Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Torii Hunter Top 2021 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 16, 2020

Minnesota Twins' Torii Hunter follows through on a swing during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Mike Carlson/Associated Press

The 2021 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot was released Monday and features plenty of familiar names seeking a spot in Cooperstown.  

Notable players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling will try to get in on their ninth year on the ballot, while newcomers like Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, Mark Buehrle and Torii Hunter will be judged for the first time:

Players must receive at least 75 percent of the vote from the BBWAA in order to earn one of the prestigious spots in the Hall of Fame.

Two players were inducted through the BBWAA last season—Derek Jeter and Larry Walker—and at least two have gotten in each year since 2014, but there are no sure bets this time around.

Buehrle was a fan favorite with the Chicago White Sox and had five All-Star selections with four Gold Gloves to go with his World Series title.

Hudson and Zito both had strong careers with the Oakland Athletics before each won one World Series with the San Francisco Giants, adding seven combined All-Star selections to their resumes. Zito also won a Cy Young in 2002, although neither had lengthy runs of success.

Hunter had the longest run of strong play among the newcomers with five All-Star selections, nine Gold Gloves and 2,452 career hits. The center fielder was an elite two-way player for many years and should at least be in consideration for a Hall of Fame bid.

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Aramis Ramirez also produced solid numbers during his 18 years in the majors, totaling 2,303 hits and 386 home runs.

The bigger story is the returning players on the ballot, most notably the ones who have been mired by questions about performance-enhancing drugs.

Bonds is the all-time home run leader with 762 in his career and had seven MVP Awards but only received 60.7 percent of the vote last season. Clemens got a personal best of 61 percent of the vote last year, although he is clearly worthy of inclusion based on on-field performance with seven Cy Young Awards and 354 career wins.

Both Bonds and Clemens are among the top 10 players in MLB history in wins above replacement, per Baseball Reference.

Schilling was the closest miss for the 2020 class after earning 70 percent of the vote and could get in this time around. The six-time All-Star was mostly known for his postseason heroics, winning three World Series titles with one World Series MVP. He had an 11-2 record and 2.23 ERA in 19 playoff starts.

Omar Vizquel, Scott Rolen, Billy Wagner and Gary Sheffield are among those hoping for big gains from last year, while notable players like Manny Ramirez, Sammy Sosa, Andruw Jones and Andy Pettitte have a long way to go after getting less than 30 percent support on the previous ballot.

Potential inductees are removed from future consideration if they receive less than five percent of votes, keeping Paul Konerko, Jason Giambi and Alfonso Soriano off the 2021 ballot.