Changing Times: the Next Five Years of BBWAA Hall of Fame Elections

This year’s Hall of Fame election shutout halted a remarkable run: seven consecutive years of multiple candidates being elected, and 22 candidates over that span, both of which were modern voting era records. Even with this year’s shutout, and the possibility of another one next year — reactions to the specific candidates closest to election, it would appear, rather than to the process as a whole — it’s undeniable that the dynamics of Hall elections have changed.

Consider this: From 1966 to 2005, only three candidates recovered from debuts below 25% to reach 75%, even with 15 years of eligibility: Duke Snider (17.0% in 1970, elected in ’81), Don Drysdale (21.0% in 1975, elected in ’84) and Billy Williams (23.4% in 1982, elected in ’87). Since then, we’ve seen five players elected despite such slow starts, including three from 2017-20. From the 15-year eligibility period came Bruce Sutter (23.9% in 1994, elected in 2006), and Bert Blyleven (17.5% in ’98, elected in 2011), and then once the Hall unilaterally decided to cut eligibility from 15 years to 10 — less to clean up the ballots than to try moving the intractable debate over PED-related candidates out of the spotlight — Tim Raines (24.3% in 2008, elected in ’17), Mike Mussina (20.3% in 2014, elected in ’19), and Larry Walker (20.3% in 2011, elected in ’20).

This year, Gary Sheffield (11.7% in 2015), Billy Wagner (10.5% in ’16), and Todd Helton (16.2% in ’19) all crossed the 40% threshold, the point where the odds of eventual election really start to tilt in a candidate’s favor, and Scott Rolen (10.2% in ’18) topped 50%, the point at which eventual election becomes a near-certainty. If you’ve been reading my coverage for any length of time, you know my line about Gil Hodges being the only exception from the latter group besides the current candidates on the ballot, but consider what the data tells us about landing in the 40-49% range even once. Out of the 40 candidates who have done so since 1966 (the year voters returned to the annual balloting) and are no longer on the ballot, 20 were elected by the writers and another 14 by small committees.

In other words, it’s not unreasonable to think about the aforementioned players finding spots in Cooperstown sometime in the next five years, which is a lot more fun to consider than another year of quarreling over the quartet of polarizing players — Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, and Omar Vizquel — whose character issues became the focus of the past election cycle.

In any event, it’s time to break out my crystal ball for my eighth-annual five-year election outlook, an exercise that requires some amount of imagination and speculation. While it’s grounded in my research into the candidates and the history and mechanics of the voting, the changes to the process that have occurred over those eight years raise the question of how valuable that history is from a prognostication standpoint. Revising this annually is a necessity because every incorrect assumption has a ripple effect; the presence of a high-share holdover means less space for and less attention paid to the midballot guys.

For the sake of this exercise, I am assuming that the Hall will keep the 10 votes per ballot system in place, with a 5% minimum to avoid falling off and 10 years of eligibility for new candidates. Note that each ballot’s year refers to the year of induction; that ballot is released in November of the previous year, with ballots due on December 31. To be eligible, a candidate must not have played in the majors for five full seasons, but his eligibility year will actually be six years after his last appearance.


Top newcomers: Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Mark Teixeira, Jimmy Rollins, Joe Nathan, Jonathan Papelbon
Top holdovers: Schilling, Bonds, Clemens, Rolen, Vizquel, Wagner, Helton, Sheffield
Most likely to be elected: hello? anyone?
Falling off: Bonds, Clemens, Schilling, Sosa

Even before we get to the Gruesome Twosome, a few points about Schilling, who has requested he be removed from the ballot, a possibility that Hall chairman of the board Jane Forbes Clark has said she will discuss with the board of directors but one that the BBWAA sees as a violation of the rules.

