The big winner in the Baseball Hall of Fame induction this year will be – nobody.
Except for the integrity of the game and a much-needed boost to the exclusivity of the great honor of being enshrined at Cooperstown, every potential nominee came up short in the annual voting held by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BWAA).
Late on Tuesday afternoon, the BWAA revealed the much-anticipated 2021 Hall of Fame voting results. Zero names appeared on at least 75 percent of this year's ballots that were cast. What that means is -- no one will earn an induction through the traditional avenue.
The 2021 class is an empty box.
And that's wonderful.
This abnormality really is a gift to the Hall of Fame and all the existing inductees, as well as to traditional baseball fans who understand there are no rubber stamps and easy routes to the game's highest honor.
Unlike the Pro Football Hall of Fame, presumably a similar benchmark of greatness which has become little more than a giant Walmart parking lot filled with retired football players, dozens of its inductees marginally qualified at best and many selections outright ridiculous being placed alongside those who were truly exceptional – no, unlike football – baseball actually got it right.
Getting into Cooperstown will mean something.
And, that's a good thing.
No doubt, this year's empty class won't be popular in some circles. But it was the right outcome. Three players received votes on more than 70 percent of the ballots that were disclosed – including Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, and Barry Bonds. However, none of them surpassed the 75-percent voting threshold reuired for induction. In Clemens' and Bonds' cases, the reasons were obvious – the dark cloud of steriod use over their careers. In Schilling's case, the outcome will be open to speculation. Despite his off-the-field troubles and controversies, Schilling (like Clemens and Bonds) clearly had the numbers for inclusion.
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Hence, 2021 will make the ninth time that baseball did not vote a player into the Hall of Fame. This also happened in -- 1945, 1950, 1958, 1960, 1965, 1971, 1996, and 2013. However, eight players on the 2013 ballot rejected that year were eventually voted in by the BBWAA. So, there's a decent chance several players from the 2021 list will eventually make the cut.
Reportedly, Schilling ended up with the highest vote total of any player (71 percent). He was just 16 votes shy of induction. If Schilling, Bonds and Clemens are not voted in next year (which marks the 10-year window), their Hall of Fame fates and fortune will move on to the Eras Committees, which is sort of an old-timers group which meets every few years to consider players not voted in my the BBWAA. One expects they'll get in someday. But not soon.
Hello, Pete Rose.
Here are the full results from this year's ballot for players who earned at least five percent of the vote:
2021 Hall of Fame Voting Results
PLAYER — VOTES — PERCENTAGE
Curt Schilling 285 71.1%
Barry Bonds 248 61.8%
Roger Clemens 247 61.6%
Scott Rolen 212 52.9%
Omar Vizquel 197 49.1%
Billy Wagner 186 46.4%
Todd Helton 180 44.9%
Gary Sheffield 163 40.6%
Andruw Jones 136 33%
Jeff Kent 130 32.4%
Manny Ramirez 113 28.2%
Sammy Sosa 68 17.0%
Andy Pettite 55 13.7%
Mark Buehrle 44 11.0%
Torii Hunter 38 9.5%
Bobby Abreu 35 8.7%
Tim Hudson 21 5.2%
So, better luck next year!
And congratulations to Major League Baseball and those who vote for making sure the game's highest honor, an induction, will mean something. Those who get in, sooner or later, all will have earned it – fair and square.