For the ninth time in 77 years of balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, no candidate received the amount of votes necessary to gain election to the game’s shrine.
Players are elected to the Hall provided they are named on 75 percent of ballots cast by eligible members of the BBWAA. With 401 ballots submitted in the 2021 election, including a record total of 14 blanks, candidates needed to total 301 votes to be elected.
Falling 16 votes short was pitcher Curt Schilling, whose total of 285 in his ninth and next to last year of eligibility represented 71.1 percent of the electorate. Schilling was 20 votes shy of election at 70 percent in 2020 when shortstop Derek Jeter and outfielder Larry Walker were elected.
So there will be no new BBWAA electees to join Jeter, Walker and Modern Era Committee selections Ted Simmons and the late Marvin Miller to be honored as part of the Hall’s Induction Weekend July 23-26 in Cooperstown, N.Y. Their inductions scheduled for last summer were postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Also being honored that weekend will be the Ford C. Frick Award winners for broadcasting in 2021, Al Michaels, and 2020, Ken Harrelson, and the BBWAA Career Excellence Award winners for writing in 2021, Dick Kaegel, and in 2020, the late Nick Cafardo.
The only players other than Schilling who received more than 50 percent of the vote in the 2021 election were outfielder Barry Bonds with 248 (61.8), pitcher Roger Clemens with 247 (61.6) and third baseman Scott Rolen with 212 (52.9). As with Schilling, Bonds and Clemens will be in their final year of eligibility in 2022. This was Rolen’s fourth year on the ballot.
Candidates may remain on the BBWAA ballot for up to 10 years provided they are listed on five percent of the ballots. There were 17 players overall who made the cut to stay on the ballot, including three of the 11 first-year candidates, pitcher Mark Buehrle with 44 votes (11.0), outfielder Torii Hunter with 38 (9.5) and pitcher Tim Hudson with 21 (5.2).
This year’s election marked the first shutout for the BBWAA since 2013. Over the next seven years, the writers elected 22 players, the most over such a period. The BBWAA also failed to elect any candidates in 1996, 1971, 1960, 1958, 1950, 1946 and 1945. There were no BBWAA elections in 1965, 1963, 1961, 1959, 1957, 1944, 1943, 1941 and 1940.
The total of blank ballots exceeded the previous record of 12, in 2006.
The Hall of Fame has 333 elected members, including 235 players, of which 134 have come through the BBWAA ballot. The average ballot in the 2021 election contained 5.87 names, down from 6.61 last year, with 14.5 percent of the voters using all 10 slots, down from 20.5 percent last year. The total of ballots cast marked a 97.1-percent return rate of the 409 ballots mailed to voters.
2021 Hall of Fame
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