Schilling inched upwards from 70% to 71.1% even with the withdrawal of support from some high profile voters, falling 16 votes short, but what’s clear from his request is his realization that his public support for the January 6 insurrection — a week after the ballot deadline, and so too late for any voter to act upon — will cost him even more. According to Hall of Fame Ballot Tracker team member Anthony Calamis, thus far 22 voters have publicly indicated that they will either withdraw their support from Schilling on the next ballot, or at least consider doing so. That’s 5.5% of this year’s electorate, and even if not everyone from that group follows through, others may possibly change their minds, too. So much for getting to 75%.

As for Bonds and Clemens, the 10th year of their candidacy, is obviously the last and probably the best chance for them to finally gain entry, but given that their momentum has ground to a halt — respectively, they’ve gained 8.0% and 7.5% over the past four cycles to reach 61.8% and 61.6% — there’s probably a large enough bloc to filibuster them, because returning voters aren’t changing their minds. Their candidacies need another shake-up on par the ones that helped them gain 19-20 points from 2015 to ’17, namely the sunsetting of inactive voters and the Era Committee election of commissioner Bud Selig, who presided over the very mire into which the pair sank.

The arrivals of candidates Rodriguez and Ortiz probably won’t shake things up enough. Despite his 696 home runs and 117.5 WAR, Rodriguez will likely be consigned to down-ballot purgatory due to his full-year suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, ahead of twice-suspended Manny Ramirez (who was flat at 28.2% in his fifth year) but not by much. Rodriguez, Ortiz, and Ramirez all reportedly failed the 2003 survey test, which commissioner Rob Manfred basically disavowed during Big Papi’s retirement tour, on the basis of “issues and ambiguities” that were never resolved, so voters can’t additionally hold that against A-Rod while suggesting that Ortiz is as pure as the driven snow. Which isn’t to say that I’m advocating voters hold the survey test against any player; I draw the line between what happened prior to the advent of testing and suspensions in 2004, and what happened after, and so if MLB couldn’t discipline that trio, or Sosa and Mark McGwire, then I don’t think it’s the voters’ place to do so.

Instead, Ortiz’s candidacy should be considered on the merits. On the one hand are his 541 career home runs and great postseason numbers (.289/404/.543 with 17 homers) while serving as the centerpiece of the Red Sox’s three championships from 2004-2013. On the other hand, there’s the stigma of his having spent 88% of his career at designated hitter, accumulating a respectable but hardly remarkable 55.3 WAR. But just as Ortiz’s retirement tour gave Edgar Martinez (72% of his career at DH, 68.4 WAR) a significant boost towards his eventual election, Martinez’s presence in Cooperstown will persuade many that the only other competitor for the position’s greatest practitioner belongs there as well. Still, it will look quite strange if voters tab Ortiz while turning their noses up at Bonds (162.8 WAR) and Clemens (139.2 WAR), when the league had no means of disciplining any of them. I’d expect a strong debut – I guessed 57% in the Tracker poll of Hall of Fame voters and observers, and I was among the lowest in a group that averaged 65.8% — but not instant anointment.

Of the other newcomers, it’s difficult to see Rollins gaining traction; he made only three All-Star appearances and ranks just 30th among shortstops in JAWS, ahead of only two Hall of Famers, Phil Rizzuto and Rabbit Maranville (not to mention Vizquel). Teixeira didn’t even reached 2,000 hits, and voters haven’t elected any player from the post-1960 expansion era who failed to do so.

Neither Nathan (377 saves in 923.1 innings) nor Papelbon (368 saves in 725 innings) can match Wagner (422 saves in 903 innings) or the enshrined relievers in the most traditional yardsticks for relievers, and neither had appreciably longer careers than Wags. Nathan is slightly ahead of Hoffman and Wagner in JAWS, and eighth in my WAR-WPA-WPA/LI hybrid stat, two spots below Wagner, with Papelbon 10th. I don’t see either getting as much support as Wagner — who should surpass 50% here — though we’ll get to dust off Papelbon’s crotch-grabbing and Bryce Harper-choking videos for, uh, laughs.

