The 2021 MLB Hall of Fame class was revealed today, and for the first time since 2013, no players will be inducted. This comes as quite a disappointment, as many worthy players will have to continue waiting. For a few players, there is no next time on the ballot, as they received less than the five-percent requirement to stay.
2021 MLB Hall of Fame: Schilling Falls Short, Pulls Himself From Ballot
In his ninth year on the ballot, Curt Schilling fell just 16 votes shy of enshrinement, receiving a ballot-leading 71.1 percent of the vote. In a stunning turn of events though, Schilling asked the Hall of Fame to pull his name from the ballot.
Many writers have voted against Schilling due to his checkered history as a teammate and because of some off-putting remarks, he’s made in his post-playing career. Still, he received a 1.1-percent increase from his 2020 results. 2022 would have been Schilling’s final year on the ballot, and he still had a chance to make it into Cooperstown.
Blame this on the voters or himself, but this is an act of a sore loser. As a player, Schilling is worthy of enshrinement, but many writers are exercising the character clause and are hesitant to vote for him. His fate is now up to the Modern Era Baseball Committee.
2021 MLB Hall of Fame: Steroid Users Strike Out, Again
I’ve written on this topic in the past, but the alleged steroid users once again came nowhere close to enshrinement. Barry Bonds led the charge for the juicers, bringing in his highest vote total at 61.8 percent. Roger Clemens followed close behind at 61.6, with Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez, and Gary Sheffield still a ways back of Clemens and Bonds.
I have been very vocal about my support for the steroid users in their Hall of Fame, and it boggles my mind that voters still haven’t warmed up to this idea. Bud Selig, the man who turned a blind eye to steroid usage, made it into Cooperstown in 2017. Steroids weren’t illegal for a majority of these players’ careers, and most of them enjoyed plenty of success before they starting taking steroids. If Selig is in the Hall of Fame, I see no reason why steroid users shouldn’t get into the Hall of Fame.
2021 MLB Hall of Fame: Record Number of Blank Ballots
Every year there are a few writers who cast blank ballots, however, 14 voters cast blank ballots, including a first-time voter. This is a record total, and it has drawn quite the outrage from fans and players alike.
Submitting a blank ballot is absolutely ridiculous. Every year, voters can select up to 10 players to vote for, yet these writers choose to vote for no one. They are saying that nobody on the ballot is worthy of enshrined, which couldn’t be a more ignorant statement. Some voters submitted a ballot which just one player selected.
I’m not saying that voters have to use all 10 of the votes, but at least give some effort when voting. I can guarantee that every year, there is at least one player on the ballot every year who deserves to get into Cooperstown.
2021 MLB Hall of Fame: Big Increases For Some
The 2021 MLB Hall of Fame results weren’t all bad. Some players saw huge boosts in their totals. Most notably, Scott Rolen saw his numbers jump from 35.3 percent to 52.9 percent. A very underrated player, Rolen was an eight-time Gold Glover and a seven-time All-Star. He also clears the Hall of Fame benchmarks in rWAR, JAWS, and WAR7 for third basemen.
Billy Wagner and Todd Helton also saw big increases. Wagner, arguably the greatest left-handed reliever of all-time, saw his percentage jump from 31.7 percent to 46.4 percent. Wagner was one of my boyhood idols, and he is definitely deserving of being in the Hall of Fame. As for Helton, his number jumped 29.2 percent to 44.9 percent. Voters tend to discount Helton’s numbers because he played his entire career for the Rockies. Larry Walker was voted in last year though, and that may have been a reason why more voters are willing to let Helton in.
Other big risers included Andruw Jones and Gary Sheffield. A 10-time Gold Glover and five-time All-Star, Jones saw his percentage rise from 19.4 percent to 33.9 percent. During his prime, Jones was one of the best centerfielders in baseball.
Sheffield meanwhile had his numbers increase from 30.5 percent to 40.6 percent. He was a nine-time All-Star and is a member of the 500 home run club. I was actually at the game where Sheffield hit his 500th home run, and he remains the only player to hit number 500 as a Met.
2021 MLB Hall of Fame: No Luck For First-Timers
There were 11 new players on the ballot this year, but sadly, none of them received much support. Of the newcomers, only Mark Buehrle (11.0 percent), Torii Hunter (9.5 percent), and Tim Hudson (5.2 percent) received enough votes to remain on the ballot. The only other first-timers that received any votes were Aramis Ramirez, Barry Zito, and LaTroy Hawkins. No votes were cast for Shane Victorino, Dan Haren, A.J. Burnett, Michael Cuddyer, or Nick Swisher. Some of the players who fell off the ballot had solid careers, but unfortunately, they were far from Hall of Fame-caliber.
2021 MLB Hall of Fame: Closing Thoughts
The 2021 MLB Hall of Fame results came as a disappointment to many. It’s always frustrating when no new players are inducted into Cooperstown, and hopefully this doesn’t happen again next year. For some players though, the 2021 MLB Hall of Fame results show a glimmer of hope that their chances of enshrinement are growing.
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