No Players Elected to 2021 Baseball Hall of Fame Class; Barry Bonds Falls Short

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2021

Exterior view of the main entrance to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Friday, Feb.1, 2019, in Cooperstown, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)
Hans Pennink/Associated Press

The Baseball Hall of Fame will not add any new members to Cooperstown for the first time since 1960 after no eligible players received the required number of votes needed for induction from the members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Candidates must appear on at least 75 percent of BBWAA ballots to make the Hall. No player hit that mark, although starting pitcher Curt Schilling led the group just 16 votes short of election. Joel Sherman of the New York Post and MLB Network provided results for some notable names:

Typically, one (or more) or the Baseball Hall of Fame's "Era Committees" would meet to potentially vote in any non-playing personnel or players no longer eligible for the BBWAA ballot.

The Golden Days (1950-1969) and Early Baseball (pre-1950) committees were scheduled to get together this year, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, those meetings have been moved to the fall of 2021 for candidates' potential inclusion in the Hall's class of 2022.

That means the Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2021 will not exist, although the Hall plans to officially induct Class of 2020 members Larry Walker, Derek Jeter, Marvin Miller and Ted Simmons on July 25 after their previously scheduled ceremony (once set for July 2020) was canceled as a result of the pandemic.

According to CBS Sports' Matt Snyder, the BBWAA, specifically, did not induct any players in 1945, 1950, 1958, 1960, 1965, 1971, 1996 and 2013. The Hall's first class was in 1936.

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The class of 2021 finalists were defined by their polarization, with voters seemingly struggling to weigh a player's on-field contributions with actions many see as not meeting the induction criteria.

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are arguably the greatest players in the history of their respective positions but have struggled to get over the 75 percent threshold because of their performance-enhancing drug use.

Both players have gotten close in their appearances on the ballot, thanks to a combination of writers believing they were worthy of entry before their PED use began and others who feel they excelled in an era rampant with PED use.

Bonds and Clemens have typically fared better among voters who make their ballots public than those who remain private.

Schilling has fallen out of favor with several voters because of his extremist views. He publicly backed far-right conspiracy theories and made several racist comments during his post-playing career. He recently sent out tweets in support of the pro-Trump mob who overtook the United States Capitol building Jan. 6. Joe Posnanski of The Athletic wrote he was taking Schilling off his 2021 ballot because of his offensiveness. 

"It isn't Schilling's politics. It's his nastiness. It's his intolerance. It's his compulsion to troll. Curt Schilling pushes anger and fear and hatred," Posnanski wrote.

Omar Vizquel was accused of a pattern of domestic violence by his wife, Bianca, dating back to 2011. He denied the allegations, which are being investigated by MLB. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, who reported alongside Katie Strang details of the allegations against Vizquel, wrote that voting for Vizquel kept him up at night and that he "hates" his ballot, which also includes the likes of Bonds, Clemens and Schilling.

The polarization of candidates like Bonds, Clemens, Schilling and Vizquel seemingly opened doors for Scott Rolen, who received a massive year-over-year bump in voting. The seven-time All-Star does not have the resume of the aforementioned players, but he does not come with the same off-field baggage.