The National Baseball Hall of Fame has four new members.. Rivera is the first unanimous selection in history.
The most significant ongoing Hall of Fame subplot is the status of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Bonds and Clemens both have Hall of Fame credentials, undeniably, but performance-enhancing drug ties have them still on the outside looking in. The duo again fell short of induction this year.
For Bonds, baseball's all-time home-run king and one of the four or five best players who ever lived, he gained some support but not enough that induction appears likely next year. Here are his year-to-year voting percentages:
2013: 36.2 percent
2014: 34.7 percent
2015: 36.8 percent
2016: 44.3 percent
2017: 53.8 percent
2018: 56.4 percent
2019: 59.1 percent
As a reminder, a player needs to appear on 75 percent of submitted ballots to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Bonds has three more years on the ballot -- he is in no danger of receiving less than five percent of the vote and thus falling off the ballot early -- but will need to make big gains in the coming years. Small bites aren't enough.
Clemens won 354 games and seven Cy Youngs, and is one of the three or four best pitchers in history. Here are his voting percentages over the years:
2013: 37.6 percent
2014: 35.4 percent
2015: 37.5 percent
2016: 45.2 percent
2017: 54.1 percent
2018: 57.3 percent
2019: 59.5 percent
Like Bonds, Clemens has made only small gains in recent years and could run out of time before reaching the 75 percent threshold. Starting in 2014 the Hall of Fame eligibility period was shortened from 15 years to 10 years. Players on the ballot prior to 2013 were grandfathered in. Bonds and Clemens were not, so they only have three years of eligibility remaining.
It is a bit bizarre Bonds and Clemens have different voting totals considering the only reason both have yet to be inducted into Cooperstown is PED suspicions. It would seem that, if a voter hold PEDs against Bonds or Clemens, they would against the other, but apparently not. They have slightly different voting totals.
Derek Jeter is the only slam dunk Hall of Famer joining the ballot for the first time next year. It could be that, with the ballot starting to unclog a bit, Bonds and Clemens will see the increased support needed to reach Cooperstown. Right now, with support slowing, both are in danger of running out of time on the ballot.