I expect Rolen’s surge will slow down somewhat but that he’ll still make some converts as more voters do their homework, finishing above 60%. Worth noting: according to data in the Tracker, while just 11.1% of private (unpublished ballots) included him last year, that share is at 42.1% at this writing, though that number will change as more ballots are revealed. Helton should surpass 50%, and Sheffield could as well.

As for Vizquel, as far as I can tell his situation — allegations of multiple incidents of domestic violence, initially aired by his wife Blanca via Instagram in October and then reported upon at length by the The Athletic’s Katie Strang and Ken Rosenthal on December 16 — is without parallel in the annals of Hall of Fame voting. I suspect that he could lose more ground than just the 3.5% he shed in falling from 52.6% to 49.1% this year, as several voters who sent off their ballots before the report was published publicly indicated that they would withdraw their support next year. Updating the data from the Tracker, 52.4% of the 42 ballots published through December 15 included Vizquel, a share that has dropped to 40.9% of published ballots since. Given the lack of precedent, I won’t project the remaining trajectory of his candidacy within this exercise except to assume that he’ll remain a mid-ballot candidate through this five-year period, which runs through his ninth year of eligibility.

Anyway, the possible BBWAA ballot shutout could portend another lean year for Cooperstown unless the pandemic-postponed Early Baseball and Golden Days Era Committees elect honorees, preferably living ones in the case of of the latter, though the recent death of Dick Allen reminds us that time is not on any of their sides.


Top newcomers: Carlos Beltrán, John Lackey, Jered Weaver, Jhonny Peralta, Francisco Rodriguez
Top holdovers: Rolen, Ortiz, Wagner, Helton, Sheffield, Vizquel, Rodriguez, Jones
Most likely to be elected: Ortiz, Rolen
Falling off: Kent

My own reservations about Ortiz aside, I do think the consensus will be large enough to push him over the top rather quickly, particularly if the writers don’t elect anybody in 2022. I think that this will be Rolen’s best opening, but even if he slides, Cooperstown is in his future.

Two years ago, I believed that Beltrán would quickly break through where Kenny Lofton, Jim Edmonds, Andruw Jones, and Torii Hunter had come up short. He’s got a Hall-caliber resumé, with nine All-Star appearances, three Gold Gloves, 2,725 hits, 435 homers, outstanding postseason numbers (.307/.412/.609 with 16 homers) and the number nine ranking among center fielders in JAWS.

However, last year’s report of Beltran’s central role in the Astros’ 2017 illegal sign-stealing saga, which cost him his managerial job with the Mets before he’d even set foot in the dugout, is obviously a setback. I still don’t think we know the extent to which voters will hold it against him, even with fellow managers Alex Cora and A.J. Hinch welcomed back into the game almost immediately after their suspensions ended; as the PED saga has shown regarding Bonds and Mark McGwire, MLB employment does not equal BBWAA forgiveness, whether or not one was officially disciplined. Will Beltrán’s participation be regarded as a Rafael Palmeiro-level offense, from his final playing year but nonetheless viewed as disqualifying? Or will it be more like the Roberto Alomar spitting incident, a rare lapse that delays the celebration? Nobody knows, but if I’m guessing, I’d say he’s more likely to debut in the 40-50% range than to breeze into Cooperstown, but that he’ll make slow and steady gains towards election.

As far as the newcomers go, the rest of the ballot is slim pickings. Lackey is 215th in JAWS among starting pitchers, and he’s the best of the bunch. Rodriguez, despite his 437 career saves in 976 innings, is 35th in JAWS among relievers, and 12th in my hybrid stat, and he comes with some significant baggage regarding multiple criminal charges, including a guilty plea to third-degree assault for attacking his girlfriend’s father in 2010 and a 2012 arrest for a domestic violence charge, later dropped. He’s not getting elected.

