By NOAH TRISTER, AP Baseball writer
It may be some time before the Baseball Writers Association of America votes someone in the Hall of Fame.
BBWAA members gave a vacant class in this year’s election, which was announced on Tuesday night. Kurt Schilling received the most support, but the former pitcher was elected on 71.1% of the ballots, with 16 votes less than the 75% required for induction. Barry Bonds (61.8%) and Roger Clemens (61.6%) were the next highest finishers.
It was the first time since 2013 that the BBWAA did not elect anyone. That year proved to be an exception to this. The authors selected 22 players from 2014-20. But there are indications that the 2021 shutdown may be repeated next year – and perhaps later that year.
The shilling came down, its numbers barely increasing since last year. He has shut down voters from his behavior in recent years, including social media posts about Muslim extremists, transgender people and journalists.
Schilling wrote on Facebook that he has asked the Hall of Fame to remove his name from next year’s vote. Hall of Fame board president Jane Forbes Clarke said in a statement, “The board will consider the request at our next meeting.”
Bond and Clemens appeared to be holding back suspicion of the use of a performance-enhancing drug.
Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz are expected to be included for the first time in next year’s voting. Rodriguez was suspended for the 2014 season for violations of Major League Baseball’s PED policy and collective bargaining agreement. The New York Times reported in 2009 that Ortiz was among those who conducted a positive survey in 2003 to determine the degree of steroid use used in baseball.
Given a significant change in the way voters approach the PED, it is possible that the BBWAA will not vote anyone next year. And the same may be true for 2023, when Carlos Beltran – implicated in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal – is likely to be the top newcomer on the ballot.
Bond and Clemens have one more year on the writers’ ballot, and Schilling as well, until Hall complies with their request for removal. There was a time when Bond and Clemens were making progress as new voters were added to the process, but now they are moving into their 10th and final opportunity.
“Voter turnovers seem to be good for one or two points every year, but they need it, now what do 13 and 14 points need?” Said Ryan Thibodax, whose online ballot tracker provides a running poll, leading the week. Declaration of vote. “They need to change a whole bunch of brains. It’s basically if a group of people have decided that they have been waiting for 10 years to make that switch, that is their lot to expect.”
Ortiz has his own PED questions, but remains relatively popular, and it is not anyone’s guess how he will participate in the voting.
“One of the few candidates where I really have no idea what’s going to happen,” Thibodax said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he got 50% and I wouldn’t be surprised if he got 85%.”
Perhaps a basis of support for Ortiz would cause some voters to reconsider their opposition to Bond and Clemens, but it is not clear exactly how well Ortiz would do in his first attempt.
Although Rodriguez and Ortiz are the biggest additions, there are some other interesting new names for the 2022 ballot.
Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rawlins won MVP each and Tim Lincencum won two Cy Young Awards. Prince Fielder and Joe Nathan are the other characters.
Scott Rawl received 52.9% of the vote this year, up from 35.3% in 2020. He may be the best bet to avoid more BBWAA shutouts over the next few years.
Even though the BBWAA does not vote on anyone next year, there is a chance that someone will be elected by one of the Eras committees, who do not consider the players eligible for the BBWAA vote. The Golden Days and Early Baseball committees should consider candidates for next year’s class, and today’s Sports Committee has set its say for the 2023 class.
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