2021 Hall of Fame Election
The results of the 2021 Hall of Fame Election were announced on January 26, 2021. For only the fourth time since the BBWAA moved to a single ballot with no run-off in 1968, no one gained election through the writers' ballot. In addition, the Veterans Committee did not meet due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that it was the first year without a new Hall of Famer since 1960
Eligible members of the Baseball Writers Association of America voted on a ballot comprising holdover candidates from the 2020 Hall of Fame Election and players who played their last major league game in 2015. The ballot, made public on November 16, 2020, included 25 names. In contrast to past years, there were no slam-dunk names among candidates eligible for the first time, giving an opportunity for some returning players to move forward. However, for a variety of reasons, no one was able to reach the magic 75% threshold. A total of 401 ballots were submitted, with 301 votes needed to gain election.
Coming closest were three players who had already spent a number of years on the ballot: Curt Schilling (71.1%), Barry Bonds (61.8%) and Roger Clemens (61.6%). All three made gains compared to 2020, but of 1% or less, as in all cases a large block of voters remained opposed to their candidacy due to off-field factors: the taint of steroids in Bonds and Clemens' case, and a history of hateful pronouncements in that of Schilling. Indeed, in a typical fit of pique, Schilling asked that his name be taken off the ballot for the 2022 Hall of Fame Election, a request that was unlikely to be heeded. Also of note, Omar Vizquel, who finished fifth with 49.1% and had been talked about as someone who could possibly gain from the lack of outstanding new names on the ballot, actually lost some support following allegations of domestic violence that surfaced.
Some players did make significant gains, including Scott Rolen, Billy Wagner and Todd Helton, and Gary Sheffield further down the ballot, establishing themselves as serious candidates in future years. Among the first-year eligible players, Mark Buehrle had the best score with 11%, followed by Torii Hunter at 9.5%.
|Player||Votes||Percentage||Year on the Ballot||Result|
The induction ceremony was originally scheduled to take place on July 25, 2021, in Cooperstown, NY, but was moved back to September 8th. It only included the four men elected in 2020 - Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and Marvin Miller - as the previous year's induction ceremony had to be cancelled. The recipients of the Ford Frick Award for broadcasting and the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for baseball writing for 2020 and 2021 were also honored during that week-end. The need to combine the two ceremonies allowed the Hall to escape a conundrum, as it would have required tremendous creativity to stage a ceremony solely honoring the 2021 inductees when there was no one to honor...
Al Michaels, the lead baseball broadcaster for the ABC network in the late 1970s and early 1980s, was named the winner of the Ford Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting. Dick Kaegel, who covered the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals and was managing editor of The Sporting News, was named the winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for baseball writing.
- Scott Boeck: "Baseball Hall of Fame ballot 2021: No obvious choice for first-timer to be enshrined", USA Today, November 16, 2020. 
- Anthony Castrovince: "Hall of Fame releases 2021 ballot", mlb.com, November 16, 2020. 
- Anthony Castrovince: "No new Hall electees in rare outcome", mlb.com, January 26, 2021. 
- Michael Guzman: "Hall of Fame Inductions set for Sept. 8: Tickets required to attend outdoor ceremony; available beginning July 12", mlb.com, June 9, 2021. 
- Matt Kelly: "5 HOF candidates who deserve longer looks in '21: As ballot clears, opportunities arise for BBWAA holdovers", mlb.com, January 22, 2020. 
- Bob Nightengale: "Why I voted for LaTroy Hawkins on my Baseball Hall of Fame ballot", USA Today, January 25, 2021. 
- Andrew Simon: "What's next? Top storylines for '21 HOF ballot", mlb.com, January 21, 2020. 
- Andrew Simon: "A hat tip to the '21 Hall ballot one-and-dones", mlb.com, January 26, 2021. 
- Jesse Yomtov: "2021 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot: Mark Buehrle, Tim Hudson among the top newcomers", USA Today, January 21, 2020.