The Baseball Hall of Fame won't have any new players in the class of 2021 after voters decided no one had the merits — on the field or off — for enshrinement in Cooperstown on this year's ballot. Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were the closest in voting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, and the trio will have one more chance at election next year. It's the first time the BBWAA didn't choose anyone since 2013.
Schilling, a right-handed ace who won three World Series titles, finished 16 votes short of the 75% threshold necessary for enshrinement. He got 71.1% percent this time after coming up 20 votes shy at 70% last year.
Schilling's on-field accomplishments face little dispute, but he has ostracized himself in retirement by directing hateful remarks toward Muslims, transgender people, journalists and others.
"It's all right, the game doesn't owe me anything," Schilling said during a live video stream on his Twitter account.
He later wrote on Facebook that he has asked the Hall of Fame to remove his name from next year's ballot. Hall of Fame Board Chairman Janes Forbes Clark said in a statement that the board "will consider the request at our next meeting."
Bonds (61.8%) and Clemens (61.6%) made minimal gains and joined Schilling in falling short on their ninth tries. Both face suspicions of performance-enhancing drug use — Clemens has denied using PEDs and Bonds has denied knowingly using PEDs.
Bonds has also been accused of domestic violence and Clemens of maintaining a decade-long relationship with a singer who was 15 when they met.
Schilling, Clemens and Bonds will be joined on next year's ballot by sluggers Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz. Rodriguez was suspended for all of the 2014 season for violating MLB's PED policy and collective bargaining agreement, and Ortiz's name allegedly appeared on a list of players who tested positive in 2003.
Omar Vizquel, an 11-time Gold Glove winner, dropped from 52.6% last year to 49.1% after his wife accused him of repeated domestic abuses in December. Braves star Andruw Jones, arrested in 2012 on a domestic violence charge, got 33.9% in his fourth year. Rockies slugger Todd Helton, who pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and was sentenced to two days in jail last year, got 44.9% in his third time on the ballot.
Some players missed out over old-fashioned baseball disagreements, too. Slick-fielding third baseman Scott Rolen moved from 35.3% to 52.9% and hard-throwing closer Billy Wagner from 31.7% to 46.4%.
It's the 19th time the BBWAA has failed to elect a Hall member and just the third time since 1971. With the Hall of Fame's Era Committees postponing their scheduled elections until next offseason because of the coronavirus pandemic, there won't be a new Hall class for the first time since 1960.
Cooperstown won't be without celebration next summer, though. After the 2020 ceremony in the upstate New York village was canceled due to the pandemic, Yankees great Derek Jeter and five-tool star Larry Walker will take center stage on July 25, a year later than planned. They'll be honored alongside catcher Ted Simmons and late players' association chief Marvin Miller.
BBWAA members are instructed to elect Hall members "based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played."
First published on January 26, 2021 / 8:59 PM
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