Sean Pendergast

Does Roger Clemens Get Another Chance After Falling Short In 2022 MLB Hall of Fame Voting?

Roger Clemens throws out the ceremonial first pitch.
Roger Clemens throws out the ceremonial first pitch. Photo by Jack Gorman
For ten years now, at about this time on the calendar, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds have been part of the Baseball Hall of Fame class reveal, and for ten years, the two have fallen short. For the last several years, there have been upward ticks in their collective momentum, but not enough to get over the 75 percent approval rating needed from the Baseball Writers Association.

On Tuesday night, the annual tradition of Clemens and Bonds getting snubbed ended, not because they were both inducted, but because their ten-year window for election by the writers ended. Both fell about 10 percent short of the needed vote total, and now this chapter in their campaigns closes. For what it's worth, here was the voting total, with 394 voters in all:

David Ortiz: 307 votes, 77.9%
Barry Bonds: 260 votes, 66% (final year on ballot)
Roger Clemens: 257 votes, 65.2% (final year on ballot)
Scott Rolen: 249 votes, 63.2%
Curt Schilling: 231 votes, 58.6% (final year on ballot)
Todd Helton: 205 votes, 52.0%
Billy Wagner: 201 votes, 51.0%
Andruw Jones: 163 votes, 41.1%
Gary Sheffield: 160 votes, 40.6%
Alex Rodriguez: 135 votes, 34.3%
Jeff Kent: 129 votes, 32.7%
Manny Ramirez: 114 votes, 28.9%
Omar Vizquel: 94 votes, 23.9%
Sammy Sosa: 73 votes, 18.5% (final year on ballot)
Andy Pettitte: 42 votes, 10.7%
Jimmy Rollins: 37 votes, 9.4%
Bobby Abreu: 34 votes, 8.6%
Mark Buehrle: 23 votes, 5.8%
Torii Hunter: 21 votes, 5.3%

(Players receiving less than 5% will drop off future ballots)

Joe Nathan: 17 votes, 4.3%
Tim Hudson: 12 votes, 3.0%
Tim Lincecum: 9 votes, 2.3%
Ryan Howard: 8 votes, 2.0%
Mark Teixeira: 6 votes, 1.5%
Justin Morneau: 5 votes, 1.3%
Jonathan Papelbon: 5 votes, 1.3%
Prince Fielder: 2 votes, 0.5%
A.J. Pierzynski: 2 votes, 0.5%
Carl Crawford: 0 votes, 0%
Jake Peavy: 0 votes, 0%
A few thoughts, starting with the biggest story, and it's who DIDN'T get in:

Barry Bonds' and Roger Clemens' exclusions are ridiculous
We all know that the reason Bonds and Clemens — fourth and eighth, respectively, in the history of baseball in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) — is because of the stain of PED usage, for Bonds' actual usage (although Bonds claims he didn't know he was using banned substances) and for Clemens alleged usage. Given the fact that both had multiple prestigious awards, Bonds with MVP awards and Clemens with Cy Young awards, before the alleged steroid usage began, I think they should be in. These are two great players who were not made great because of the steroids. If the Hall of Fame wants to make them wear their allegations on their plaque like a scarlet letter, then so be it, but the fact that neither is in the Hall is a joke. Now, going forward, keep one thing in mind....

The door is not closed yet on Bonds and Clemens, though
In December of this year, the Today's Game committee of the Hall of Fame will meet and review the candidacy of Bonds, Clemens, and many others. What is the Today's Game committee? It's a group of 16 people, comprised of current Hall of Famers, executives, and veteran media members, who review players who are no longer eligible for the Hall via writer's ballot, and whose major accomplishments came between 1988 and 2016. Twelve of 16 "YES" votes are needed for induction. This has been the path for many former borderline Hall of Famers like Alan Trammell, Lee Smith, jack Morris, and Harold Baines. Those four were players that the writers saw as merely "very good," not GREAT. Bonds and Clemens were undeniably great players, so the question is "How much does this committee see itself as some sort of moral compass for the game?" I truly wonder how much a committee of 16 wants to be viewed as the "clemency department," correcting exclusions made by the writers along ethical lines. We shall see.

Oh, Billy Wagner's exclusion is also ridiculous!
Thankfully, though, the former Astros closer is trending in the right direction. On his seventh swing on the ballot, Wagner saw his support tick up from 31.7 percent in 2020 to 46.4% this time around. He will have three more voting cycles to get in on the writers' ballot. Wagner, who saved a club record 225 games for the Astros and 422 games for his career, is the all time historical leader in strikeouts per nine innings (11.92) and opposing batting average (.187) for pitchers who have thrown more than 900 innings. He was a seven time All Star. Among other former Astros on the ballot, Clemens and Curt Schilling both fell short in their final times on the writers' ballot, as did second baseman Jeff Kent, pitcher Andy Pettitte, and outfielder Bobby Abreu.

The only one voted in was David "Big Papi" Ortiz, and I have no problem with that
There have been years when the writers have not elected anybody for induction, but that was not the case this time around, as the gregarious and popular David "Big Papi" Ortiz, the longtime Red Sox DH and first baseman, received 77.9 percent of the vote. Ortiz joins the six men voted in by the Golden Days and Early Baseball Era committees back in December — Jim Kaat and Tony Oliva, the late Bud Fowler, Gil Hodges, Minnie Miñoso and Buck O’Neil. They will all be honored at the July 24, 2022, induction ceremony in Cooperstown, NY.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast