There’s no joy in Mudville—for only the ninth time in 77 years. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA), which votes the best-of-the-best baseball players into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, failed to induct a single player for 2021.
Players become eligible for enshrinement in the Hall of Fame if they appear on at least 75 percent of the ballots cast by members of the BBWAA. With 401 ballots submitted in the 2021 election, including a record 14 blank ones, candidates needed a total of 301 votes to be inducted.
Falling just 16 votes shy was pitcher Curt Schilling, who garnered 71.1 percent of the vote. (Schilling subsequently asked to be removed from the ballot in 2022, his final year of eligibility.) The only players other than Schilling who received more than 50 percent of the vote were outfielder Barry Bonds (61.8 percent), pitcher Roger Clemens with 247 (61.6 percent) and third baseman Scott Rolen with 212 (52.9 percent). As with Schilling, Bonds and Clemens will be in their final year of eligibility in 2022.
“Ultimately, this result reinforces how difficult this very special and prestigious fraternity is to become a member of,” said Hall of Fame President Tim Mead during a live election results show airing on MLB Network yesterday. “Securing 75 percent of the electorate is difficult and it’s done so with careful consideration by each of the voting members with the criteria outlined.” (It was the first time any such announcement was made from the Hall itself in Cooperstown.)
Despite 2021 not seeing a single new inductee—the last time it happened was in 2013—there will still be an induction ceremony held this July 25 for the Class of 2020, which includes inductees Derek Jeter, Larry Miller, Ted Simmons and the late Marvin Miller. Last summer’s induction ceremony was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also being honored at the weekend event, which stretches from July 23–26, will be Dick Kaegel, who will receive the 2021 J.G. Taylor Spink Award for writers and Al Michaels, who will receive the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters. The 2020 Spink Award and Frick Award winners, Nick Cafardo and Ken Harrelson, respectively, will also be honored at the 2021 ceremony, along with the late David Montgomery, who will posthumously receive the 2020 Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award.