On January 25, 2022, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will “announce the results of its 2022 Hall of Fame vote live from Cooperstown… Any electees will be inducted during Hall of Fame Weekend on Sunday, July 24. they’ll be joined by the previously announced legends.
Of the 30 people on the ballot, 13 of them were on for the first time. Conversely, four players appear for the 10th and final time. They could be elected by a veterans’ committee down the road.
By far, the biggest first-timer is Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod, by many statistical standards, is the best player being voted on. As Wikipedia noted, “Rodriguez amassed a .295 batting average, over 600 home runs (696), over 2,000 runs batted in (RBI), over 2,000 runs scored, over 3,000 hits, and over 300 stolen bases, the only player in MLB history to achieve all of those feats.”
The problem is that he was involved in two performance-enhancing drug scandals. I give him a pass on the steroid use prior to 2004. As then-MLB commissioner Bud Selig noted, “at the time of the testing there were no punishments for this sort of activity.”
However, he was suspended in August 2013 for the rest of the season and all of 2014 for his use of human growth hormones. By then, he should have known better. So, if I were a voter, I would pass on him this year.
Similarly, I’d pass on Manny Ramirez (6th year, 28.2% of the voters last year, with 75% needed for induction), who served a 50-game suspension in 2012 for the second violation of the drug policy.
The 10th and final time
In a flip from last year, I WOULDN’T vote for Curt Shilling (10th year, 71.1%). And it has something to do with his public request not to be on the ballot. After last year’s vote, he touted “presidential election-related conspiracy theories; calling for a declaration of martial law; and comparing Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, to a Nazi.
“After the December 31 voting deadline, Schilling doubled down by tweeting his support of the insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, a move that was a bridge too far for some voters who had otherwise continued to support him.” So, no.
Sammy Sosa (10th year, 17.0%) I would vote no. He was a great home run hitter, but too one-dimensional.
Conversely, I would vote YES on the great players
1. Barry Bonds (10th year, 61.8%) and
2. Roger Clemens (10th year, 61.6%)
who operated before Major League Baseball specifically addressed PED.
3. David Ortiz, (1st year) – Big Papi, “Played 20 seasons with Twins and Red Sox…10-time All-Star Game selection.” And an interesting character. Even though he played for the evil Red Sox.
4. Gary Sheffield (8th year, 40.6%) long and impressive career. A bit of a hothead, and like Bonds and Clemens, in the steroid accusation period
5. Andy Petitte (4th year, 13.7%) – I owned my bias last year.
In fact, everything I said about
6. Todd Helton (4th year, 44.9%)
7. Jeff Kent (9th year, 32.4%)
8. Billy Wagner (7th, 46.4%)
9. Scott Rolen, (5th year, 52.9%)
last year still applies.
10. Jimmy Rollins (1st year) – speed, power, good glove
I have no idea what the actual voters will do, though I expect Ortiz to get in.