The ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame 2021 class was released Monday. It features 25 players, including 11 who are on the ballot for the first time.
The men who receive 75% of the vote will be announced on January, 26th, 2021, and inducted on July 25th, 2021. Additionally, they will be joined by the class of 2020 featuring Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons, and a posthumous honor for Marvin Miller after their ceremony was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Notable Returning Candidates for the Hall of Fame Ballot
Curt Schilling received the highest percentage of the vote among players who were not elected in 2020 at 70%. Although his antics on social media draw questions about his character, his career speaks for itself in making it to Cooperstown. While he never won a Cy Young award, he finished second thrice, and he won 216 games with a 127 ERA+. He pitched with great control, reaching the 3,000 strikeout milestone, and he came through whenever his team needed him in October. His postseason record of 11-2 comes with a 2.23 ERA in 133 1/3 innings pitched on three World Series champions.
Once again, the most controversial candidates are Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Like Schilling, they are in their ninth season on the ballot. Allegations of steroid user continue to be the reason that holds them out of the Hall of Fame. Bonds, the recipient of seven MVP awards received 60.7% of the vote in 2020. Meanwhile, Clemens, the recipient of seven Cy Young awards, received 61% of the vote. A few years ago, their election appeared inevitable as they continued to receive significant jumps in the voting. However, they have remained stagnant, and their percentages have only increased by roughly five to six percent since then.
Additionally, Omar Vizquel is a notable returning candidate for the 2021 Hall of Fame class. Vizquel’s candidacy stems largely from his longevity, playing 24 seasons, and his defense, winning 11 Gold Glove awards. What holds his candidacy back is his lack of offense. He is a career .272 hitter with a 82 OPS+. Despite the offense weaknesses, Vizquel has seen his percentage of the vote rise from 37% to 42.8% to 52.6% in each of his three seasons on the ballot.
With the lack of no-doubt candidates, the 2021 Hall of Fame class may be smaller than those of the previous seven years. After getting 70% of the vote in 2020, Schilling is the closest of any candidate and should cross the 75% threshold, but there are no guarantees. Ultimately, the most interest stems from seeing what kind of boost a non-crowded ballot gives Bonds, Clemens, and Vizquel.
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