Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa all were eligible this year for the first time. They needed the votes of 75 percent of the baseball writers who choose the inductees. Bonds received about 36 percent, Clemens got about 38 percent and Sosa got just 13 percent.
On a day when baseball traditionally honors its best, this time, it has reopened an old wound exposing the worst.
"I think baseball has never been able to process the steroid era; it is awkward for the game, awkward for the fans, and this is more awkwardness," investigative reporter Lance Williams said.
Williams is not a baseball writer, but on a day when they elected no one into the Hall Of Fame, it is safe to say that his expose of Bonds and steroid use certainly influenced them.
Sports writer Mark Purdy abstained.
"I did not vote for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemons, Sosa, or Mike Piazza," Purdy said.
All of them great players and otherwise shoe-ins, without steroids.
"The Baseball Hall of Fame has guideline -- sportsmanship, integrity, character," Purdy said. "Well, to me if you cheated, that addresses those issues. But I still don't know what the whole landscape of baseball looked like at that time."
To some writers, the baseball Hall Of Fame is about performance. Art Spander, for instance, did vote for bonds.
"Barry Bonds with the most home runs deserves to be in. And a man with seven Cy Yongs. Are they tainted a little bit? Yes," he said.
Clearly, baseball has a quandary.
"I suppose it ends in a way where we contextualize these players; if they admitted it, we could let them in and say they played in a time when steroids were rife in the game, but this year we have two guys who say they never touched the, even if that is not true," Williams said.