Major League Baseball has a new Hall of Fame class. The votes have been counted up and David Ortiz is the headline act. Meanwhile, for an umpteenth consecutive year, the likes of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Curt Schilling all failed to make the 75% threshold – this time in their final year of eligibility for the MLB Hall of Fame. Many fans are mad, and they should be.

Why are we still using the same group of biased old-school sportswriters who seem to become increasingly petty every year? This year’s MLB Hall of Fame voting results prove more than ever, this system is outdated and flawed. Let’s take a closer look at Ortiz’s HOF selection and the writers who decided to pass on more deserving players.

Who Are These Writers Who Vote & Should This System Change?

Jayson stark mlb hall of fame
Jayson Stark is known as one of the few MLB HOF voters to remain unbiased and professional

In case you’re wondering who is on this clandestine committee who gets to pick and choose who goes to the Hall of Fame, it’s actually a group of voting members in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). This year, there were 394 ballots submitted and players need to receive 75% of the votes, so that meant that they had to have 296 votes this year.

But a bigger question is who are these so-called Guardians of the Galaxy?

  • Are they people that we should, in fact, entrust with who gets enshrined?
  • Or is this an archaic system that needs to be changed to fit modern times?

In truth, many people feel that a change is coming. For many years, the writers of the BBWAA didn’t take analytics into account, so some players were left behind even though the game had become more advanced. That’s slowly changing now, though.

And now some are wondering just how fair they are treating some of the legends of the game like Bonds, Clemens and Schilling. This group seems quite biased against them – especially since guys like Bonds shunned much of the media for many years.

Is this their way of paying him back or is this a statement towards players in the steroid era? It’s hard to say. But, even Derek Jeter knows this to be true.

It does feel odd – maybe even uncomfortable – that a set number of writers, maybe who are a tad too full of themselves at times, get to choose who gets inside the pearly gates and who misses out. Is there really no better system?mlb hallf of fame ballot

At the end of the day, many other leagues do the same. For example, the NFL has a Selection Committee that makes the call and almost everyone there is in the media in some way. They just make their picks, though, while the baseball writers do a vote that gets publicized. It’s probably not the best system but it’s all we’ve got for now.

  • We can’t have former players voting because they’ll be biased.
  • We also can’t have league personnel and current coaching staff involved, because they’ll be biased too.
  • And we surely can’t have fans voting to make this important decision because we know how that will end up.

So what should be done? I’m not sure exactly, but things need to change.

Ortiz Makes The Cut In First Go – MLB Hall of Fame

This was the first time around that Boston Red Sox legend David Ortiz was on the ballot and he got enough votes to be welcomed to Cooperstown. Ortiz received 77.9% of the votes. It’s not a huge surprise as he had 541 home runs in his career and only 34 other players in the game have ever created more runs. And by the way, each of those 34 players are in the Hall of Fame.

The main question with Big Papi is did he do enough in the field? If you take a look at his Wins-Above-Replacement (WAR), it might make you think that he doesn’t deserve to be there. After all, he was a designated hitter and he didn’t do much – if anything – in the field. However, the DH is a job in baseball and Big Papi wore it about as well as anyone we’ve ever seen.

What really cemented not only Ortiz’s invitation to the Hall but also his legacy was his performance in the playoffs. He was one of the most clutch hitters in the game when the lights were brightest. He batted .289 in the playoffs with 17 home runs, 61 RBI’s, and 51 runs. And don’t forget that he was one of the most instrumental players in overturning the Boston Red Sox curse. In one of the most critical playoff series in franchise history – the 2004 ALCS against the rival New York Yankees – he batted .387 with three jacks and 11 RBI’s – two of which were walk-offs – in seven games.

The main concern here is that Ortiz was linked to Performance-Enhancing Drugs but most of the voters overlooked that. It’s a bit difficult to explain when you see who didn’t get in.

2022 MLB Hall Of Fame Voting Count

mlb hall fo fame votes 2022

Bonds, Clemens, Sosa & Schilling Don’t Make The Cut

Two of the players who are most synonymous with PED’s – Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens – didn’t make the cut. It was their 10th and final year in the running, so that was it. Curt Schilling, one of baseball’s greatest pitchers of all time is another MLB legend who was on his last year eligibility and didn’t make it. But why? He never had any ties to steroids or cheating. Is the MLB Hall of Fame voting becoming too personal and do the writers who actually place the votes have too much power? We think so.

It is a bit surprising that Ortiz eased in right away and he had issues but these players did not. Each of these three players are legends in Major League Baseball. If there ever was a book written on the game with all of the seasons in it, these would be main characters. Many players used PED’s in the “Steroid Era” but only a few are being scapegoated.

Which Players Have Future Hopes?

Ortiz was the only inductee this year but many players don’t make it on their first go. That’s likely going to be the case with a number of players and the early voting shows that.

Scott Rolen received 249 votes, which was 63.2% of the vote. That’s a really good sign and he’ll probably make the cut either next year or shortly after. Andruw Jones and Todd Helton are basically in the same category. Jones and Rolen should continue to get strong love from the analytics community, which is only growing.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Carlos Beltran next year. There have been questions about PED’s and he was also busted in the sign-stealing incident of the Houston Astros. We’ll have to see what the voters decide to do with him.

Featured image credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez, Steven Senne, Pablo Monsivais – AP

Editor’s Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect PlayPennsylvania’s position.