The Baseball Hall of Fame released its 2022 ballot on Monday, and voters from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will be confronting the sport’s steroid era once again.
On the ballot for the final time are all-time home run leader and seven-time MVP Barry Bonds and seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens. The 13 first-time eligible players include Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz.
Rodriguez was suspended for the 2014 season after he was linked to the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs in the Biogenesis scandal. Bonds and Clemens were tied to illegal substances in the Mitchell Report, an investigative report issued in December 2007.
And in 2003, The New York Times reported Ortiz tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs during an anonymous screening but never failed a PED test once MLB’s official testing program was instituted.
Now, in the final opportunity for Bonds and Clemens, voters will have to decide if the performance of the players on the field outweighs the whispers off it.
Players need to be listed on 75 percent of ballots for induction. In 2021, in their ninth year of eligibility, Bonds received 61.8 percent of the votes and Clemens 61.6, and both had climbed steadily through the years.
Whether they can reach the 75 percent mark will be revealed on Jan. 25, when the BBWAA announces the results of the 2022 balloting. The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies are set for July 24 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
In 2021, no one received the required number of votes.
Joining Rodriguez and Ortiz as first-time nominees are Carl Crawford, Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Tim Lincecum, Justin Morneau, Joe Nathan, Jonathan Papelbon, Jake Peavy, A.J. Pierzynski, Jimmy Rollins and Mark Teixeira.
Candidates will remain on the ballot for 10 years provided they are not elected and they are named on at least 5 percent of all ballots each year.
Returnees on the ballot also include Curt Schilling and Sammy Sosa, both in their 10th and final year of eligibility.
Schilling was named on 71.1 percent of ballots last year, and while he hasn’t been linked to PED use, his candidacy appears to have been derailed through the years by his outspoken views. On Jan. 6, for example, he tweeted support for the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building. In 2016, ESPN fired him after a social media post that was seen as anti-transgender.
Sosa was selected on just 17 percent of the ballots in 2021. In his ninth year of eligibility is Jeff Kent, who received 32.4 percent of the needed votes last year.