Kent, whose lack of traction with voters has always surprised me even given his underwhelming WAR and JAWS, will be in his final year on the ballot. While he won’t be close to election, his surpassing 20% in 2020 and 30% in ’21 already set him up for an Era Committee vote, and I suspect he could be in the vicinity of 40% by this point, like Alan Trammell (elected via the Modern Baseball Era Committee in 2018) and Fred McGriff (a likely 2023 Today’s Game candidate) did. Wagner and Helton should be significantly above 50% by this point and perhaps above 60%, and I think Sheffield will be as well, with Jones well into the 40s.


Top newcomers: Adrián Beltré, Chase Utley, Joe Mauer, David Wright, Bartolo Colon
Top holdovers: Helton, Wagner, Beltrán, Rodriguez, Vizquel, Jones
Most likely to be elected: Beltré, Wagner, Sheffield (maybe)
Falling off: Sheffield (maybe)

This ballot will harken back to the period we’ve just experienced thanks to the strong crop of holdovers as well as the high-profile newcomers, a class that would have included Ichiro Suzuki as well if not for his two-game cameo at the start of the 2019 season. No matter. The top-shelf talent starts with Beltré, whose 3,166 hits, 477 homers, number two ranking in fielding runs at the hot corner and the number four ranking in JAWS will set up an easy waltz into Cooperstown, a remarkable turn of events given that when he left Seattle after the 2009 season, he had never made an All-Star team and his inability to live up to his big ’04 walk year made him something of a disappointment.

Mauer, a six-time All-Star, three-time Gold Glove winner, three-time batting champion (the only catcher who can claim that) and former MVP winner himself, ranks seventh in JAWS among catchers. Forced off the position due to post-concussion problems, he spent the last five seasons of his career as a more or less league average first baseman, but even with that shortcoming, and with just 921 games caught, his seven-year peak — all from his years behind the plate — ranks fifth, behind only Gary Carter, Johnny Bench, Mike Piazza, and Ivan Rodriguez. The hometown success story and number one overall pick who lived up to his billing, he’s likely to get an extra bump in the character department, which is sure to stir up the faction of Twins fans still mad about his salary. That said, just two catchers have been elected in their first year of eligibility, Bench and Rodriguez, and I suspect the late-career downturn could delay Mauer’s entry. Cooperstown is in his future, but maybe not 2024.

Less likely to wind up there, at least on this ballot, is Utley. Despite not drawing more than 300 plate appearances in a season until age 26, he ranks 11th in JAWS among second baseman (and ninth in peak) thanks to the tremendous impact of his fielding and baserunning. Alas, if voters’ failure to recognize him in the MVP races and Gold Glove awards didn’t already make it apparent that he’s facing an uphill battle, I fear that he’ll become a victim of the aforementioned Rule of 2,000; due to injuries and his acceptance of a part-time role in his final years, Utley finished with just 1,885. I’m hopeful that with an electorate sophisticated enough not to rely solely on career totals as a yardstick, he’ll receive substantial support, and we can hope he eventually gets his plaque.

With seven All-Star appearances and 50.1 WAR through his age-31 season (2014) — 11th among third basemen — Wright was on a path that conceivably could have carried him to Cooperstown, but spinal stenosis and other injuries derailed him and finally forced him into retirement this past fall. His 40.2 WAR peak score is short of the Hall standard (43.0), and his 1,777 hits leave him well short of 2,000, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he sticks around a less crowded ballot than more recent short-career candidates such as Johan Santana, Roy Oswalt, and Lance Berkman faced.

