In a statement, the Hall of Fame’s chairman, Jane Forbes Clark, said the Hall’s board would consider Schilling’s request at its next meeting. But it denied a similar request by Marvin Miller, the influential head of the players’ union who died in 2012 and who had asked to be taken off the veterans’ committee ballot.
The 16-person panel did not meet last December because of the coronavirus pandemic, so officially, the 2021 class will have no members at all. But because the pandemic also canceled the induction ceremonies for the 2020 class — including Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and Miller — there should still be activity in Cooperstown this summer. The Hall of Fame has scheduled an induction ceremony for July 25.
The writers have voted for the Hall of Fame since its founding in 1936. This was the ninth time they have held an election and failed to induct anyone. But from each of those fruitless elections, at least six of the top 10 finishers were inducted in time. Other than Gil Hodges, every player who has received at least 50 percent on a writer’s ballot has eventually been elected by the writers or a subsequent committee.
The New York Times is one of several news organizations that prohibit writers from voting for awards, believing that reporters should not be newsmakers. But if I could have submitted a ballot, I would have checked boxes for Bonds, Clemens, Todd Helton, Jeff Kent, Scott Rolen, Schilling and Gary Sheffield.
To me, the character clause should apply only if a player was, at some point, forbidden to participate because of cheating. If not, his career was fully sanctioned by Major League Baseball, and that’s good enough for me. Bonds and Clemens belong.