Curt Schilling came up short again.
So did Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Sammy Sosa did, too, by a wide margin.
First-timer Mark Buehrle got enough support, 11%, to firmly stay on the Hall of Fame ballot, so there was a win of sorts for White Sox fans.
But the Hall came up empty for new inductees Tuesday, when the Baseball Writers’ Association of America gave no one on the ballot the needed 75% of the vote, not even to arguably the greatest hitter (Bonds) and pitcher (Clemens) of their generation nor to Schilling, whose pitching credentials are worthy.
It marked the ninth time that the BBWAA did not vote a player into the Hall, and the first time since 2013. Links to PEDs and personal character issues have blocked enshrinement for Bonds and Clemens, and Schilling has lost votes in retirement with hateful remarks toward Muslims, transgender people, journalists and others. Schilling had 71.1% (16 votes shy), Bonds had 61.8% and Clemens 61.6% in their ninth years on the ballot.
Schilling, Bonds and Clemens have one more year on the ballot, although Schilling posted on Facebook that he doesn’t want it.
“I will not participate in the final year of voting,” Schilling wrote. “I am requesting to be removed from the ballot. I’ll defer to the veterans committee and men whose opinions actually matter and who are in a position to actually judge a player.”
It’s doubtful Schilling can be removed, although the Hall of Fame will consider his highly unusual request. The BBWAA said that Schilling’s name should not be removed from the ballot.
In any event, he might have to take his chances with the Eras Committees, formerly known as the Veterans Committee. That’s how Ron Santo and Harold Baines became Hall of Famers.
Sosa, also linked to PEDs, received only 17% of the vote in his ninth year. Coming in behind Schilling, Bonds and Clemens, Scott Rolen received 52.9% and Omar Vizquel received 49.1%. While Rolen made the biggest jump, by 17.6%, Vizquel, the subject of recent domestic-abuse allegations, dropped 3%.
Voting has seemingly never been more difficult and unpleasant for BBWAA members, and a record 13 blank ballots were submitted among the 401 this year. There are character and integrity issues and PED suspicions, many of them encompassing gray areas and passionate debate.
Some writers sought to take their votes for Schilling back after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, when Schilling tweeted, “You cowards sat on your hands, did nothing while liberal trash looted, rioted and burned for Air Jordans and big screens, sit back . . . and watch folks start a confrontation for [expletive] that matters like rights, democracy and the end of govt. corruption.”
Nobody was voted in, but there will be an induction ceremony in Cooperstown in July nonetheless. Last year’s ceremony was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, so the 2020 Hall class will be honored — Derek Jeter, Ted Simmons, Larry Walker and the late Marvin Miller were voted in last year. Ex-Sox broadcaster Ken Harrelson also will be inducted as the 44th winner of the Frick Award.
One of Harrelson’s all-time favorites was Buehrle, who pitched for the Sox from 2000 to 2011 during his 16-year career. Buehrle never had a dominant stretch and never led the league in wins, ERA or strikeouts but had 15 full seasons of being very good and dependable — he made at least 30 starts and pitched 200 innings or more in his first 14 seasons. Buehrle finished his career with 214 wins, a 3.81 ERA and 1,870 strikeouts, was a five-time All-Star, won four Gold Gloves, pitched a perfect game and no-hitter, started and finished Sox World Series victories in 2005 and had his No. 56 retired by the team.
PED and character questions were never an issue for Buehrle, and it’s conceivable he’ll gain support in the coming years.