The official ballot for the 2022 Hall of Fame voting dropped on Monday afternoon, and while anyone who keeps track of the requirements knew who would be added this year, it’s still a lot of fun to see who the new contenders are, and whether any give the “first ballot” vibe.
There are 13 new contenders this year, but before we jump into who is new, let’s look at who has their last shot at getting in via the BBWAA vote. Previous contenders who are on the ballot for the last time are Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, and Sammy Sosa. Some may recall that last season Schilling requested to be removed from consideration, but his request was denied by the Baseball Hall of Fame. Sosa, Clemens, and Bonds of course have incredible numbers, but their legacies have been tarnished by PED scandals.
Which ties neatly to one of the biggest new additions to the ballot, Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez knows better than anyone how his use of PEDs tarnished his reputation, costing him millions during his 162-game suspension (it was originally meant to be 211-games but was reduced to 162). In 2017 he lamented over his poor choices, saying, “It cost me my reputation, and it may have cost me the Hall of Fame and a number of other things.” So, it’s safe to say Rodriguez won’t be surprised to be excluded from the Hall of Fame, and if voter history for players like Bonds and Sosa is any indication, ARod is unlikely to make it into Cooperstown’s hallowed halls.
But what of fellow first-year contender David Ortiz? Ortiz failed a PED test back in 2003, and while he vehemently denied using steroids, it’s certain to raise at least one or two eyebrows among voters. That said, he never received the backlash (nor the suspension) ARod did, and his legacy with the Red Sox ended on an incredibly positive note. It’s definitely worth noting, as well, that at least 10 players on the 2003 list of positives were false positives. Even Rob Manfred made a case for Hall of Fame voters to ignore the positive test in a 2016 statement, saying:
“Whatever judgment writers decide to make with respect to players who have tested positive or otherwise been adjudicated under our program, that’s up to them. That’s a policy decision. They have to look into their conscience and decide how they evaluate that against the Hall of Fame criteria... What I do feel is unfair that in situations where it is leaks, rumors, innuendo, not confirmed positive-tests results, that is unfair to the players. I think that would be wrong.’’
It seems very unlikely that voters will lean too heavily on the one positive test, all other factors considered.
The 13 new contenders to the Hall of Fame ballot for 2022 are listed below. Former Tigers have been marked with a (*):
- Carl Crawford
- Prince Fielder*
- Ryan Howard
- Tim Lincecum
- Justin Morneau
- Joe Nathan*
- David Ortiz
- Jonathan Papelbon
- Jake Peavy
- A.J. Pierzynski
- Alex Rodriguez
- Jimmy Rollins
- Mark Teixeira
Here’s the complete 2022 ballot:
It’s certainly an interesting list of new additions, several of whom are sure to garner some discussion as voting ramps up. Do you think there are any first-ballot Hall of Famers in the new class of contenders?