One of our favorite ballots came out today, that of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The official ballot comprises 25 former players, 14 of which were holdovers from 2020. To gain entry to the Baseball Hall of Fame, a candidate must gain 75 percent of the ballot. Once eligible, they have ten years go gain entry. If an individual fails to get 5 percent, he falls off the ballot completely.
The voting body consists of BBWAA members who have been in good standing for at least ten years. Voters can select as few as zero players or as many as ten.
The returning candidates are:
Curt Schilling: 9thYear, 70% last year. Had Schilling been more media friendly, the Pitcher would likely have been inducted already. With the 2020 Class being inducted alongside the 2021 Class, Schilling would not be a headliner, and this could actually help him with voters who dislike him, but want him to receive less of the spotlight. Ranked #5 on NIHOF.
Roger Clemens: 9thYear, 61% last year. It was never proven that Roger Clemens took PEDs but O.J. Simpson was found not guilty. Nevertheless, Clemens (allegedly) took them before Major League Baseball had an agreement in place that prohibited their use (2005), and suspensions for PEDs came after. The fact that Commissioner, Bud Selig, who presided over the Steroids Era was inducted by the Veteran’s Committee in 2017, made some writers vocally say that it changed their opinion on players like Clemens. Five years ago, it was considered a long shot for Clemens to get in. Now it seems like it could happen. The vote total for Clemens is the most interesting one of 2021. Ranked #1C on NIHOF.
Barry Bonds: 9thYear, 60.7% last year. See above. Everything said about Clemens, applies to Bonds. Everything. So, how come each year, they haven’t finished with the same vote total? Ranked #2 on NIHOF.
Omar Vizquel: 4thYear, 52.6%. With a lighter ballot, it is not impossible to foresee Vizquel vault all the way into Cooperstown this year. Ranked #45 on NIHOF.
Scott Rolen: 4thYear, 35.3%. Rolen had only 10.2% in his first year of eligibility and he could crack 50% this year. Ranked #10 on NIHOF.
Billy Wagner: 6thYear, 31.7%. Wagner nearly doubled his vote tally from the year before going from treading water to the realm of possibility. He is the top reliever on this ballot. Ranked #59 on NIHOF.
Gary Sheffield: 7thYear, 30.5%. Sheffield is running out of time, but he is another with the stats but the alleged PED user did crack the 30 plateau. It is possible. Ranked #14 on NIHOF.
Todd Helton: 3rdYear, 29.2%. Helton’s number might seem low but he is trending ahead of fellow Rockie, Larry Walker, who got in last year. Ranked #7 on NIHOF.
Manny Ramirez: 5thYear, 28.2%. Unlike Clemens and Bonds, Ramirez WAS caught using PEDs and WAS suspended twice. This is a delineation mark for many, and while Bonds and Clemens could get in, Ramirez is unlikely to, despite his gaudy stats and World Series rings. Ranked #6 on NIHOF.
Jeff Kent: 8thYear, 27.5%. The former MVP’s total is his highest ever but there is only three years left. If he does not get to 40% this year, it is not likely for Kent. Ranked #48 on NIHOF.
Andruw Jones: 4thYear, 19.4%. Jones had less than 8.0% in his first two years of eligibility but approaching 20% last year was huge for the former Brave. Ranked #40 on NIHOF.
Sammy Sosa: 9thYear, 13.9%. Sosa certainly has the stats, but unlike Bonds and Clemens, he appears to have no chance. Sosa is not on the level of Bonds, but is that why he is so low in comparison? Probably not. Everyone knew when Bonds and Clemens played that they were surly. Sosa pretended not to be and was eventually revealed as a character fraud. Seriously, this a factor that hurts him that nobody talks about. Ranked #28 on Notinhalloffame.com
Andy Pettitte: 3rdYear, 11.3%. Pettitte is an admitted PED user, but handled it in the blueprint way for everyone. Sadly, not very many people followed his lead (see Braun, Ryan). A jump to at least 20% keeps him in the conversation. Ranked #32 on NIHOF.
Bobby Abreu: 2ndYear, 5.5%. Abreu barely made it through last year, but is worthy to do so again. Saying that, it would not be a shock to see him fall under the 5% threshold. Ranked #79 on NIHOF.
With the 11 new candidates it is very possible that none of them will advance.
The new entries are:
Mark Buehrle: Pitcher, 214-160, 3.81 ERA, 1,870 Strikeouts. Ranked #74 on NIHOF.
A.J. Burnett: Pitcher, 164-157 3.99 ERA 2,513 Strikeouts.
Michael Cuddyer: Outfield, 1,522 Hits, 197 HR, .277/.344/.461.
Dan Haren: Pitcher, 153-131, 3.75 ERA, 2,013 Strikeouts.
LaTroy Hawkins: Pitcher, 75-94, 4.31 ERA, 127 Saves.
Tim Hudson: Pitcher, 222-133, 3.49 ERA, 2,060 Strikeouts. Ranked #101 on NIHOF.
Torii Hunter: Outfield, 2,452 Hits, 353 HR, .277/.331/.461.
Aramis Ramirez: Third Base, 2,303 Hits, 386 Home Runs, .283/.341/.492.
Nick Swisher: Outfield, 1,338 Hits, 245 Home Runs, .249/.351/.447.
Shane Victorino: Outfield, 1,274 Hits, 108 HR, .275/.340/.425.
Barry Zito: Pitcher, 165-143, 4.04 ERA, 1,885 Strikeouts.
Notably, Aaron Harang, Adam LaRoche, Alex Rios, C.J. Wilson, Crey Hart, Dan Uggla, Grady Sizemore, Grant Balfour, Jason Marquis, Jeremy Affeldt, Kevin Gregg, Rafael Soriano and Skip Schumaker were eligible for the ballot but left off of it.
The results will be revealed on January 26. This group will be inducted alongside Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and Marvin Miller, who were the Class of 2020.