For just the fourth time since 1961, not one candidate will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Hall of Fame president Tim Mead made the announcement on MLB Network on Tuesday night.
Not surprisingly, Curt Schilling who in 2020 finished with 70% of the vote, finished with the most votes on the ballot this year, coming in at 71.1%. Falling 16 votes shy of enshrinement. That’s an increase from last year, but not enough for the 75% threshold needed to get into Cooperstown. This was Schilling’s ninth year on the ballot, but it looks as if it’s his last. Schilling took to Facebook on Tuesday night, revealing an open letter he sent to the Hall of Fame yesterday that he is asking to be taken off the ballot in his final year:
“I will not participate in the final year of voting. I am requesting to be removed from the ballot. I’ll defer to the veterans committee and men whose opinions actually matter and who are in a position to actually judge a player. I don’t think I’m a hall of famer as I’ve often stated but if former players think I am then I’ll accept that with honor.”
Schilling would fall under consideration from the Today’s Game Committee who vote in players from the 1988-2016 era. The next time The Committee will vote will be in December of 2022 for the Class of 2023.
The next two were also in their ninth year on the ballot. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Two names that are linked because of their ties to performance enhancing drugs in their playing careers. Bonds (60.7-61.8%) and Clemens (61.0-61.6%) barely made any progress from a year ago. They likely don’t have a very good chance to get in their tenth and final year in 2022.
Besides the three biggest names, other notables included Scott Rolen, Todd Helton, Billy Wagner and Andruw Jones who all made the biggest leaps of any names on the ballot. Rolen and Jones have gotten much backing in recent years due to advanced statistics and the people in the sabermetric community. And it seems as if support is paying off in the voting tallies.
The only candidate to lose votes was Omar Vizquel (49.1%) who went down 12 votes from last year. Vizquel has a case for the Hall of Fame, but recent accusations of domestic abuse by his wife, as reported by The Athletic, may partially have been a reason why he lost votes this year.
Jeff Kent (32.4%) and Gary Sheffield (40.6%) were also among the top 10 in voting percentage.
The rest of the results were as follows:
Next year will be interesting to say the least. It will be Barry Bonds & Roger Clemens’ last year on the BBWAA writers ballot. Statistically, two of the greatest players in the history of the sport. Like I said earlier, it’s going to be tough for them to get in the Hall in 2022. Neither of them have gained much traction in votes since 2018. Clemens has only gotten 4.3% more and Bonds with 5.4%. I’m doubtful the writers that have not been voting for them due to their steroid ties will change their minds next year.
Also, the 2022 ballot is going to be full of narratives and question marks. David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez make their debut. Both have PED-ties. A-Rod was found guilty and admitted to steroid use during his career. Ortiz was among just over 100 players (Rodriguez included) that tested positive for a banned substance in a 2003 survey conducted by MLB. But, he didn’t deny or admit that he used an illegal substance. Back in 2009, he told the Boston Herald: “The news blindsided me…based on the way I have lived my life, I am surprised to learn that I tested positive.” Ortiz is a beloved figure in the baseball world, while Rodriguez is perceived as a villain.
Rolen, Helton, Wagner and Jones continue to climb up the ladder. All great players of their time with Rolen and Jones being a little under appreciated during their playing days. Even though Vizquel lost votes this year, he will still be a formidable name who won 11 Gold Gloves, entering his fifth year on the ballot. And even though they were linked to steroids, Sammy Sosa (10th) and Gary Sheffield (8th) will be on the ballot for another year, and will still get consideration from the writers.
2022 is going to be led by those first four names mentioned: Bonds, Clemens, Rodriguez and Ortiz. In particular, Bonds and Clemens. All eyes will be on two of the most controversial figures the game has ever seen going into their tenth and final year on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.
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