The Hall of Fame has sent out its ballots to the BBWAA voters. The new names this year are: David Ortiz, Justin Morneau, Mark Texeira, Joe Nathan, Alex Rodriguez, Jimmy Rollins, Carl Crawford, Jake Peavy, Prince Fielder, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Howard, Jonathan Papelbon, and AJ Pierzynski.
In their 10th and final year on the ballot are: Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa. 9th year: Jeff Kent. 8th: Gary Sheffield. 7th: Billy Wagner. 6th: Manny Ramirez. 5th: Scott Rolen, Omar Vizquel, Andruw Jones. 4th: Todd Helton, Andy Pettite. 3rd: Bobby Abreu. 2nd: Mark Buehrle, Torii Hunter, Tim Hudson.
That’s 30 players total. Nobody got selected last year; Curt Schilling had 71.8% (you need 75%, no rounding), falling 16 votes shy. Normally such a player would be a shoo-in the next year. Instead, Schilling requested his name be removed from the ballot (request denied). He also continued his social media trolling ways, including posting support of the Capital rioters on Jan 6. Look for him to not get those 16 votes and thus break Gil Hodge’s record for highest vote percentage for any player never elected by the BBWAA. Dumb thing is, his in field performance was more than worthy of HoF induction. I don’t ding people using the character clause on post-career actions, so I’d still vote for him; but I understand those who see it differently.
When the BBWAA voting ranks got purged of the members who did not still actually cover baseball, Bonds’ and Clemens’ percentages jumped quite a bit to about 56%. However, since then, it’s been about 1% per year, reaching just under 62% last year. They ain’t getting elected. (I truly believe they are the reason the Hall shortened the time a player can be on the ballot from 15 to 10 years.)
I think Rolen will make a good jump this year, probably in next year or the year after. Maybe Wagner and Helton too…but I don’t think any other holdover is getting in.
As for the newbies, A-Rod can look at Bonds and Clemens and expect to get less support than them on this ballot and probably peak at their level. (Back to Gil Hodges for a moment—until the PED guys and Schilling came along, he was the only player to surpass 50% of the vote but never get elected. He has a shot with this year’s Golden Days committee though.)
David Ortiz was one of the players named in 2009 in the news media as being one of the supposed-to-be-anonymous positive PED tests in 2003. He vehemently denied it, and never tested positive when the real testing began. Commissioner Manfred has also shed doubt on the veracity of the news report. His WAR rates him as a marginal candidate, but his power numbers, postseason heroics, and outsized personality are likely to carry him over the requisite 75% of the vote. I expect Texeira, Rollins, Nathan, and Morneau to get over 5% of the vote and thus be on next year’s ballot. As for the others, well having a good enough and long enough career to be on a ballot even once is an honor itself, so congrats to all of them.
I’ll do my mythical vote later. For now, my predicted HoF class of 2022 is: David Ortiz and anyone selected by either the Early Days or Golden Days committees.