Colon spent 21 years in the majors and won 247 games thanks in large part to one of the great third acts in baseball history. After tearing his rotator cuff in the 2005 postseason, just after putting together a campaign that won him a Cy Young award that should have gone to Santana, he spent four years coming and going from various rosters and was out of baseball completely in 2010 before re-emerging with the Yankees following a radical stem cell treatment. He put together some big seasons for the A’s and Mets, earning All-Star honors twice after age 40 and became an unlikely fan favorite despite getting pinched for PEDs in 2012. Sticking around past his 45th birthday, the rotund righty racked up 247 wins, and while his 40.8 JAWS merely ranks him 148rd among starters, he’ll probably get token support as a nod towards the fun he brought to the game in the age of social media, never more so than when he hit one of history’s most unlikely home runs on May 7, 2016.

As for the holdovers, the recent history of Martinez, Mussina, and Raines suggests that non-PED candidate landing in the 40-49% range are three yeas away from election, which is relevant here when it comes to Wagner and Helton. With each of those two having perhaps a bit more structural resistance built in via the anti-reliever and anti-Coors bias, I’ll bank that they’re elected one at a time, with Wagner here, in his ninth year of eligibility, and Helton in 2025.

As for Sheffield, who just two years ago was a fifth-year candidate polling 13.6%, about one-third of his 2021 support, this is make-or-break time in his final year. Particularly given the likelihood of Ortiz’s election, the relatively minimal nature of Sheffield’s PED connection — Bonds’ trainer Greg Anderson gave him what he believed to be a cortisone-type cream to rub on his surgical scars, but it was the testosterone-based steroid known as “the cream,” and soon afterwards, Sheffield ended his relationship with both — might be overlooked by enough voters for him to be elected. If he doesn’t gain enough ground in 2022-23 to get him above 60% by this point, he’ll probably fall short via the writers but be well set up for an Era Committee; I’ll go the optimistic route and suggest he lands here.


Top newcomers: CC Sabathia, Ichiro Suzuki, Ian Kinsler, Dustin Pedroia, Russell Martin, Brian McCann, Curtis Granderson, Troy Tulowitzki, Ben Zobrist
Top holdovers: Mauer, Helton, Beltrán, Vizquel, Rodriguez, Utley
Most likely to be elected: Suzuki, Mauer, Helton

The decisions of several players who opted out of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season — or wound up not signing after being noncommittal last winter — cloud the picture here, as it’s possible that some may not return, leaving the 2019 season as their final one and thus making them eligible here. For now, I’ll go with those whose intent to hang up their spikes now seems clear, particularly in light of another winter without landing a job.

The debate surrounding electoral unanimity is silly — a Hall of Famer is a Hall of Famer, and they don’t put a special ribbon or even a mention of getting 100% of the vote on the plaque — but if any upcoming candidate has a shot, it’s Ichiro, who racked up 3,089 hits stateside despite not debuting until age 27. The former MVP, two-time batting champ, 10-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove winner, and international ambassador of baseball would have been eligible for the 2024 ballot, but his season-opening two-game cameo in Japan in 2019 pushed his eligibility back a year. Whether or not he runs the table among BBWAA voters, he’ll be a first-ballot honoree. “There are few players in the history of organized baseball who have brought this joy to more people — spanning continents, crossing decades — than Ichiro,” wrote colleague RJ McDaniel. That’s the kind of impact that propelled Rivera and Jeter towards unanimity, and it will do the same for Suzuki.

Sabathia has a strong pair of traditional milestones — 250 wins and 3,000 strikeouts — to go with his Cy Young award (plus five other top-five finishes in the voting) and his championship ring. He’s a little light on JAWS (50.9, 71st all-time), but the second act of his career, which saw him confront his alcoholism and remake himself as a finesse pitcher after his mid-90s fastball had faded, makes for a compelling narrative that will appeal to voters. Note that there were a considerable amount of “future Hall of Famer” tributes in his final season. I think he’ll be elected, but not on the first ballot given the traffic.

