It could be a while before the Baseball Writers' Association of America votes anyone new into the Hall of Fame.
BBWAA members delivered an empty class in this year's election, which was announced Tuesday night. Curt Schilling received the most support, but the former pitcher was selected on 71.1% of the ballots, falling 16 votes short of the 75% needed for induction. Barry Bonds (61.8%) and Roger Clemens (61.6%) were the next-highest finishers.
It was the first time since 2013 that the BBWAA didn't elect anyone. That year proved to be an exception. The writers elected 22 players from 2014-20. But there are signs that the 2021 shutout could be repeated next year — and perhaps the year after that as well.
Schilling came up short, his numbers barely budging from last year. He's turned off voters with his behavior in recent years, including social media posts about Muslim extremists, transgender people and journalists.
Schilling wrote on Facebook that he has asked the Hall of Fame to remove his name from next year’s ballot. Hall of Fame Board Chairman Jane Forbes Clark said in a statement the board “will consider the request at our next meeting.”
The BBWAA responded Wednesday and said “Schilling’s request to remove himself from the ballot is a violation of the rules set forth by the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s board of directors” are urged the board to reject the request. The BBWAA said Schilling “should remain on the ballot for consideration by the voting body for what would be his final year on the BBWAA ballot in 2022.”
Bonds and Clemens appear to have stalled as well amid suspicions of performance-enhancing drug use.
Next year's ballot is expected to include Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz for the first time. Rodriguez was suspended for the 2014 season for violating Major League Baseball's PED policy and collective bargaining agreement. The New York Times reported in 2009 that Ortiz was among those who tested positive in a 2003 survey designed to determine the degree of steroids use in baseball.