Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens fall from the Hall ballot


Four of the biggest stars in recent history have held spots on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot over the past decade, only to see their annual vote totals fall below the 75% threshold needed for the election.

For Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling and Sammy Sosa, 2022 marked their 10th and final ballot by eligible Baseball Writers’ Association of America voters, but none garnered enough votes to be inducted this year. .

Thanks to a 2014 rule change by the Hall of Fame, players who get five percent or more of the vote stay on the ballot for 10 years instead of the previous 15.

For Bonds, Clemens, Schilling and Sosa, those 10 years have now expired, leaving the fate of their halls to today’s Gaming Committee, which will then meet in December to consider candidates for the 2023 induction, then again two years later.

Here’s a closer look at the four players, their records for Cooperstown and their proximity to the election:

(22 seasons, Pirates/Giants)

Cooperstown case: Bonds’ on-court resume screams Hall of Fame. Baseball’s all-time leader with 762 home runs, seven-time NL Most Valuable Player and 14-time All-Star Player, posts a career cut line of .298/.444/.607; more steps (2,558) than any player in history; 1,996 RBI (#4 all-time) and a staggering 162.7 WAR, the fourth-highest total in history behind only Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson and Cy Young.

Bonds’ connection to performance-enhancing drugs embittered many voters over his Hall bid, despite the fact that he never tested positive or received any discipline from Major League Baseball. It remains to be seen if today’s gaming committee will see it in a similar light.

The vote: Bond’s vote total held steady between 34 and 36% in its first three years on the ballot, although its support started to climb in 2016, when it got 44.3%. That number rose to 53.8% in 2017, his fifth year on the ballot, climbing slightly in each of the following three years. It topped the 60% mark for the first time in 2020, but only hit 61.8 in 2021 and 66.0% this year, ending its decade-long run on the nine-party ballot for hundred of the votes before the elections.

Roger Clemens
(24 seasons, Red Sox/Blue Jays/Yankees/Astros)

Cooperstown case: Clemens is the pitching equivalent of Bonds, winning seven Cy Young Awards, an MVP Award, 11 All-Star selections, seven ERA League titles, 354 wins (9th all-time), 139.2 WAR (8th all-time time), 4,672 strikeouts (3rd all-time) and two World Series rings.

Like Bonds, an overwhelming suspicion of PED use kept him from being voted out by writers, many of whom held a hard line against players with strong steroid connections. Clemens also never tested positive or received discipline, but those facts did not sway voters who drew a line in the sand on the issue.

The vote: Clemens’ growing vote tally was nearly identical to Bonds’, as both were apparently supported by the same voters. Clemens actually received a slightly higher percentage than Bonds in their first eight years on the ballot, although Bonds got one more vote than Clemens in 2021. Clemens received 65.2% this year, garnering three votes less than bonds.

Curt Schilling
(20 seasons, Orioles/Astros/Phillies/D-backs/Red Sox)

Cooperstown case: Schilling’s career numbers are excellent, but not in the same stratosphere as Bonds and Clemens. The right-hander won 216 games with a 3.46 ERA, earning six All-Star selections and striking out 3,116 batters, the 15th-highest total in history. Schilling is one of six pitchers with 3,000 strikeouts and under 1,000 walks (711), while his 4.38 strikeout ratio is the second-highest rating of any non-active pitcher since 1900. .

Schilling’s bid gets a big boost from his playoff performance; he went 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA in 19 starts, helping the D-backs win the only World Series in franchise history in 2001 and the Red Sox to their title in 2004. Some voters consider Schilling’s win total and lack of a Cy Young award as reasons not to vote for him, while others think his career ERA is too high. Then there are his outspoken ways, which have turned off some voters who cite Hall’s character clause. Without a spot PED against him, Schilling could have strong backing from today’s Gaming Committee.

The vote: Schilling’s first three years on the ballot saw him receive 38.8%, 29.2% and 39.2%, although his tally soared to 52.3% in 2016. He hit the 60 mark % in 2019, then exceeded 70% in 2020 and 2021. After the 2021 announcement, Schilling publicly asked to be removed from the ballot, and although the Hall of Fame board voted unanimously to keeping him on the ballot, his request may have helped push his 2022 vote total down to 58.6%.

Samy Sosa
(18 seasons, Rangers/White Sox/Cubs/Orioles)

Cooperstown case: The 1998 NL MVP and seven-time All-Star finished his career with a whopping 609 homers, the ninth-most in history. He is the only player in history with three seasons of more than 60 home runs, including his 66 home run season in 1998 when he and Mark McGwire battled all year in pursuit of the single-season home run record of Roger Maris. Sosa’s .273/.344/.534 slash line doesn’t put him in the same class as Bonds, and unlike Bonds, who won nine Gold Glove Awards, Sosa’s defense left a lot to be desired.

Like Bonds and Clemens, Sosa has been linked to PEDs despite never testing positive or facing league discipline. Sosa reportedly tested positive in the 2003 investigative tests, and although Commissioner Rob Manfred publicly exonerated David Ortiz based on the same report, he did not do the same for Sosa. The fact that Sosa’s first four years were unremarkable (1.3 WAR total) didn’t help his case either. His career 58.6 WAR ranks 206th all-time.

The vote: Sosa never got the same kind of support as Bonds or Clemens, receiving only single-digit percentages in six of his first nine years. His tally of 17% in 2021 marked Sosa’s highest percentage before this year, when he got 18.5% in his final ballot.

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