By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com
One of the most divisive Baseball Hall of Fame cycles in recent memory came to an end on Tuesday – with no players being elected to the Hall. In a group that included the all-time leader in home runs, all-time leader in Cy Young awards, and the greatest postseason pitcher in history, no players reached the 75-percent threshold for BBWAA voters needed for induction.
Curt Schilling was the leading vote getter, appearing on on 71.1 percent of the ballots, meaning he was 16 votes shy of induction. His candidacy has been derailed for his life outside of baseball, mainly his vocal political opinions and support of former president Donald Trump.
Despite having one more year of eligibility, Schilling has reportedly asked the Hall to remove him from next year’s ballot. Instead, his case will be judged by the veterans committee, who decide on players not selected in their original eligibility.
Curt Schilling in a letter to the Hall of Fame: "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."— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) January 26, 2021
Barry Bonds was the second-most popular choice, appearing on 61.8 percent of the ballots. His 762 home runs are the most in MLB history, and his seven MVP awards are more than double the next closest player. However, ties to baseball’s steroid era and the BALCO scandal have kept him out of the hall to this point.
Roger Clemens, who had the third most votes at 61.6 percent, is another all-time great who’s history with steroids is hurting his chances in Cooperstown. He won a record seven Cy Young awards over 24 Major League seasons, and is one of just four pitchers in history to record more than 4,000 strikeouts (4,672).
Like Schilling, Bonds and Clemens were on their ninth year of eligibility. With the Hall’s 10 year limit, next cycle will be the final chance for arguably the greatest hitter and pitcher of their eras to be elected. Expect next year’s vote to be even more dramatic, with David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez appearing on the ballot for the first time.
The remaining top vote getters were Scott Rolen at 52.9 percent, Omar Vizquel at 49.1 percent, Billy Wagner at 46.4 percent, Todd Helton at 44.9 percent, and Gary Sheffield at 40.6. Former Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez, in his fifth year on the ballot, pulled in 28.2 percent of the potential vote.
This is the ninth Baseball Hall of Fame cycle to result in an empty class. Despite being a somewhat regular occurrence in the 50’s and 60’s, it has been a rarity for the last 50 years. This is just the third instance no players secured enough votes since since 1971 (2013, 1996).
The empty Class of 2021 doesn’t mean there won’t be a celebration in Cooperstown, New York this summer. COVID canceled the induction ceremony for the class of 2020, which will now be held this year. Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons (veterans committee), and Marvin Miller (veterans committee) will be officially inducted on July 25.
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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com.