Baseball Hall of Fame reveals 2021 ballot: Is this the year for Bonds, Clemens?

Barry Bonds Hall of Fame
MLB’s home run king Barry Bonds is on the Hall-of-Fame ballot for the ninth time.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced its 2021 ballot on Monday afternoon, featuring 25 names and 11 first-time candidates: 

  • Bobby Abreu
  • Barry Bonds
  • Mark Buehrle*
  • AJ Burnett*
  • Roger Clemens
  • Michael Cuddyer*
  • Dan Haren*
  • LaTroy Hawkins*
  • Todd Helton
  • Tim Hudson*
  • Torii Hunter*
  • Andruw Jones
  • Jeff Kent
  • Andy Pettitte
  • Aramis Ramirez*
  • Manny Ramirez
  • Scott Rolen
  • Curt Schilling
  • Gary Sheffield
  • Sammy Sosa
  • Nick Swisher*
  • Shane Victorino*
  • Omar Vizquel
  • Billy Wagner
  • Barry Zito*

*Denotes first-time candidate

It’s one of the more unimpressive ballots in recent years as it’s unable to offer at least one shoo-in candidate that will easily gain acceptance into the Hall of Fame, located in Cooperstown, NY. 

Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens — the three closes candidates from last year that didn’t gain enshrinement — have been found guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), which has long tarnished their reputation with the writers. 

Bonds is Major League Baseball’s home-run king with 762 career round-trippers while Clemens ranks ninth all-time with 354 pitching wins. 

Clemens received 61% of the vote last year while Bonds accrued 60.7%. Schilling — who has talked his way out of the Hall as much as his links to PEDs have — earned 70% of the vote last year while Derek Jeter and Larry Walker got the call to Cooperstown. Hall-of-Fame hopefuls need 75% of the vote — or approval on at least 309 of an expected 412 ballots — to gain enshrinement. 

This is the ninth year on the ballot for each of the three candidates, meaning they would have just one more year of eligibility for the Hall of the Fame if they don’t get in this time around.

In each of the last seven years, at least one candidate has received at least 86% of the vote from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). Given the rest of the field, that streak looks destined to end this year. 

Those making their first appearances on the ballot were serviceable, long-tenured servants of the game, but their careers are hardly considered Hall-of-Fame worthy. 

As for the returning nominees, Omar Vizquel is considered one of the greatest defensive shortstops of all-time but received just over 52% of the vote last year while Jeff Kent — arguably the best offensive second baseman ever — received just 27.5%. One of the most well-rounded third basemen of his era, Scott Rolen, was at 35.5%.

Notable members of baseball’s 500-home-run club like Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield were in that same range due to their involvement with PEDs. Sammy Sosa, who ranks ninth all-time with 609 home runs, was even lower at 13.9%. 

The results of the voting will be revealed on Jan. 26.