Curt Schilling came up 16 votes shy of induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday, leading the way in a year where no player earned the necessary votes for inclusion in baseball’s most exclusive club.
Schilling earned about 71% of the vote, with Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds each coming in at just under 62%.
Schilling Asks Not to be Considered in 2022
Those numbers were similar to last year’s totals for the three leading vote-getters. None of the three saw their totals rise by even 2%. With Schilling, Clemens, and Bonds all heading for their 10th and final years on the ballot in 2022, that raises the prospect that they may all fail to earn entry into the Hall of Fame, at least through the main balloting process.
Many observers expected Schilling to clear the necessary 75% threshold after coming relatively close in 2020, but the politically outspoken pitcher may have lost support due to some of his statements in support of Donald Trump.
Some members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America requested to change their votes after Schilling tweeted in support of the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, though Hall of Fame officials made it clear that no changes were permitted after votes were cast. Writers are instructed to consider character among other factors when voting for the Hall of Fame.
Schilling released a statement on Facebook in which he said he didn’t even want to take part in his final year of eligibility, while simultaneously saying he’d be open to alternative induction methods.
Curt Schilling in letter to the Hall of Fame: "I will not participate in the final year of voting. 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.''
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) January 26, 2021
“I will not participate in the final year of voting. I am requesting to be removed from the ballot,” Schilling wrote. “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.”
Clemens, Bonds Come Up Short in Hall of Fame Bids
Bonds and Clemens are also struggling with character issues of their own. Bonds finished his career among the greatest statistical players in baseball history, while Clemens ranks among the most dominant pitchers ever.
No player on the Baseball HOF’s 2021 ballot reached the 75% threshold needed for enshrinement. Leading vote-getters:
Curt Schilling – 71.1%
Barry Bonds – 61.8%
Roger Clemens – 61.6%
They each have one more year of eligibility on the ballot. pic.twitter.com/OE8MQyMnxY
— ESPN (@espn) January 26, 2021
But, both were also central figures in the steroid scandals that rocked baseball in the late 1990s. While voters have warmed to both players due to their overwhelming achievements, they remain significantly short of induction with one year of eligibility left.
Among returning players, Scott Rolen made the biggest leap compared to 2020. Rolen gained 17.2% to receive 52.9% of the vote. The seven-time All-Star third baseman is only in his fourth year of eligibility in 2021, and could be well on his way to an eventual Hall of Fame induction.
Change from 2020:
M. Ramirez 0.0
— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) January 26, 2021
Others receiving significant support include shortstop Omar Vizquel (49.1%), closer Billy Wagner (46.4%), and first baseman Todd Helton (44.9%). Among new candidates, Mark Buehrle led the way with support from 11% of voters.