Kinsler, who retired with 1,999 hits(!!!), ranks a very respectable 18th in JAWS. He isn’t the equal of Utley, at the plate (107 OPS+ to 117), on the bases, or in the field (118 DRS to 141, in more playing time) though, and given a shortish career, I don’t see him making electoral headway. The same is true for Pedroia, who’s 20th in JAWS, had fewer hits (1,805) to go with a 113 OPS+ and 97 DRS in his career, which was derailed by left knee woes stemming from a 2017 collision with Manny Machado; he played just nine games in his ages-34 and 35 seasons, and after experiencing a significant setback last January didn’t even report to spring training. He officially announced his retirement on Monday, cementing his position here.

Was Pedroia on a Hall of Fame path? His prominent role in two championships as well as his MVP and Rookie of the Year Awards would have bolstered his case, but through his age-33 season, his 52.3 WAR ranks 16th, five spots below Bobby Grich (60.1), three below Lou Whitaker (55.5), two below Utley (55.0) and one below Willie Randolph (53.7), which is to say that he might have been short (sorry) in the eyes of the writers. Jackie Robinson is the only BBWAA-elected second baseman with a lower WAR at that stage, and obviously, his was a special case.

On the shortstop side of the bag, Tulowitzki didn’t come close to sticking around long enough to have a real case for the Hall, accumulating “only” 1,391 hits but a near-standard peak score of 40.2. At best, that makes him Nomar Garciaparra Lite as far as the voters will be concerned. Zobrist, a superutility player with an emphasis on super, had just 1,566 hits but played a pivotal role on eight postseason teams, winning rings with both the Royals and Cubs; he was the World Series MVP for the latter. It won’t be enough for the voters but it’s enough for a lifetime.

McCann and Martin are two of the era’s top pitch framers, and so long as a good portion of the baseball public insists that Yadier Molina is a Hall of Famer based on his own ability in that area, I’ll push the other two into the conversation as well, though they don’t quite have Molina’s staying power. McCann caught for eight playoff-bound teams in his 15-year career, bashed 282 homers, but wore down significantly after age 32, playing in just 245 games over his final three seasons. Martin caught for 10 playoff-bound teams and was a pivotal player in ending the playoff droughts of both the Pirates and Blue Jays. Both are far short of 2,000 hits, and are probably doomed as far as the writers’ ballots are concerned. Likewise for Granderson, an exceptional and well-liked center fielder-turned corner outfielder; he finished his career with 344 homers but just 1,800 hits and three All-Star appearances.

I think Helton (or Wagner, who would be in his final year if he’s not elected in 2024) will cross the finish line by this point, and Mauer should build on a strong first year showing and gain entry as well. Beltrán should be pulling in a good amount of support, and the comparisons between him and Jones should bring awareness of just how highly they rank among center fielders.


Top newcomers: Francisco Cervelli, Alex Gordon, Phil Hughes, Daniel Murphy, Hunter Pence, Brad Ziegler
Top holdovers: Sabathia, Beltran, Vizquel, Alex Rodriguez, Utley
Most likely to be elected: Sabathia, Beltran
Falling off: Ramirez

The 2020 season left us short in many areas, quite possibly including the retirement department. Perhaps it’s the case that few players wanted to end their careers following such a strange campaign. At this writing, nobody who has announced has a higher bWAR than Gordon’s 35.2, though the free agency of Ryan Braun (46.9) has been rather quiet, and Cole Hamels (59.4) is in the showcase-to-draw-interest stage after triceps and shoulder injuries limited him to a single start. The latter is on the only one who might figure to draw voters’ interest, but while he’s 80th in JAWS, four spots ahead of Tim Hudson, 10 ahead of Mark Buehrle, and 11 ahead of Andy Pettitte — all of whom made the cut this year — his 163 wins are well short of their 200-plus totals (which were compiled over roughly 400 to 600 more innings), so if he doesn’t continue to pitch, he might struggle to draw 5%.

