Tomorrow (1/25/222) the HoF announces whether anyone is being inducted this year via the BBWAA. With about 46% of the votes known, thanks to Ryan Thibodeaux’s tracking site (Google it, it’s great), David Ortiz looks to be in pretty good shape at 84.1% of the vote. Barry Bonds has 76.9% and Roger Clemens 75.8%. The voters who won’t release their ballots have routinely caused Bonds’ and Clemens’ totals to drop 8-10%…so it’s not expected that they will get in on this their final ballot. What’s not certain is how those same voters view Ortiz—his name was illegally leaked as supposedly being among the failed 2003 anonymous testing that led to the first JDA and official testing as of 2004. Ortiz never failed an official drug test (of course, neither did Bonds or Clemens). Manfred has also implied that the leaked report isn’t accurate. Plus, Ortiz is much more popular than Bonds or Clemens. Regardless, at this point, even with the same 8-10% drop that Bonds and Clemens get each year, Ortiz either clears the bar this year or is so close that he’s bound to get in next year.
The other two final time on the ballot guys are Curt Schilling and Sammy Sosa, and neither will be particularly close to selection by the BBWAA. Thus all 4 of them (and all the players who drop off the ballot for next year) will be considered for inclusion on the next Today’s Game Committee (veterans committee for candidates whose main contribution to baseball has been since 1988). That committee next meets in: December of this year!
The committee will consist of 16 people who will consider a ballot with 10 names on it. Who will they be? We will find out about it in November, but here’s my best guess;
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Curt Schilling—It’s kind of a no-brainer to immediately have them on the ballot.
Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro—They weren’t on the 2019 Today’s Game ballot. I’m not normally given to conspiracy theories, but I believe the HoF will add them this time wanting the committee to give them another thumbs down along with Bonds, Clemens, and Sosa. They want the known PED users repudiated.
Lou Piniella—He missed induction on the last Today’s Game Committee voting by one vote (induction requires 12 votes out of 16, he got 11).
Joe West—He is eligible now that he is retired. He will be the “contributor/executive” nominee.
Davey Johnson, Kevin Brown—Just guessing here.
How do I think this shakes out? Well, right now, I’d say Lou Piniella and Joe West get in. As I mentioned above, Lou just missed last time. Joe West owns the record for most career games as an ump; he’s getting selected despite being widely considered one of the worst umps of our time both by fans and objective measures.
Schilling might get in, but I’m going to guess no until he learns to keep his mouth shut or at least until after 2024. The HoF leaders will be happy that the “PED 5” won’t be selected, but unhappy that Bonds and Clemens will get 6 or 7 votes and demonstrate the feelings are not unanimous even within the Hall about pre-2004 PED use. The PED dilemma that crowded the BBWAA ballot will now be crowding Today’s Game ballots until the HoF either gives in and selects them or puts their foot down and quits putting them on ballots at all. Now we wait 11 months to see if I’m right.