The majority of MLB players who receive a 60 percent vote on the Hall of Fame ballot ultimately wind up in Cooperstown, eventually either reaching the required 75 percent or getting inducted through a committee. There are exceptions to that rule, though — eight-time All-Star Gil Hodges, who notched a 63.4 percent vote in his final year of eligibility decades ago, is still on the outside looking in — and we may be looking at a handful of other examples with the 2022 ballot.
Entering their tenth and final years of eligibility, at least via the ballot, are Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, who were given the nod by 71.1, 61.8 and 61.6 percent of voters, respectively, last time around. It will be very, very interesting to see what happens with each of these cases, and the same can be said for new candidates Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz.
But perhaps it'll be more interesting to us than it will be for some of these all-time greats involved. Schilling made a scene last year by boldly asking the Hall of Fame to remove him from the ballot, so who knows if he'll be paying attention to the tally. And for Clemens, who joined Ann Liguori in a wide-ranging interview about golf, baseball and life in general, it's something that won't make or break his day, much less his career.
"...After the first year that I did a lot of the media with the media guys, after that it's been pretty much a date that just comes and goes by because you have zero control over it," Clemens explained. "I've said it many times, that I have zero control over that. The Hall of Fame is awesome. I didn't play the game to make it to the Hall of Fame. I wasn't really worried about that. I was worried about winning championships."
This isn't the first time we've heard Clemens' stance on his Hall of Fame eligibility, and it probably won't be the last. He felt this way back in 2017, when he had some more time left, and he's maintained that stance with one year left to go. The numbers speak for themselves — his counting stats are among the best that baseball has ever seen, and he accomplished his goal of winning championships with two World Series rings to his name — and he is, statistically speaking, perhaps the greatest pitcher in league history. So a Hall of Fame induction, while undoubtedly a nice honor, just doesn't seem to do anything too crazy for Clemens.
If he does ultimately cross the 75 percent threshold, which will require a pretty significant shift among the voters, we can expect that his speech will be anything but self-centered based on what he shared with Liguori.
"If you do get there, there's a lot of people you have to thank," Clemens said, explaining that he sees the honor as somewhat selfish. "...My catchers are very special to me because they had to pay attention to detail. I called about 90-95 percent of my game from the mound and those guys are the most important that you would thank. There's a lot of people. Again, it's kind of a selfish thing, but the reason you're there is because you had some wonderful teammates and coaches and managers that had confidence in you to get there.
"So if it happens, great. If it doesn't, it's not going to change me as a person either way."
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