Blank New York Times sports page highlights lack of baseball Hall of Fame inductees

Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto, National Baseball Hall of Fame Plaque

For only the second time since 1965, and first since 1996, voters failed to elect any players to baseball's Hall of Fame.

The Thursday print edition of The New York Times featured the headline "Welcome to Cooperstown" across the front of the Sports page. Below it, there was only a blank page; a clear statement on the lack of inductees.

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa were among the players on the ballot who have been linked to performance-enhancing drugs in one way or another. Some argue that these players should be inducted, while others simply disagree.

What is certain, however, is that 75 percent of the votes are needed for election to Cooperstown, which neither Bonds, Clemens, nor Sosa got.

The most votes went to Craig Biggio, who fell 39 votes shy of election. That was 68.2 percent of the ballots cast. Bonds got 36.2 percent of the vote, Clemens got 37.6 percent and Sosa 12.5 percent.

Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt said in an email to The Associated Press that "Curt Schilling made a good point, everyone was guilty. Either you used PEDs, or you did nothing to stop their use."

"I'm kind of glad that nobody got in this year," said Hall of Famer Al Kaline. "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."

At ceremonies in Cooperstown on July 28, the only inductees will be three men who died more than 70 years ago: 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.

The owner of the Mickeyâ??s Place store in Cooperstown, Vincent Russo, told the New York Times that he expects a quiet turnout at the annual celebration. Russo says a low turnout is bad for local business as the event typically accounts for more than 10 percent of many businessesâ?? annual revenue.

(Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)