The MLB Hall of Fame is one of the most prestigious and exclusive clubs in American sports. On January 26th, 2021, the BBWAA will announce the newest members of the Hall. Due to the cancellation of the 2020 ceremony because of COVID-19, the 2021 class will join Derek Jeter and Larry Walker, Marvin Miller, and Ted Simmons as fellow inductees.
The writers here at lastwordonbaseball.com were asked who they would vote for to be inducted. As per the rules, 75 percent of the vote is needed in order for a player to get in. Also, LWOB writers can vote for up to ten players. Before we get to the results, let’s take a quick look at the names on the ballot.
Eleven new players are featured on the 2021 ballot. Those players are:
Fourteen players return to the 2021 ballot after receiving at least five percent of the overall vote in 2020. Those players are with their 2020 vote percentage:
Curt Schilling: 70.0%
Roger Clemens: 61%
Barry Bonds: 60.7%
Omar Vizquel: 52.6%
Scott Rolen: 35.3%
Billy Wagner: 31.7%
Gary Sheffield: 30.5%
Todd Helton: 29.2%
Manny Ramirez: 28.2%
Jeff Kent: 27.5%
Andruw Jones: 19.4%
Sammy Sosa: 13.9%
Andy Pettitte: 11.3%
Bobby Abreu: 5.5%
Obviously, there is some controversy surrounding this particular class. It includes both Bonds and Clemens who have the cloud of the steroid scandal hanging over them. However, both have the numbers deserving of Hall of Fame recognition. Bonds’ seven MVP Awards are the most ever for a single player and Clemens’ seven Cy Young Awards are the most ever for a pitcher. With that being said, it can be assumed that, in a weak 2021 class, both will have a very good chance of getting enough votes to be inducted.
Also, Curt Schilling is dealing with his own Hall of Fame issues, but his are potentially due to his outspoken political views. Despite that, Schilling also has a good chance of induction as he received 70% of the vote in 2020.
And now, on to the results.
LWOB 2021 Hall of Fame Class
Curt Schilling 76.9%
Curt Schilling’s regular-season numbers aren’t overly impressive. He owns a career record of 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA and 3,116 strikeouts in 20 seasons. The six-time All-Star also never won a Cy Young Award. However, his postseason stats are off the charts good. In 19 playoff starts, Schilling is 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA, 120 strikeouts, four complete games, and two shutouts. Also, he is the 1993 NLCS MVP and 2001 World Series MVP. Simply put, he was money when it counted the most.
With all of his career numbers put together, Schilling deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame and the LWOB writers agreed.
Billy Wagner 76.9%
Despite standing only five-foot-eleven and weighing 180 pounds, Billy Wagner is considered one of the best closers in MLB history. Although he is a natural right-hander, Wagner taught himself to throw left-handed after breaking his arm and shoulder when he was four years old. In 16 seasons, Wagner finished with 422 saves, a 2.31 ERA, and 1,196 strikeouts in 903 innings pitched. Also, he is a seven-time All-Star and he finished fourth in the Cy Young voting while winning the National League Reliever of the Year Award both in 1999. He also recorded at least 30 saves in nine seasons.
Missing the Cut
Unfortunately, these players just missed the cut according to the LWOB writers:
Todd Helton 69.2%
Roger Clemens 61.5%
Barry Bonds 53.8%
Andruw Jones 53.8%
And the Rest
The remaining players listed above received less than fifty percent of the votes.
So, if the LWOB writers had a vote, we would add two new Hall of Famers into the 2021 class in Curt Schilling and Billy Wagner.
However, there are plenty of interesting names that the actual voters will have to consider. The biggest debate will be, obviously, the case for both Clemens and Bonds. It is very possible that this is the year that the ”Steroid Era” players finally earn their spots in the Hall. With that being said, we won’t know the true results until January 26th of next year. Despite there being some rumblings about a weak incoming class, there are still plenty of big names and productive players who deserve a good long look at their Hall of Fame credentials.
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