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Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling fall off Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in final year

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Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, arguably the best hitter and pitcher of the last 50 years, were not voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America in their tenth and final year of eligibility. The BBWAA announced its 2022 voting results Tuesday and neither Bonds nor Clemens reached the 75 percent threshold needed for induction.

Curt Schilling also did not receive the 75 percent needed for induction in his final year of eligibility. All three players are now off the BBWAA ballot. Here are their voting percentages in their final year on the BBWAA ballot:

  • Barry Bonds: 66.0 percent
  • Roger Clemens: 65.2 percent
  • Curt Schilling: 58.6 percent

Despite on-field accomplishments far exceeding the highest possible Hall of Fame standards, Bonds and Clemens were kept out of Cooperstown by performance-enhancing drug allegations. Neither player ever tested positive for a banned substance nor was disciplined for banned substance use, though the rumors were rampant.

Schilling’s on-field case for the Hall of Fame is not as strong as Bonds’ and Clemens’, though it is plenty good. He failed to receive the necessary votes for induction because of incendiary rhetoric, including social media posts favoring Nazis, Islamophobia, and lynching journalists, as well as uncomfortable comments about children.

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As recently as one year ago Schilling was trending toward Hall of Fame induction. He fell 16 votes short of induction last year, then asked to be removed from the Hall of Fame ballot, a request that was denied. It seems some voters considered that request a green light to no longer vote for Schilling, because his support decreased sharply this year.

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Here are the voting percentages for Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling during their 10 years on the Hall of Fame ballot:

2013

36.2%

37.6%

38.8%

2014

34.7%

35.4%

29.2%

2015

36.8%

37.5%

39.2%

2016

44.3%

45.2%

52.3%

2017

53.8%

54.1%

45.0%

2018

56.4%

57.3%

51.2%

2019

59.1%

59.5%

60.9%

2020

60.7%

61.0%

70.0%

2021

61.8%

61.6%

71.1%

2022

66.0%

65.2%

58.6%

Historically, there has been a “final year bump” with the BBWAA voting, in which players in their final year of eligibility receive a disproportionately large increase in support. The opposite happened with Schilling, likely due to his request to be removed from the ballot, and neither Bonds nor Clemens received enough of a final year bump to get over the 75 percent threshold.

It’s important to note Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling can still be voted into Cooperstown. In December all three will be eligible for the Hall of Fame’s Today’s Game Committee, a 16-person committee that considers players who fell off the BBWAA ballot and made their greatest contributions to baseball between 1988-2016. The eras committees meet every few years and Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling will be eligible for consideration in perpetuity.

Bonds retired as MLB‘s all-time home run leader with 762. He hit .298/.444/.607 and stole 514 bases in parts of 22 seasons, during which he won seven MVP awards. Clemens won seven Cy Youngs and one MVP in a 24-year career that saw him go 351-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts. Schilling went 216-146 in parts of 20 MLB seasons and was an all-time great postseason pitcher.

Red Sox icon David Ortiz was the only player voted into the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA this year. Ortiz joins veterans committee selections Bud Fowler, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Miñoso, Tony Oliva, and Buck O’Neil in the 2022 Hall of Fame class.

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