November 26, 2020

The Underwhelming 2021 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot

The ballot for the 2021 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees came out recently to the tune of 25 names. As with every year’s ballot, there are some instant no-brainers who should get an immediate launch into the Hall. With the latest roster of greatness, the players that fit that bill are guys like Andy Pettitte, Omar Vizquel and Torii Hunter. Granted, there are a few more that come to mind from this year’s selection pool, however, it’s not the wealth of talent that’s jaw-dropping this year, but the lack of it.

Before we charge the mound on who shouldn’t be on the list, let’s take a look at all 25 players:

Bobby Abreu – Barry Bonds – Mark Beuhrle – A.J. Burnett – Roger Clemens – Michael Cuddyer – Dan Haren – LaTroy Hawkins – Todd Helton – Tim Hudson – Torii Hunter – Andruw Jones – Jeff Kent – Andy Pettitte – Aramis Ramirez – Manny Ramirez – Scott Rolen – Curt Schilling – Gary Sheffield – Sammy Sosa – Nick Swisher – Shane Victorino – Omar Vizquel – Billy Wagner – Barry Zito

Obviously, there are other standouts than the three I mentioned. Gary Sheffield catches the eye, Manny Ramirez, Curt Schilling, Andruw Jones…you get the idea. Apparently, the powers that be who assembled this ballot do not. Let’s start with former Cleveland Indian Nick Swisher. According baseball-reference.com, Swisher finished his career with 1,338 hits, 245 home runs and a career batting average of .245. As one fellow CST writer stated, “This isn’t the Hall of Good. There is absolutely no way, in this universe or the next, that Swisher’s name with those very not-hall-of-fame numbers should have made it this far.

Michael Cuddyer is another player who should be omitted from the voting discussion. His career stats include 1,522 hits, 197 home runs and a .277 batting average. In that similar realm is Shane Victorino who wrapped up his career batting .275 with 1,274 hits and 108 home runs. How about a pitcher that isn’t deserving of said HOF accolades? Step right up, Dan Haren, with a not-far-from .500 record of 153-131 and a 3.75 ERA. Again, not bad numbers, but these aren’t statistics that scream “Fly me to Cooperstown!”

Outside of the performance-short players on the ballot, there are also the familiar faces of the performance-enhanced. The usual suspects include Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa. From a personal standpoint, those three should absolutely not even be allowed the chance at induction. Ever. These are athletes who knowingly (despite Bonds’ repeated claim) made efforts to cheat at the game to better themselves physically and gain an unnatural edge against the competition. How these guys keep showing up every year is head-scratching at best.

So, there you have it. A compilation for 2021 potential inductees that is controversial if nothing else. While it will certainly stir debate after debate until the actual voting happens, we can all agree that this mixed bag has its spectrum of athletes that range from overachievers to illegal performers.

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