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With the baseball offseason in full swing, the National Baseball Hall of Fame has temporarily taken over the headlines on the diamond by revealing the class of 2022 candidates.
Over the course of the next month and a half, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) will vote on who they feel should be inducted into the Hall of Fame. If any candidate receives 75 percent of the vote before the January 25, 2022 reveal date, they’ll be included in the induction ceremony in Cooperstown, New York on July 24, 2022.
This year’s ballot includes four players who are in their final year of eligibility and 13 newcomers to the ballot. In between are 13 others who are either looking to eclipse the 75 percent that’s needed or draw closer.
With all of the said, it’s time to predict who will be enshrined in baseball’s hallowed halls.
Curt Schilling (Pitcher)
A while back, we had an article called “The Complicated Case of Curt Schilling,” which dove into his request to be removed from the next ballot and chancing it with the Veterans Committee. However, the BBWAA may not afford him that opportunity.
Curt Schilling has Hall of Fame numbers and is by all accounts, a Hall of Fame worthy pitcher. He has the 15th most strikeouts in baseball history and he also has one of the greatest postseason resumes in the games history. Those alone should have gotten him in.
The one thing that’s held him back has been his post-playing career life. Included in this, is his Nazi-Germany memorabilia (as part of his World War II collection) and his transphobic and anti-media posts made. Realistically, as more time has gone on, the more he’s hurt his chances.
Despite of this, Schilling reached 71.1 percent last year (he only needed 16 more votes). With this being his final year of eligibility, political and social commentaries aside, he should get in.
David Ortiz (First Baseman and Designated Hitter)
Baseball has been full of larger than life characters throughout its entire history, but none may be as big as David “Big Papi” Ortiz. Arguably the best designated hitter to play the game, he swung his bat like he was Paul Bunyan and could drive it as far as anyone.
Although his 541 career home runs is good enough for 17th on the all-time list, it was his play in big moments that sets him apart from everyone else.
From hitting the walk off home run against the Los Angeles Angels in the 2004 American League Divisional Series and hitting the walk off home run against the New York Yankees that began the Boston Red Sox historic comeback in the 2004 American League Championship Series to the his Grand Slam in 2013 against the Detroit Tigers that got Boston rolling in the ALCS, there’s no shortage of clutch moments from Ortiz.
The big obstacles for Ortiz are his position (designated hitter) and the controversy surrounding a possible positive steroid test. With Edgar Martinez induction in 2019, the door for designated hitters was opened. With commissioner Rob Manfred casting some questions on the batch of positive lists, there may be a real chance for Big Papi to get in.
Scott Rolen (Third Baseman)
Over the last couple years, Rolen has seen a significant surge in voting. In his first campaign, he garnered a mere 17.2 percent. The next year, he reached 35.3 percent and last year, received 52.9 percent of the vote. With these surges, there’s a really good chance he could shock the world and get in.
Rolen is considered the eighth best third-baseman in the history of the game if you go by “Wins Above Replacement.” His eight Gold Gloves, seven All-Star selections and Silver Slugger add to his case.
It’s only a matter of time before Rolen gets inducted. If he continues to gain votes by the 16-plus percent, he’ll get in within the next two or three years.