Bonds, Clemens fail to earn election in final appearance on Hall of Fame ballot

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Two of baseball’s most controversial superstars, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, have been dismissed from the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot by baseball writers.

Only David Ortiz earned election from the Baseball Writers in the 2022 Hall of Fame election.

The former players, both of whom have proved polarizing in the years since their retirement, due to their connections to performance-enhancing drugs while on the field, spent the maximum ten years on the ballot. But neither Bonds or Clemens reached the requisite 75 percent to earn election to baseball’s hallowed shrine.

The fate of Bonds, who won seven Most Valuable Player awards, and Clemens who garnered seven Cy Young Awards, now rest with the special era committees that evaluate candidates who failed with the Baseball Writers Association of America, the voting body for the annual Hall of Fame elections.

Bonds received 66 percent in his final appearance on the BBWAA ballot. His began with 36.2 percent in his first year on the ballot, followed by a second-year drop to 34.7 percent in 2014. In subsequent years Bonds received 36.8, 44.3, 53.8, 56.4, 59.1, 60.7 and 61.8 percent.

Clemens (who received 65.2 percent in the 2022 election) started out with 37.6 percent support in 2013, and he hovered below 50 percent until his fifth year on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2017. The former pitcher, who won 354 games and ranks third all-time in strikeouts, finished above the 60 percent mark in each of his final three years on the BBWAA ballot.

Clemens quickly shared this statement on his Twitter account following the Hall of Fame announcement:

While neither Bonds nor Clemens failed PED tests in Major League Baseball, each has been implicated via testimony from steroid suppliers, former teammates, or both. Their late-career performances and changes in their physical appearance are enough evidence for many to believe Bonds and Clemens were both using illegal substances during their careers.

Now that Bonds and Clemens have failed to be elected, a dark cloud has been removed from the Hall of Fame balloting process. The controversial debate over the candidacy of the two stars, neither of whom made (or kept) many friends in the game, has frequently overshadowed other candidates. Alleged PED user Sammy Sosa, who languished in the 15-20 percent range, was also making his final appearance on the ballot. However, another dark cloud has arrived on the ballot: Alex Rodriguez, who was suspended by MLB twice for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

2022 Baseball Hall of Fame Election Results

PLAYERYEAR ON BALLOTVOTESVOTE PCT
David Ortiz1st30777.9
Barry Bonds10th26066.0
Roger Clemens10th25765.2
Scott Rolen5th24963.2
Curt Schilling10th23158.6
Todd Helton4th20552.0
Billy Wagner7th20151.0
Andrew Jones5th16341.1
Gary Sheffield8th16040.6
Alex Rodriguez1st13534.3
Jeff Kent9th12932.7
Manny Ramirez6th11428.9
Omar Vizquel5th9423.9
Sammy Sosa10th7318.5
Andy Pettitte4th4210.7
Jimmy Rollins1st379.4
Bobby Abreu3rd348.6
Mark Buehrle2nd235.8
Torri Hunter2nd215.3
Joe Nathan1st174.3
Tim Hudson2nd123.0
Tim Lincecum1st92.3
Ryan Howard1st82.0
Mark Teixeira1st61.5
Jonathan Papelbon1st51.3
Justin Morneau1st51.3
Prince Fielder1st20.5
A.J. Pierzynski1st20.5
Carl Crawford1st00.0
Jake Peavy1st00.0
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Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes is the author of three books about baseball, including Ty Cobb: A Biography. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and Major League Baseball Advanced Media. He lives in Michigan where he writes, runs, and enjoys a good orange soda now and again.
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