Texarkana Gazette

More Hall of Fame shutouts could be on the horizon


It could be a while before the Baseball Writers’ Associatio­n of America votes anyone new into the Hall of Fame.

BBWAA members delivered an empty class in this year’s election, which was announced Tuesday night. Curt Schilling received the most support, but the former pitcher was selected on 71.1% of the ballots, falling 16 votes short of the 75% needed for induction. Barry Bonds (61.8%) and Roger Clemens (61.6%) were the next-highest finishers.

It was the first time since 2013 that the BBWAA didn’t elect anyone. That year proved to be an exception. The writers elected 22 players from 2014-20. But there are signs that the 2021 shutout could be repeated next year — and perhaps the year after that as well.

Schilling came up short, his numbers barely budging from last year. He’s turned off voters with his behavior in recent years, including social media posts about Muslim extremists, transgende­r people and journalist­s.

Schilling wrote on Facebook that he has asked the Hall of Fame to remove his name from next year’s ballot. Hall of Fame Board Chairman Jane Forbes Clark said in a statement the board “will consider the request at our next meeting.”

The BBWAA responded Wednesday and said “Schilling’s request to remove himself from the ballot is a violation of the rules set forth by the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s board of directors” are urged the board to reject the request. The BBWAA said Schilling “should remain on the ballot for considerat­ion by the voting body for what would be his final year on the BBWAA ballot in 2022.”

Bonds and Clemens appear to have stalled as well amid suspicions of performanc­e-enhancing drug use.

Next year’s ballot is expected to include Alex Rodriguez and David

Ortiz for the first time. Rodriguez was suspended for the 2014 season for violating Major League Baseball’s PED policy and collective bargaining agreement. The New York Times reported in 2009 that Ortiz was among those who tested positive in a 2003 survey designed to determine the degree of steroids use in baseball.

Barring a significan­t change in the way the electorate approaches PEDs, it’s possible the BBWAA won’t vote anyone in next year, either. And the same could be true for 2023, when Carlos Beltrán — implicated in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal — appears likely to be the top newcomer on the ballot.


Bonds and Clemens have one more year on the writers’ ballot, and Schilling does, too, unless the Hall abides by his request for removal. There was a time when Bonds and Clemens seemed to be making progress as new voters were added to the process, but now they’re heading into their 10th and final chance.

“The turnover in the electorate seems to be good for a point or two every year, but they need, what, 13 or 14 points now?” said Ryan Thibodaux, whose online ballot tracker provides a running poll in the weeks leading up to the vote announceme­nt. “They need to change a whole bunch of minds. It’s basically if a bunch of people have decided that they’re waiting until year 10 to make that switch, that’s pretty much their hope.”


Ortiz has his own PED questions, but he’s managed to remain relatively popular, and it’s anyone’s guess how he’ll fare in the voting.

“One of the few candidates where I literally have no idea what’s going to happen,” Thibodaux said. “It would not surprise me if he got 50% and it wouldn’t surprise me if he got 85%.”

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