01/10/2013 02:33 pm ET Updated Mar 12, 2013

Baseball Hall of Fame 2013: Why the Baseball Writers Struck Out on This Year's Ballot

Now we know.

Baseball fans now know the answer to the question about whether or not the very brightest stars of an era forever linked with performance enhancing drug use will pay the price in the form of Hall of Fame entry, or lack thereof.

The answer is a bold "Yes, they will."

The final balloting reveals that baseball all-time home run leader Barry Bonds, the all time leader in Cy Young Awards Roger Clemens, the greatest offensive catcher of all time Mike Piazza and a player with more than 600 career home runs Sammy Sosa, are all not heading to Cooperstown.

Not yet at least.

All of those players could eventually end up enshrined in Cooperstown.

Under different circumstances all of them would have been automatic, no questions asked, first ballot locks.

Not in 2013 though.

Not with the specter of performance enhancing drug use hanging over their heads.

In 2013 the Baseball Writers Association of America voted no one into the Hall of Fame.

Not Barry Bonds, not Roger Clemens, not Sammy Sosa, not Craig Biggio, not Mike Piazza and not Curt Schilling either.

Keep in mind that a lot of these players never actually tested positive for Steroids. Some such as Mike Piazza are accused via hearsay and the words of people who were not under oath when they made the accusations.

Most of the steroid accusations probably wouldn't hold up under our own legal system. When it comes to players such as Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell they're basically guilty until proven innocent in the eyes of many Hall of Fame voters.

Even players such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, who were implicated of use in more conclusive manners, were operating in an era when Major League Baseball did not enforce or enact tough rules surrounding the use of performance enhancing drugs.

Bonds admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs, but claimed he had no knowledge they were PED's when he took them.

Roger Clemens was accused of taking steroids in The Mitchell Report, but denied the accusations and was then found "not guilty" of perjury charges when he testified to not taking performance enhancing drugs in front of congress in 2008.

Major League Baseball clearly had a serious problem with use of performance enhancing drugs among its players. That problem is far from being solved, but it does appear to be on the right path.

Home run numbers have dropped off in recent years.

From 1998 through 2006 there were over 5,000 home runs hit in every season. Since the end of the 2006 season that number has been eclipsed only once, in 2009 and that season's total was only 5,042.

Baseball is making an effort.

The game on the field may be cleaner, but the era of what we believe to be more rampant performance enhancing drug use is now facing judgement not in a court of law, but in a court whose judges are the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Today those voters spoke and they denied a number of players who by most metrics should be inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer. Instead none of them will get in.

Wednesday's omissions were not comprised of players who were all guilty of drug use. Instead it was a group of the most talented players of the late 1990s and early 21st century who played in an era in which the use of performance enhancing drugs may have been rampant.

These players were just the best of that lot, and the Hall of Fame is about admitting the best the sport offered. Unfortunately the best of that era may have been flawed.

History reminds us that baseball has had flawed eras before. The Baseball Hall of Fame already has players who played long before the league was integrated. Those players are still hall of fame-worthy, but they likely benefitted from institutionalized and accepted racism.

Marvin Miller, the late former executive director of the Major League Baseball Player's Association told Baseball Prospectus in May of 2008 that the Hall of Fame was "full of villains." He included a mention of players such as Tris Speaker and Cap Anson, current members of the Baseball Hall of Fame who are former members of Ku Klux Klan.

Then there are players such as Gaylord Perry who has openly admitted to scuffing baseballs and corking bats in an effort to gain a competitive edge. Perry was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.

Barry Bonds was a hall of fame caliber player long before he threatened the single season home run record in 2001.

Roger Clemens had already won three Cy Young awards and an MVP Award before he signed a free agent contract with the Toronto Blue Jays prior to the 1997 season.

Beyond the list of very notable players who did not receive Hall of Fame votes today, is another list. It is a list of players who did receive votes.

Aaron Sele got one vote, it was one too many. Sele was nothing more than a mediocre pitcher who played 15 years, never won 20 games in a season, never eclipsed 200 strikeouts in a season, and never finished a season with an E.R.A. under 3.00.

Sandy Alomar Jr. received 16 votes. Alomar Jr. was a durable and above average catcher who spent 20 years in the majors. Of course this ballot is for the Baseball Hall of Fame, being good or above average should not be a valid reason to admit someone to Cooperstown. Alomar had a career he should be proud of. It was quite good, but he never hit more than 20 home runs in a single season, and finished with a career .273 batting average.

If the Baseball Writers Association of America wants to maintain its credibility then it needs to worry as much about who its members are voting for, as who they're not voting for.