Hey, it’s Baseball Hall of Fame time again.
Last year, I was on hiatus in January, so I didn’t comment on the results.
In 2020, I noted that if Curt Schilling “can keep his mouth shut through the presidential elections, he’ll probably be elected next year.” Oops. Didn’t happen. He hit 71.1% in the 2021 voting, sixteen votes short of election; this year he only scraped together 58.6% of the vote. Looks like his sour grapes demand that the writers not vote him in was honored.
One hopes that the Veteran’s Committee takes character into account and declines to elect him as well. Aside from anything else, he flat-out stated that the only people qualified to judge a player are former players. Fans and sportswriters don’t count–his words–in Curt Schilling’s world.
The other big question marks in their last year of eligibility, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, made small gains of around 5%. I suspect they will eventually be voted in by committee, and I’m largely okay with that.
Then, of course, there’s Alex Rodriguez. In his first year on the ballot, the new poster child for the “Numbers not Integrity” crowd got the nod from just over a third of the voters. About what many people expected. I’m betting his numbers will climb, but fall short of 75%, just as happened with Bonds and Clemens. Unless, of course, he does something to force the baseball press to take fresh note of him. Perhaps fortunately for his HoF dreams, his bid to buy the Mets fell through. Sorry, NBA fans, there really wasn’t any way we could stop him from turning those dollars over and buying into the Timberwolves–but we’d sure appreciate it if you could keep him too distracted to keep popping up on TV.
The current Edgar (“He really belongs in the Hall”) candidate is Omar Vizquel. Unfortunately, his polling numbers continue to drop. 52.6% in 2020, 49.1% last year, and only 23.9% this year. Plenty of time left–this was his fifth year of eligibility–but it would be a hell of a comeback.
So who did make it in? David Ortiz, with 77.9% of the voters coming in on his side. History suggests he’d have added at least another ten percentage points if he’d played for the Yankees, but who cares? He’s in and it’s well deserved.
Were there any sympathy votes this year? Of course there were*!
* My assumption is that any player getting less than five votes is getting sympathy votes, often of the “I can’t stomach Player X, so I’m going to use one of my votes as a pat on the back for Player Y” variety. Five or more, I assume at least one or two votes are legitimate nods to the Hall.
Two votes–half a percent–each to Prince Fielder and A.J. Pierzynski.
I didn’t expect Tim Lincecum to collect enough votes to stay on the ballot, but I’m a bit surprised he didn’t hit double digits, but there it is: nine votes, 2.3%.
Everybody has an opinion about Bonds, and mine is that he might have made it into the Hall, juice or no juice, if he hadn’t taken such pains, over the years to piss off- deliberately, personally- the exact people who are now making the decision about his legacy. His arrogance was legendary, and many (if not most) sports writers, if you ask them, have a story illustrating his rudeness. Now they have his reputation in their hands, and the wonder is that he came so close. I suspect a lot of writers leaned over backwards, trying not to let their personal feelings influence their vote.
We’ll see how his fellow players respond to their opportunity. I think it’s even money that he won’t do as well as he did with the writers. His presence in the club house was toxic, and the best any of his team mates had to say about him was something like “I get along with him okay”. Too, I think his fellow players will be more reluctant to overlook his cheating, which cast them all in a bad light.
There’s an old saying, something about treating people well on your way up, because you’re going to meet them again on your way down. That’s Bonds’ story. Maybe now the story will go away, at least for awhile.
My own suspicion is that the players will elect him. I have a feeling they’ll be more in the “impact on the game/his team” camp. Every job has that guy everyone hates, but wouldn’t get rid of because he’s too good at what he does.
Time will, as the saying goes, tell. And everyone else will be babbling away until then.