With no newcomers likely to be elected, this could be the opening that Beltrán, Sabathia, and/or Jones – who would be in the ninth year of his candidacy — break through. Given the dearth of starting pitchers here, I’ll go with Sabathia’s milestones carrying the day and Beltrán being back in enough good graces, leaving Jones set up for a possible 10th-year election in 2027 (Vizquel, if he’s not in by that point, would be in year 10 as well). Ramirez, on the other hand, will fall off barring a very significant rethinking by the electorate when it comes to PEDs, because those two suspensions aren’t going away, and as for Rodriguez, he’ll still be nowhere close by this time, either.

All told, that’s 10 candidates elected over the five-year cycle counting Sheffield. That’s up from nine — a very tentative nine, counting Bonds and Clemens — when I ran this exercise last year, and with only five players common to both forecasts, as I no longer believe that any of the top four returning candidates from 2020, the ones who sucked up so much oxygen in this cycle, will get in via the writers. We’ve got one more round with Bonds, Clemens, and Schilling, but once those players are largely out of sight and out of mind, the annual Hall of Fame election cycle will feel like a breath of fresh air by comparison.

And with that, we close the books on 2021 Hall of Fame election cycle. With its bad actors and lack of a payoff, this was by far the most challenging election year that I’ve ever covered, more so, even, than 2013. Nonetheless, I come away from the process grateful that people do still care about the Hall — that’s what the fuss and fighting is all about, after all. I’m even more grateful to have the space to run free with my coverage here at FanGraphs, backed by editor Meg Rowley’s help in navigating the rockier stretches of coverage, and Sean Dolinar’s behind-the-scenes work on so many tools that help to elevate this series into a staple of our annual coverage here. I’m also thankful for the kindred spirits at the Tracker, headed by Ryan Thibodaux and in my case greatly assisted by the aforementioned Anthony Calamis, and to anyone else who’s read this far. And now, back to baseball…

Brooklyn-based Jay Jaffe is a senior writer for FanGraphs, the author of The Cooperstown Casebook (Thomas Dunne Books, 2017) and the creator of the JAWS (Jaffe WAR Score) metric for Hall of Fame analysis. He founded the Futility Infielder website (2001), was a columnist for Baseball Prospectus (2005-2012) and a contributing writer for Sports Illustrated (2012-2018). He has been a recurring guest on MLB Network and a member of the BBWAA since 2011, and a Hall of Fame voter since 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jay_jaffe... and BlueSky

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Vegas Baby
3 years ago

They should force candidates to certify their public support for BLM, Democratic Socialism, Social Justice, and the Democratic Party before they can be considered for the Hall.

CC AFCmember
3 years ago
Reply to  Vegas Baby

Don’t be silly. That’s just what we’re going to force y’all to do just to stay out of jail going forward. To be considered for the Hall, you’re actually going to get a Che Guevara tattoo and become a vegan.

Please also turn your firearms in to your nearest bureau of atheism at your earliest convenience. Thanks!

OddBall Herrera
3 years ago
Reply to  CC AFC

Also, to be considered for the hall you must not have participated in any activities that reenforce, directly or indirectly, patriarchal western imperialism. This includes playing baseball.

OddBall Herrera
3 years ago
Reply to  Vegas Baby

The above is obviously a ridiculous take, but I will say that the time is rapidly arriving where anyone who has the money to hire a social media manager will do so, and Twitter will just become a bunch of millennial Liberal Arts majors blandly agreeing with each other in very general terms in the name of public figures and the masses retweeting. Politicians are already there with a couple obvious exceptions. The downside to saying anything with any content in it is so friggen high now, I would almost consider it malpractice for an agent to not bring up (1) combing through social media accounts and purging old posts and (2) handing over the keys outright to someone else to manage their image.

Mike NMN
3 years ago

Athletes are in charge of their own brands. They pick them, they decide what to say, they decide whether to get political, or to take controversial stands. Ultimately, they are responsible for the economic and collateral consequences of those positions. In this respect, they are like “the talent” (entertainers, media personalities, etc.). Since they perform in the public eye, they need to expect reactions. Of course, they should be able to say what they want. But they shouldn’t be surprise when part of the public judges them on it. Remember, we are talking about folks who will earn tremendous amounts of money during their careers–so your suggestion about hiring media managers is not that far-fetched.

