Tomorrow, January 25th, at 5 pm CT on MLB Network, the 2022 Hall of Fame class will be announced. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and Curt Schilling – all controversial in their own right – will either be inducted into Cooperstown or fall off the ballot. Newcomers such as David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, and Jonathan Papelbon present interesting cases in what has become a loaded ballot over the years, hurting the chances of guys like Mark Buehrle, Tim Hudson, Scott Rolen, Andy Pettitte, and others. Hopefully, we get some clarity after this year.
As in years past, we asked you, the fans to fill out your Hall of Fame ballots and created a summary of your thoughts below. Thanks to everyone who filled out a ballot – almost 300 of you!
With 272 total responses, the number to hit was at least 204 votes. That is exactly 75% and would make a player Hall of Fame eligible.
With the votes counted, here’s who you – the fans – would put into the Hall of Fame…
Perhaps it’s no surprise when asking Sox fans, but Mark Buehrle squeezed into the Hall of Fame if our fan base had the official vote, and in fact, was the only player among the fan ballots to amass the necessary 204 votes – getting exactly 204 votes. Falling just short were Barry Bonds and David Ortiz, and to a lesser extent, Curt Schilling, Manny Ramirez, Andruw Jones, and Roger Clemens. Interestingly, every player on the ballot received at least 4 votes, showing the diversity of the fan base.
When compared to the ballots turned in by our Sox On 35th team, those with the necessary votes numbered just three: Barry Bonds (82.4%), David Ortiz (76.5%), and Roger Clemens (76.5%). Todd Helton (70.6%) and Mark Buehrle (70.6%) fell just one vote short on our 17-writer ballot, and Scott Rolen was just two votes short. The full vote breakdown can be seen below.
So, some similarities in terms of who received a high number of votes. Let’s break down these ballots a bit further and understand why people voted the way they did.
Fan Voting Polls
We asked fans two main questions regarding their voting habits:
- Does a player’s off-the-field character play a role in your voting?
- If you could’ve voted for more than 10 players, would you have?
The results were pretty interesting – surprising, for me, at least:
It was nearly a 50-50 split in the consideration of off-the-field character, which helps to explain why players such as Curt Schilling or those with previous PED allegations were unable to make the 75% threshold. In addition, what I found surprising: almost 3/4 of all voters believe that there are 10 or fewer Hall of Famers on this current ballot. As we do this year-over-year, it’s going to be very interesting to track this number.
Personally, my ballot was as such: Barry Bonds, Mark Buehrle, Roger Clemens, Todd Helton, Tim Hudson, David Ortiz, Andy Pettitte, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, and Scott Rolen. I consider off-the-field character to a degree, but overall I am a proponent of putting the full history of baseball into the Hall of Fame: the good, the bad, and the ugly. In addition, I would’ve voted for an additional 4 players if possible: Bobby Abreu, Billy Wagner, Andruw Jones, and Jeff Kent. In opposition to almost 75% of you, this ballot is absolutely loaded in my mind.
Now, let’s get to some fan-specific responses. Beyond these two questions, we also asked fans to explain how they decide who is Hall of Fame-worthy. Let’s get into some of the responses.
Fan Voter Considerations
The question was as follows: What do you consider when choosing who to vote for (specific stats, number of awards, etc)?
Again, with 272 responses, it would be impossible to list everyone’s responses here. What I did, however, was make a word cloud to incorporate some of the main themes (top 100 words) across all responses:
The words that pop out the most: stats, awards, impact, longevity, and era in which they played. I think that’s a pretty nice range of both old school and new school thinking that helps inform fan voting.
In addition, here is a collection of fan responses – again, thanks to everyone who filled it out!
@joelrobertperez: Personal achievements and awards (Cy Young/MVP/ROY), All-Star selections, postseason stats/world series stats, WAR, fWAR, stats compared to others who have been elected to the HOF or not, off the field character (positive or negative), length of career.
