Baseball Hall of Fame Inducts No One

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The Baseball Hall of Fame announced on January 26 that none of its finalists achieved the qualifying percentage points to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The minimum number of votes needed for induction into the hall of fame is 75%. Curt Schilling had the highest percent of votes out of the 25 finalists, with 71.1% followed by Barry Bonds, 61.8% and Roger Clemens, 61.6%. 

This is the ninth occurrence since 1936 of no one being inducted into the hall of fame, with the other years being 2013, 1996, 1971, 1958-1960, 1950, 1945-1946, and 1936. The announcement caused baseball fans to question the methods and criteria the Baseball Writers’ Association of America uses to evaluate finalists for induction into the hall of fame. Curt Schilling was so disgusted and upset with the committees’ decision that he asked to be taken off of the 2022 Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot.

“I am mentally done,” he said in a tweet. “I know math and I know trends and I know I will not attain the 75% threshold for induction.”

Schilling retired from baseball in 2009, finishing  his impressive career with 216 wins to 146 losses, a 3.46 ERA, 3,116 strike-outs, and a WAR of 79.5. His three World Series championships should make his induction a home run, but he still has not been selected. Looking at his career and individual season statistics show why he is a hall of famer, but character concerns have been road blocking his chances for years. 

Since his retirement in 2009, controversy has stalked Schilling. Tweets comparing Muslims to Nazi’s, caused ESPN to suspend him, and later mocking Transgender people, which ESPN fired him for, have not helped his case. Recently Schilling tweeted support for the capitol riots, where five people, including a capitol officer, died. With all the controversial situations and statements made over the years, it’s understandable why he has not been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. 

Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds were also snubbed, causing a firestorm. Both have the same issue going against them. Steroids.

Both players were at the forefront of the Mitchell Report, which listed players who allegedly took performance enhancing drugs. The accusations have stained both players' images and has kept them from getting the necessary amount of votes to be inducted into the Hall. What is certain is that both men dominated their respective positions transforming them into legends that cannot go unmentioned when discussing great baseball players. 

Barry Bonds had a WAR of 162.8, 2,935 hits, the major league record 762 home runs, and a batting average of .298. He also batted 1,996 RBI’s, was a 14 time all-star, won seven MVP awards and set the single season home run record with 73 in 2001. He dominated both at the plate and in the field with 12 Silver Slugger awards and eight Gold Glove awards. 

Bonds feasted off pitchers for his entire career, while Roger Clemens shut down opposing lineups over his 24 seasons in the big leagues. Clemens won an MVP, seven CY Young awards, two World Series championships and was an all-star 11 times. He won 354 games compared to 184 losses, struck out 4,672 batters, the third most all time, had a WAR of 139.2 and had a career ERA of 3.12. 

Mentioned previously, Clemens was an alleged steroid user, something that could potentially keep him out of the hall of fame. There was also an accusation that Clemens had an inappropriate relationship with Mindy McCready when she was a minor which reportedly lasted a decade. She confirmed the accusations but Clemens has never discussed the matter.

Fans are upset that none of the men have been inducted into the baseball hall of fame as they have fantastic resumes. However, Schilling, Clemens, and Bonds have their baggage and that seems to be what is keeping them from getting the necessary votes for induction. All three men are great players and deserve a spot, but their lives off the field is what has been stopping them. 

The Baseball Hall of Fame has a history of inducting controversial athletes and managers, says Chris Lamb, a journalism professor at IUPUI. 

“Baseball writers only take character into consideration when it’s convenient for them,” Lamb said via email. 

 He states men like Tony La Russa, the former manager of the Oakland Athletics, who had unprecedented success during his tenure with the club, going to three world series and winning one of them. His success was attributed to men like Jose Conseco and Mark MaGwire, both men have been outed for using steroids in their playing careers. The Commissioner of baseball during the time, Bud Selig, is also enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame even though he knew about the steroid allegations and did nothing to stop it. 

This raises the question, Should players like Pete Rose and “Shoeless Joe Jackson” be inducted into the baseball hall of fame? Pete Rose received a lifetime ban for betting on games he managed, which he admitted to in 2004. “Shoeless Joe Jackson” was caught up in a

similar situation when the Chicago White Sox threw the 1919 World Series in a scandal dubbed the “Black Sox Scandal” and he ultimately was banned for life by the commissioner. 

Rose and Jackson were persecuted for their actions and have not had their suspensions overturned. Both men altered games by gambling and taking bribes, which is different than taking PEDs, but they still affected the outcomes. It is also what Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling did when they decided to take PEDs. They are different issues that had a similar outcome, except  two men got banned for life, while the other three got off scott free. 

Lamb points to writers' personal bias towards candidates as a possible reason that keeps men like Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling from getting enshrined in the hall of fame. He suggests that Schilling will get inducted one day, and based on the votes he received this year, it could be soon. There is also the argument that Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were arguably hall of famers before they started using PEDs. 

It’s difficult to forecast the future of Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling, but all three men will most likely end up in the hall of fame. Schilling was 16 votes shy of meeting the requirement for induction, but Bonds and Clemens have more ground to make up. Regardless, there is little doubt that all three men will be remembered for dominating on the diamond

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