immortals. That's the reality, and that cannot be denied."
The only inductees at the ceremony July 28 in Cooperstown will be three men who died more than 70 years ago: New York Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert, umpire Hank O'Day and barehanded catcher Deacon White.
They were chosen last month by the 16-member panel considering individuals from the era before integration in 1947.