Ballot: David Ortiz, Andy Pettite, Billy Wagner
@MaxNWeiss: I take a positional approach to hall of fame voting. I think it’s hard to judge a CF against a SS. That’s why I’ll take a look at where they rank in terms of their position. For example, while Jeff Kent may not compare to a power-hitting first baseman, among the second baseman he is one of the best power hitters at that position.
Ballot: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Joe Nathan, David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Scott Rolen
@CoachH_9812: Eyeball test; can you discuss baseball over my lifetime without mentioning them
Ballot: Barry Bonds, Mark Buehrle, Roger Clemens, Todd Helton, David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Scott Rolen, Jimmy Rollins, Omar Vizquel, Billy Wagner
@WhiteSoxGolfer: Some considerations: (1) Did they win or contend for individual awards? (2) Were they able to sustain success over a period of time? (3) Did they have memorable “Career Highlights” such as postseason moments, legendary HRs or defensive plays, no-hitters, perfect games, etc? (4) Are players from other eras with similar stats in the HoF? (5) Did they make a lasting contribution to the game of baseball in some way?
Ballot: Bobby Abreu, Barry Bonds, Mark Buehrle, Roger Clemens, Andruw Jones, David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Scott Rolen, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa
@SoxMach_pnoles: Counting stats (HR, etc), WAR (peak & total), postseason performance, etc.
Ballot: Bobby Abreu, Barry Bonds, Mark Buehrle, Roger Clemens, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Andy Pettite, Alex Rodriguez, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling
@KenWo4LiFe: I did not vote for A-Rod and Manny because they failed a test and got suspended. None of the other guys went out of their way to harm their team. I voted for Prince Fielder because he was a monster when he played and injuries ended him early. Same reason I would vote for Albert Belle if I could. I would have liked to vote for Mark Buehrle and Torii Hunter if I could have had 12 spots. And I might even think about jimmy Rollins as well.
Ballot: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Prince Fielder, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, David Ortiz, Andy Pettite, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa
@soxmachine_josh: Career WAR, JAWS, Awards
Ballot: Barry Bonds, Mark Buehrle, Roger Clemens, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Gary Sheffield
@arude8: JAWS, WAR, Hall of Fame Monitor. Buerhle and Pettite have nearly identical resumes so I didn’t feel I could vote for one and not the other
Ballot: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Scott Rolen, Curt Schilling, Billy Wagner
@mrdelicious13: Were the players GREAT during their prime and did their careers last long enough to accumulate a reasonable amount of numbers?
Ballot: Barry Bonds, Mark Buehrle, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Scott Rolen, Sammy Sosa, Billy Wagner
@steveowhitesox: Helton, Buehrle, Rolen, and Jones I chose because they exhibited consistency at a very high level for long periods of time in their respective areas of the game despite the fact they were not the most high profile and did so better than the other options, Ortiz and Manny I chose because they not only have the milestones of 500+ HR, but also the cultural significance of the Red Sox teams, which to me makes them a complete lock and probably my top 2 within the group, the rest I added because I think it’s tough to leave them out because of how above and beyond their numbers are compared to everyone else despite the steroid allegations
Ballot: Barry Bonds, Mark Buehrle, Roger Clemens, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Scott Rolen, Sammy Sosa
@AloneTeenSoxFan: I did this very specifically. First, I chose all the guys I knew I wanted in, like Wagner, Rolen, Buerhle, and Jones. Then, I considered if I wanted Clemens and Bonds, and decided I did not. Next, I looked at guys who had some steroid stuff and decided they were in, such as Ortiz and Sosa. Finally, I filled in the rest with some other guys I thought were worthy.
Ballot: Mark Buehrle, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Scott Rolen, Sammy Sosa, Billy Wagner
As Sox fans, we fall somewhere between 1 and 3 Hall of Famers on this current ballot. On Tuesday, we will find out whether or not the BBWAA agrees with us. With the way voting was trending, it looks like Buehrle will have enough votes to stay on the ballot, but far from enough to get in. Hopefully, with the ballot clearing up a bit, his case can come through a bit stronger next year.
Thanks again to everyone who voted – looking forward to doing it again next year!
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Featured Image: @whitesox / Twitter