OddBall Herrera
3 years ago
Reply to  Mike NMN

Yeah, I just think the damage that can be done by a mis-step (obviously Schilling’s statements specifically weren’t “oopsies”) so outweighs the benefits from being on social media when we’re in such a partisan environment, particularly one in which the public expects statements to be met with concrete consequences. If I were a public figure with enough money, and felt compelled to participate, I’d have a ghost account under the name Humbert Roflestein III and let a full time image curator do all the posting under my name. Being a non public figure with not so much money, I simply don’t have social media accounts!

3 years ago

I just wouldn’t use any general social media accounts (except to enter contests and to facilitate accounts on other web sites) and avoid politics on the specialist media sites I use like YouTube, MLBTradeRumors, and Fangraphs.

Oh wait, I already do that!

3 years ago
Reply to  Vegas Baby

Yeah — there’s no way anyone who is very public with their support of a Republican President could ever get elected again, or even hope to get voted in unanimously.

OddBall Herrera
3 years ago
Reply to  fredmertz

Not the point I was making at all, which was that the downside for making more than generic statements on social media is beginning to outweigh the upside, and I think people with something to lose from it are going to act accordingly.

Also, times have changed – look at how quickly that Washington QB went from hero to goat after people discovered his political affiliations on Twitter. The roving bands of Twits looking for reasons to hate people have only been emboldened in the last few years and I bet you that if Mariano were up for election today more of an issue would be made of it.

And it’s not just a left vs right thing. It’s a social media and societal thing.

3 years ago

No, Mariano Rivera would still be elected on the first ballot. Rivera had hosted a fundraiser for Trump’s PAC well before the votes, had defended him to the press, etc, and was elected unanimously 2 year ago. Unless Rivera starts talking about lynching journalists or saying legitimately dumb things about politics he’d be more than fine, and even if Rivera believes them he’s smart enough not to say them.

I’m sure there would be plenty of angry people on the internet but half of those “people” are bots, anyway.

3 years ago
Reply to  sadtrombone

Rivera has known Trump long before he was president, and the two have a friendship that dates back quite a long time. As much as many strongly dislike Trump, it’s clear that Rivera’s longtime connection to Trump didn’t matter to voters knowing the circumstances. Also, remember that most of the media members know Rivera on some personal level from interviewing him over the year. By all accounts, he is an extremely decent man. And there is the main difference between Rivera and Schilling. One is decent and the other, at least post his playing career, has been far from decent.

3 years ago
Reply to  RobM

Exactly. Just playing the odds, somewhere between 40% – 60% of current HOFers and players on the ballot are politically conservative and/or voted for Trump.

Why is Schilling getting so much heat?

It’s because he expresses his political views in deliberately provocative ways, only to then use the outrage he generates as proof of some sort of vendetta against him.

Numerous athletes support political causes across the spectrum; the smartest among them avoid making public comments on sensitive issues, not because they’re being censored, but because of the old adage “don’t discussion religion or politics in polite company”. I’m sure if one of the candidates was out there on Twitter saying “white people suck” and “Christians are stupid” over and over again, he’d be getting similar treatment.

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

3 years ago
Reply to  kuri3460

To the contrary, it is extremely unlikely that such a person would get similar treatment.

3 years ago
Reply to  kuri3460

It’s almost certainly significantly higher than 60%, at least among the American players. Among sportswriters on the other hand it is significantly lower than 40%, which explains why there are different standards about ‘how’ players can say things depending upon what they are saying.

3 years ago

So that quarterback went from hero to “greatest of all time”? I’m pretty sure Tom Brady hasn’t played for Washington.