Hall of Fame Voting Troubles for Bonds and Clemens

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All over baseball social media, you will see arguments for and against the enshrinement of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens in the Baseball Hall of Fame. This is not one of those articles. Instead, the focus of this article is to analyze the public vote totals for Bonds and Clemens and see if they are on track to make the Hall of Fame.

Learning from Prior Years

In 2021, Bonds finished with 61.8% of the vote while Clemens came in at 61.6%, both gaining a few votes from 2020. Bonds earned a total of 248 votes while Clemens was selected on 247 ballots. Unfortunately for supporters of both, they would fall 53 and 54 votes shy of Cooperstown.

Now, with 152 ballots cast for 2022(41.1% of total voters) both Bonds (79.5%) and Clemens (78.3%) are currently on-track to become the newest Hall of Famers. However, when we dig deeper into the numbers, it appears that both are likely to see their voting percentage dip below the 75% threshold.

Causes for Concern

Not Gaining Votes

The first major issue facing the candidacies of both Bonds and Clemens is that neither is gaining many additional votes. With both former players needing to pick up over 50 votes, they will need quite a few returning voters to soften their stances on players accused of steroids.

So far, both have only gained 2 returning voters from last year. For reference, this means Bonds has been selected on 118 out of 140 cast ballots (about 84.3%) from those who also voted in 2021. However, during last years cycle, Bonds was selected on 116 out of the 140 ballots, or about 82.9%.

If you are rooting for either Bonds or Clemens to make it to Cooperstown, these numbers are a little deflating. While it’s encouraging to see that neither has lost support, it doesn’t point to an overwhelming push of voters willing to vote for them in their last year of eligibility.

One area where both have done well are their gains with new voters. Both have been selected on 10 of the 12 ballots cast from first time voters, giving both candidates 12 total votes gained. However, since 2019, the number of new voters each year has ranged from 9 to 13, meaning it’s entirely possible all first time voters have already casted their ballots.

The Revealed Voter Dilemma

Since the 2019 vote, about 84% of ballots are released for public view. In 2021, 188 ballots were made public before the Hall of Fame announcement while 123 became public following the announcement.

This table shows where Bonds and Clemens stood before and after the public vote every year since 2019 using information from the wonderful tracker created by @notmrtibbs:

Barry Bonds2022202120202019
Bonds Pre Announcement79.5%73.7%70.9%70.7%
Bonds Post AnnouncementNA53.1%50.9%46.4%
Bonds Total PublicNA65.8%64.1%62.2%
Bonds PrivateNA42.6%42.9%42.6%
Bonds TotalNA61.8%60.7%59.1%

As you can see, the voters most favorable towards Bonds are those who make their ballots early in the voting process, which is a majority of the voters. However, a large percentage of voters wait until the day of the Hall of Fame announcement, and on average they are tougher on the 7x MVP.

Finally, the smallest percentage of voters, those that never reveal their ballots, were quite difficult on Bonds, leaving him well short each of the last 3 voting cycles.

Roger Clemens2022202120202019
Clemens Pre Announcement78.3%73.2%70%70.7%
Clemens Post AnnouncementNA52.3%51.8%46.4%
Clemens Total PublicNA65.2%63.8%62.2%
Clemens PrivateNA44.1%46%45.6%
Clemens TotalNA61.6%61%59.5%

Unsurprisingly, Clemens’ voters follow the same pattern as they do on Bonds. This points to the issue most likely keeping Bonds and Clemens out of the Hall of Fame are their links to Performance Enhancing Drugs.

Final Analysis

When viewing the current public results for the 2022 Hall of Fame voting cycle, it does not appear that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will make it to the Hall of Fame. While the current vote that have been counted place Bonds and Clemens over the 75% vote total, they likely do not have the needed votes from the votes that have yet to become public.

When factoring in the first-time voters and those who have voted for the duo for the first time, Bonds and Clemens appear to be 41 and 42 votes respectively short of Cooperstown. While there likely will be a small group of voters who vote for Bonds and Clemens for the first time, it likely won’t be the wave needed to push them over 75%.

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Main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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