Baseball Hall of Fame Says No to Schilling, Bonds and Clemens!

For Baseball Hall of Fame vote, character concerns go beyond PEDs – Orange County Register

Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling and Barry Bonds

Dear Commons Community,

The Baseball Hall of Fame voters decided yesterday not to accept any of the 25 candidates for enshrinement in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Candidates need to receive a minimum 75 percent of the vote to be elected. The last time the writers elected nobody was in 2013. The no-gos that year will sound familiar: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling.  As reported by the New York Times.

“This group has lingered on the ballot for nine years. Voters have 10 years to consider candidates, meaning that the next election, for the 2022 class in December, will be the writers’ final referendum on three of the most dominant and polarizing players in baseball history.  

Schilling, a postseason pitching titan whose incendiary rhetoric on social media has caused some voters to rethink their support, missed being elected by 16 votes. He collected 285 votes among the 401 ballots cast by 10-year members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, improving only to 71.1 percent, up from 70 percent last year.

Bonds and Clemens, who are linked by extraordinary success on the field and strong ties to performance-enhancing drug use, fell short again — Bonds with 61.8 percent of the vote, Clemens with 61.1 percent. Bonds, a seven-time winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award, is the career home run leader, with 762. Clemens, a seven-time winner of the Cy Young Award, is the only pitcher in history with 350 victories and 4,000 strikeouts.

If the writers do not elect Bonds, Clemens or Schilling on the next ballot, their fate will fall to a 16-person panel of Hall of Famers, team officials and historians. Formerly known as the veterans’ committee, this group considers managers, umpires, executives and players not elected by the writers, covering a different era in each election.

In a message to the Hall of Fame that he posted on Facebook, Schilling wrote that he was “mentally done” with the process and did not want to be considered again by the writers.

“I will not participate in the final year of voting,” he wrote. “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.”

In a statement, the Hall of Fame’s chairman, Jane Forbes Clark, said the Hall’s board would consider Schilling’s request at its next meeting. But it denied a similar request by Marvin Miller, the influential head of the players’ union who died in 2012 and who had asked to be taken off the veterans’ committee ballot.

The 16-person panel did not meet last December because of the coronavirus pandemic, so officially, the 2021 class will have no members at all. But because the pandemic also canceled the induction ceremonies for the 2020 class — including Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and Miller — there should still be activity in Cooperstown this summer. The Hall of Fame has scheduled an induction ceremony for July 25.

The writers have voted for the Hall of Fame since its founding in 1936. This was the ninth time they have held an election and failed to induct anyone. But from each of those fruitless elections, at least six of the top 10 finishers were inducted in time. Other than Gil Hodges, every player who has received at least 50 percent on a writer’s ballot has eventually been elected by the writers or a subsequent committee.

The New York Times is one of several news organizations that prohibit writers from voting for awards, believing that reporters should not be newsmakers. But if I could have submitted a ballot, I would have checked boxes for Bonds, Clemens, Todd Helton, Jeff Kent, Scott Rolen, Schilling and Gary Sheffield.

To me, the character clause should apply only if a player was, at some point, forbidden to participate because of cheating. If not, his career was fully sanctioned by Major League Baseball, and that’s good enough for me. Bonds and Clemens belong.

As for Schilling, his work on the field was Cooperstown-worthy (he is the only pitcher with more than 3,000 strikeouts and fewer than 750 walks) and for all of his troubling social-media bluster in retirement, he was honored several times as a player for community service and character. This is a baseball election, not a congressional race, and Schilling was great at baseball.”

Maybe next year!


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