HoF Class of 2021: Nobody

The BBWAA failed to elect anybody to the Baseball Hall of Fame for this year. The Golden Days Committee and Early Baseball Committee both got postponed until December. That means zero inductees for this year, the first time that’s happened since 1960.

I’ve already written my opinion of the vets committees not being held, so I won’t reiterate it here. It’s a fait accompli.
The last time there was no BBWAA-selected players to induct, 2013, it hurt the Cooperstown economy. Induction week brings the town more money than any time other than Christmas. This year, no sweat—the pain was already experienced with the COVID-cancellation of the 2020 induction. The 2020 class will be inducted this summer instead. It will be huge as legions of Derek Jeter fans descend upon Cooperstown for his induction alongside Larry Walker and Ted Simmons. Marvin Miller will be inducted posthumously.

The closest player to the 75% of the vote threshold for selection was Curt Schilling at 71.1%. He had 70% last year, so it was a bit of a surprise he did not make it this time. However, his personality and Twitter-troll habits have made him very unpopular, and some voters clearly feel he fails the character clause. Maybe if he promised not to give a speech next year, then he might get more support. Actually, with typical “class,” he asked for his name to not be on the ballot next year, lashing out at the baseball media as a whole despite obviously having the support of a vast majority of writers for induction. His tirade include expressions of disrespect as well as calling the electorate cowards. Whatever. If on the ballot, next year is his 10th and final year prior to his case being forwarded to future vets committees.

Also on the ballot next year for the 10th and final time are Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, two of the best players ever by any measure, They each garnered around 61% of the vote. We all know why they’re not getting elected, so no need to revisit that for now. I’ve often referred to the HoF’s decision to shorten the BBWAA-eligibility from 15 to 10 years as the Bonds/Clemens Rule. It wasn’t necessary, though. After the BBWAA culled out the inactive writers from the voting rolls, they got a big boost into the 50+% range, but have since only gained a few votes per year as older voters retire and not all the younger ones favor their election either.

The only other player appearing on over half the ballots was Scott Rolen, a good boost for him which likely portends well for a future induction.
The 2022 ballot will include Alex Rodriguez for the first time. That should be fun. Other notable first-time eligible players will include David Ortiz, Justin Morneau, Jimmy Rollins, Mark Texeira, and Joe Nathan. It will really be fun watching some folks’ heads explode as Ortiz sails in on the first ballot.

4 thoughts on “HoF Class of 2021: Nobody

  1. The BBWAA is really pissing me off with their hiding behind the “character clause”. This is the same group that had no problem voting Bonds 4 straight MVP awards 2001 – 04 and Clemens Cy Young awards in 2001 & 2004 when there was suspicion of their size and abilities at ages when most players are declining or retired.

    It’s not like the Hall of Fame is a sacred place to honor just squeaky clean Boy Scouts. Bud Selig is in and he oversaw the entire steroid era. Tony LaRussa is in and he won a lot of games as manager with Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco in his line up. Mike Piazza, Pudge Rodriguez, and Jeff Bagwell are in and I’ve read plenty of stories suspecting them of PED use. Gaylord Perry is in and there’s plenty of suspicion of him doctoring baseballs over the course of his career. If they vote in David Ortiz my head is going to explode.

    So to the BBWAA members who didn’t vote for Bonds, Clemens and/or Schilling because those writers feel those players aren’t worthy of the honor, go know yourselves, Biblically speaking.


    1. Re: Bonds/Clemens, it goes beyond even what you wrote, although I do remember well ESPN cutting away from literally every other show for every Bonds at bat. LaRussa is not only in the HoF himself, he’s on the Golden Days Committee. In 1998 we all knew McGwire was using PEDs—and the reporter who dared report that he saw andro sitting out in plain site at his locker got lambasted by other media members…some of whom are among the unforgiving now. In the 1980s opposing fan bases often chanted “sterrroiiiids” at Canseco and McGwire when they were at bat.

      Yes, I will be amused at the mental gymnastics people will go through next year to justify their votes when Ortiz, like Pudge Rodriguez, sails into the HoF on the first ballot while Bonds and Clemens probably don’t get more than maybe 65% of the vote. I’ve no doubt the hypocrisy will be rife.

      It’s so much easier/cleaner my way, in my opinion. I basically give a pass to everyone with alleged use pre-2004. Until then there was no testing, no JDA, no agreement between the MLBPA and MLB and thus no real rule about PEDs. Fay Vincent’s position letter in 1993 doesn’t count, because (as he himself has said) it was unenforceable. That lets Ortiz and his supposed positive test off the hook—it’s never been disclosed what he reportedly had in his urine. The whole thing was supposed to be an anonymous survey anyway, and leaking the associated names was a violation of law. As for those who’ve been caught since 2004—like Manny Ramirez and A-Rod, well they got punished accordingly. I’ve less issue with the BBWAA voters holding their actions against them. As long as they aren’t declared ineligible though, I’d still vote for them. I’d have them down-ballot, behind those who don’t have such black marks on their resume. That means last year Manny wouldn’t have gotten my vote as I had more than 10 players I wanted in, but this year there was room and he’d have made my ballot therefore.

      Generally speaking, I am not in favor of the character clause. To me the HoF should be about on field accomplishments. Plus there are already plenty of not-nice people enshrined. Schilling is an ass, but his persona as a retired ball player is or should be irrelevant. Still, I do understand it’s human nature for many to allow their personal feelings affect their vote—I just think they shouldn’t.

      I have one exception to the use of the character clause for off-field issues: I’ve zero problem using it to boost the case of someone truly awesome, someone who lives their life in a way that attracts people to them and thus increases fandom. The obvious example is Roberto Clemente. He needed no boost in that he was an obvious Hall of Famer anyway, but if he had—say, 2500 hits and a .297 average instead of 3000 and .317…I would still want him in the HoF.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The plot thickens. I saw this morning that some of the voters tried to take back their vote for Schilling after he tweeted or something in favor of the 1 – 6 capitol riot. Rightly or wrongly the HOF wouldn’t let them.


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