HOF vote: Clemens falls short, Wagner gains
HOUSTON – There were no new electees to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year, which means several high profile former Astros will have to wait until 2022 for their next chance to receive the top individual honor in baseball.
Of the candidates who once wore a Houston uniform, Billy Wagner is arguably the most identifiable as an Astro. The hard-throwing lefty is slowly gaining more traction in Hall of Fame voting. This year, he received 46.4% of the vote, up from 31.7% in 2020. In ’19, he garnered 16.7%.
Wagner was the Astros’ closer during a stretch in which the club won four NL Central titles in five years, from 1997-99 and in 2001. He was traded to Philadelphia just before the Astros’ dominant stretch in 2004-05, but “Billy the Kid” still owns the Astros’ club record for saves with 225. Wagner recorded 422 saves during his 16-year career.
Jeff Kent, who played second base for the Astros from 2003-04 and was part of the postseason run in '04 that ended with a Game 7 loss to the Cardinals in the NL Championship Series, also saw his vote totals increase. He has a long way to go to get to the 75% threshold required for election, however -- he’s now at 32.4%, up from 27.5% in '20.
Roger Clemens, whose candidacy has been wrought with controversy, will enter his final year of eligibility in 2022, and he’ll need to make a rather large leap to gain entry to the Hall. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young winner whose career ended with allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his 24-year career, barely increased his vote total from last year. He received 61.6% this year, up from only 61% in ’20.
Clemens’ vote support has been mostly flat over the past four years. He received 57.3% in 2018, and 59.5% in ’19.
Andy Pettitte, who went 37-26 with a 3.38 ERA in three seasons with the Astros, received 13.7% of the vote, up from 11.3% last year. He has seven more years of eligibility.
Curt Schilling, who pitched for the Astros in 1991 before reaching stardom with the Phillies, D-backs and Red Sox, fell 16 votes shy of election, garnering 71.1% of the vote. Other former Astros on the ballot were LaTroy Hawkins (0.5%) and Bobby Abreu (8.7%).
The 2021 Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place July 25 and will feature the honorees elected in '20 who were unable to gather in Cooperstown, N.Y., due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That group includes Derek Jeter, Larry Walker and Modern ERA Committee selections Ted Simmons and the late Marvin Miller.
Also being honored that weekend will be two broadcasters receiving the Ford C. Frick Award -- Al Michaels (the ’21 winner), and Ken Harrelson (’20).
The two winners of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award will also be honored: the late Nick Cafardo ('20) and Dick Kaegel (’21), as well as the 2020 Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award winner, David Montgomery.