By CHRYSTAL SAVAGE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
If not for Derek Jeter and his Classmates of 2020, this would have been another sparse summer for baseball in Cooperstown.
For the first time since 2013, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America elected none of the 25 Hall of Fame candidates above 75 percent, leaving the class of 2021 at zero.
Hall of Fame President Tim Mead announced results pf BBWAA balloting Tuesday, Jan. 26 – for the first time, broadcast from the Hall of Plaques at 22 Main St.
He said he’s confident that the ceremony will take place on July 25, saying that there is a lot of “diligent” work happening “behind the scenes.”
Mead’s presentation, which was broadcast live by the MLB Network, also marks the first time an Induction Class has been announced at the Hall of Plaques.
For years, it was done at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Lately, HoF presidents, Jeff Idelson and last year Mead, announced the class at MLB Network headquarters in Secaucus, N.J.
“It’s special for us to be able to showcase the Plaque Gallery,” said Jon Shestakofsky, the Hall’s vice president/communications, “the most sacred place in all of baseball,” adding, “anytime we can bring Cooperstown to the fans and Cooperstown to the greater baseball world, it’s a great outcome.”
Shestakofsky said the broadcast was “months in the making,” and merged from a more general discussion on how the Hall of Fame would cope with COVID-19.
On BBWAA balloting, baseball sportswriters are asked to consider the players’ record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to their teams.
Curt Schilling leads the balloting at 71.1 percent with Barry Bond, Roger Clemens and Scott Rolen trailing behind at 61.8, 61.1 and 52.9 percent respectively.
Schilling, Bond and Clemens, despite out-standing records, were tainted in the steroids scandals of a decade ago.
Eight players did not receive the 5-percent vote necessary to remain on the ballot and the most variation between last year’s and this year’s ballot happened in the middle of the pack.
Of the 25 candidates included on this year’s ballot, 11 were new this year and 14 were holdovers.
Schilling was in his ninth of 10 chances at winning a plaque. But it circulated that the BBWAA had asked he be removed from the 2022 ballot for tweeting minutes after the results:
“Former players will be the ultimate judge, as it should be. I won’t allow a group of morally bankrupt frauds another year to lie about my life.”
In addition to Jeter, the famous Yankee who was elected in 2020 in his first year of eligibility, the 2021 Induction would honor Larry Walker and Ted Simons, and Marvin Miller posthumously.