Clemens, Schilling make progress in HOF bids
Former star pitchers gain percentage points, but fall short of entry
BOSTON -- Roger Clemens, who won the first three of his MLB-record seven Cy Young Awards for the Red Sox, made incremental progress in this year's Hall of Fame voting, which was announced Wednesday night.
The Rocket received 242 votes, which meant he was listed on 57.3 percent of the ballots cast by BBWAA members. A player needs 75 percent of the votes to gain entry to the Hall of Fame. Last year, Clemens was on 54.1 percent of the ballots.
Curt Schilling, another pitcher who thrived in Boston, received 216 votes for 51.2 percent. That was a bump up from the 45.2 percent the big righty received a year ago.
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Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome and Trevor Hoffman, four players Clemens and Schilling competed against in their careers, are the four new Hall of Famers, each receiving more than 75 percent of the votes.
Manny Ramirez, who formed a dynamic and dominant slugging duo with David Ortiz on the 2004 and '07 Red Sox teams that won World Series championships, received 22 percent of the votes in his second year on the ballot. That was a slight dip from the 23.8 percent the right-handed hitter received last year.
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Another player from the beloved 2004 Red Sox, center fielder Johnny Damon, was knocked off the ballot in his first year, receiving eight votes (1.9 percent).
With Ortiz not eligible for the ballot until 2022, Clemens and Schilling are the players with Red Sox ties to keep an eye on in their quest to reach Cooperstown.
Clemens and Schilling both debuted on the ballot in 2013, and have four more chances to get elected via the Baseball Writers' Association of America voting process.
Clemens received the seventh-highest voting total on this year's ballot, and Schilling was ninth.
Dubbed the "Rocket Man" by teammate Bruce Hurst early in his time with the Red Sox, Clemens went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts over his career. Clemens set a Major League record of 20 strikeouts while pitching for the Red Sox against Seattle on April 29, 1986, then tied his own record a decade later at Tiger Stadium in what wound up as his final win for Boston.
Clemens has all the statistical credentials to be in the Hall of Fame. However, like many players of his era, his candidacy has been hurt by allegations that he used performance-enhancing drugs.
Ramirez was suspended twice for failing PED tests, which explains why a hitter with such impressive statistics (slash line of .312/.411/.585 with 555 homers and 1,831 RBIs) didn't come close to gaining election again this year.
If you want the definition of a big-game pitcher, look no further than Schilling. His postseason numbers (11-2, 2.23 ERA in 19 starts) could one day turn his bubble candidacy into an election into the Hall of Fame.
Schilling also did plenty of impressive things in the regular season, going 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA and 3,116 strikeouts. He spent the final four seasons of his career (2004-07) with the Red Sox.