The 2021 National Baseball Hall of Fame is set to unveil it’s newest class tonight. However, the biggest question is not who will get in but if anyone will get in. In order to be inducted, one must receive 75 percent of votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America. Many believe this could be the first year since 2013 where no one meets the criteria.
While it is looking increasingly more unlikely that anyone gets in, there are a few candidates that can receive a 75 percent vote. The most intriguing contenders — Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens — are clouded by PED scandals. Polling at around 72 percent on public ballots, both Clemens and Bonds are on the outside looking in of induction. The figure is an increase from last year’s 61 percent, but time is quickly fading as both enter their ninth year on the ballot.
Last week, ESPN’s senior MLB analyst Tim Kurkjian joined Steve Russell on Sport Scene. Kurkjian gave his expectations for tonight’s Hall of Fame announcement.
There is no question that Bonds and Clemens will have a difficult time getting in tonight and ever.
As for the man who has the best chance at induction, it’s six-time All-Star Curt Schilling. The former Baltimore Oriole (1988-1990), Houston Astro (1991), Philadelphia Phillie (1992-2000), Arizona Diamondback (2000-2003), and Boston Red Sox (2004-2007), is a three-time World Series champion and one-time NLCS MVP amongst a slew of other accolades. Kurkjian spoke extensively on why Schilling will be getting his vote.
Few are doubting whether Schilling’s resume is Hall of Fame-worthy. Although, his outspokenness on Twitter has given voters and baseball fans pause. Getting a bid into the National Baseball Hall of Fame is no easy task and character concerns can play a role. Regardless, Schillings numbers speak for themselves and could just be enough to warrant induction into the prestigious Hall of Fame.
Why No One Will Get Elected
While Schilling is this year’s biggest threat for induction, — his public polling figure is teetering on the brink 75 percent — the expectation is that his voting declines this year. Last year, Schilling garnered nearly 70 percent of the votes, and was just 20 votes shy of election.
Per Ryan Thibodaux’s Hall of Fame Tracker, Schilling’s writer’s ballot is usually eight percent less than that of the public vote. Last year, Schilling received 77 percent of the public vote, but 70 percent overall. This trend does not bode for Schilling.
With no sure-fire candidates and no darkhorse contenders that can grab the needed 75 percent, an empty class will likely be the end result. Tim Kurkjian believes just that.
Last year’s risers, first baseman Todd Helton, outfielder Andruw Jones, and pitcher Billy Wagner will likely see continued increases again this year. However, all three still have too many votes to make up to get the nod this year. It appears a repeat of 2013’s empty ballot is likely in baseball’s very near future.
The ballots will be unveiled tonight at 6 p.m. on MLB Network.