The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) has once again revealed its 2021 BBWAA Hall of Fame (HOF) balloting. With the latest MLB season wrapped up, and the LA Dodgers getting their long-awaited World Series championship, it’s time to see who was the best of the best, and several players have already been singled out for their performances. However, the accolades and attaboys are just getting started.
The Hall of Fame Selection Process Isn’t Easy
In determining how it decides on HOF candidates, the BBWAA explains, “Each year the BBWAA votes on a Hall of Fame class from a set of former players who qualify to be on the ballot. Those players have either been placed on the ballot by the HOF, which are selected from a group of players with a minimum ten years in the majors, or they are holdovers from years’ past.”
Any players held over from previous years had to have received at least 5% of the voting in the previous year balloting. A player is only allowed to be on the HOF ballot for ten years. If he does not get voted into the Hall during that 10 year period, that player will “fall off the ballot.”
Any player listed who does not receive at a minimum of 5% of the votes cast also falls off. On the other hand, players who are lucky enough to receive at least 75% of the votes cast make it into the Major League Baseball HOF.
Voters can select up to a maximum of ten players each year but there is no minimum, and, surprisingly, a voter can submit a blank ballot if he or she does not feel that there are any names qualified to enter the hall at this point. Announcements of the winners, or winner, for each year are announced in mid-January and much discussion will ensue between the balloting and the winners’ circle.
Only A Faint Recollection
One of the issues that seems to come up often is that, after all these complicated qualifying years and years go by, even baseball fans who pay attention to such things will have forgotten who these guys were and who they played for. Ballots have come out without one really recognizable players to vote on.
Taking a look at many of the legendary players that are enshrined in the HOF, the newer names to be voted on are held up to that standard, as they should be. If a player is to be inducted into the MLB HOF, he must be able to standup once he gets there. Putting a relatively unknown player, however excellent he was, next to Joe DiMaggio is not doing him any favors.
Several Names Are Reappearing As HOF Candidates
Emphasis on gaining admission to the Hall is given to those players who displayed excellence on the baseball diamond over a long and brilliant career as most of the guys on the 2021 ballot have done. They are Tim Hudson, Mark Buehrle, Aramis Ramirez, Torii Hunter, Shane Victorino, Dan Haren and Barry Zito. Each one very productive for a long time in the majors. Speculation already abounds that few of any of these players will get the necessary 5% of the vote to win entry onto next year’s ballot.
On the darker side we find some very famous, and very excellent players who are pretty much never going to make it into the Hall due to their reported, often admitted, use of performance enhancing drugs or PEDs. The most famous case in point would be Barry Bonds, who outhit everyone in the majors for a few years there, until his use of PEDs was revealed. The great Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa are two more who come to mind.
It is a tough process to get through, and even quite famous MLB stars of the past, like Curt Shilling, are just barely going to make it into the MLB HOF. Fourth-year candidates include Omar Vizquel, Andruw Jones and Scott Rolen. However, there are a couple of names that are beginning to stand out. Andy Pettitte, the five-time former New York Yankees pitcher, has seen upward movement each year, and Bobby Abreu, who only got 5.5% in his debut year last year, could jump higher in this year’s voting.