When the final ballots were counted, and no one was elected into baseball’s Hall of Fame this year, I wasn’t shocked. A very weak incoming class, topped with a lot of players connected to steroids, made that possibility a reality. However, when you dive deeper into the numbers, you realize how big of a joke the Hall of Fame is becoming.
As most of us know, it takes a 75% vote to get elected into the Hall of Fame. This year, Curt Schilling received the highest percentage at 71.1%, an increase of about 1% from 2020.
Of course, we know who is behind him, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the most controversial players ever to grace the ballot. Both of them saw small increases, at 61.8 and 61.6 respectfully, but still a good way off of from where they needed to be.
Scott Rolen, best known to Mets fans as the player involved in “The Catch”, made the biggest jump, going from 35.3% in 2020 to 52.9 in 2021. Todd Helton also received a big boost, going from 29.2% in 2020 to 44.9% in 2021. Omar Vizquel (49.1), Billy Wagner (46.4), Gary Sheffield (40.6), Andruw Jones (33.9), and Sammy Sosa (17.0), all lost support, getting fewer votes in 2021 than they did in 2020.
The biggest blemish here isn’t the fact that no one was voted in this year. It’s the fact that 14 voters left their ballots completely blank. 14. This is why the Hall of Fame voting process is a joke.
How can one person, who has the job of deciding who gets into the Hall of Fame, not vote for a single person? There has to be one player (there are multiple) that in your eye is at least worthy of a vote, even just to stay on the ballot for another year. Somehow, not only one person did this, but 14 people did the same thing.
If I had a vote my ballot would have consisted of Schilling, Bonds, Clemens, Vizquel, Wagner, Helton, Jones, and Sosa. My vote is based on not who I think will get in, but who deserves a shot, though I believe most of these players are Hall of Fame worthy. Just wanted to add my two cents, for what it’s worth.
We are at a point where voters feel like they are the “Baseball Gods”, and whoever dares besmirches its honor shall not have their presence in the hallows of the baseball’s most illustrious ceremony. The fact is, a lot of these guys are idiots. People who don’t have a pulse on the game, and if they did it was 20 years ago.
Schilling said after the voting was reviled he no longer wanted to be on the ballot. In his words, “I’ll defer to the veteran’s committee and men whose opinions actually matter and who are in a position to actually judge a player.” While I may not agree with Schilling’s opinions on politics, him being left off of voter’s ballots has nothing to do with his playing career.
Major League Baseball needs to change the voting process. If we’ve learned anything these past years, the system is at best, flawed and in need of serious updating to people who actually understand the game. At worst, it’s a group of over pretentious old-timers who have no idea what today’s game is and will blackball anyone who feels they don’t fit into their perfect mold of what it means to be a “Hall of Famer”.