Clemens, Schilling must find new road to Hall

January 26th, 2022

While it was a great Tuesday night for legendary slugger David Ortiz, who was elected to the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, the news was not as good for other former Red Sox greats.

The controversial Hall of Fame candidacies of former Red Sox aces Curt Schilling and Roger Clemens will now be moved to the Era Committees, which could put them in the mix for getting elected as soon as December.

This was the 10th and final time on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot for the two hard-throwing righties.

Schilling, who undoubtedly hurt his candidacy by sharing controversial views on social media, received 285 votes a year ago, leaving him just 16 votes and four percentage points shy of election. He then did himself no favors when he asked to be taken off the 2022 ballot.

The Hall of Fame’s board directors rejected that request, but Schilling’s total dipped significantly in his last year on the BBWAA ballot.

This time, Schilling received 231 votes for 58.6 percent. A candidate needs 75 percent of the votes to gain entry on the BBWAA ballot.

As a sign of his respect for Ortiz, Schilling used Twitter this time as a vehicle to praise his former teammate, saying "Every year the conversation revolves around who didn’t get in. Like all star voting, who got cheated. I say it every year and especially this year, focus on who did get in. @davidortiz deserved a 1st ballot induction! Congratulations my friend you earned it! #bigpapiHoF"

Clemens received 257 votes and was on 65.2 percent of the ballots this year, earning his highest total in his decade of eligibility.

Formerly known as the Veterans Committee, the Era Committees vote each year for players from different eras. The era that is up for vote in December is “Today’s Game,” which is composed of players from 1988 to the present.

Manny Ramirez, who teamed with Ortiz to form one of the most productive middle-of-the-order batting duos of all time for the Red Sox or any team, again fell well short of election in his sixth year on the ballot, receiving 28.9 percent of votes. The right-handed-hitting masher with a graceful swing tested positive for PEDs twice during the latter stages of his career.

“Not seeing him in the Hall of Fame right now is something that really hurt me,” said Ortiz. “And it hurts him because he knows that he made mistakes that he shouldn’t. He’s always going to be a big brother to me and I’m always going to thank him for being there for me.”

Ortiz says he was able to take his game to the next level when he got to Boston in part because of hitting lessons from Ramirez.

“Manny was the type of professor that, he didn’t used to say much,” said Ortiz. “All you had to was focus on his work ethic back then and you learn. And that’s what I did when I got to Boston.”

Beloved for his quirkiness -- remember when Ramirez cut off a throw from fellow outfielder Johnny Damon? -- Ramirez put up consistently great numbers in his career (.312/.411/.585 slash line with 555 homers and a .996 OPS) and played in the World Series four times, losing twice with Cleveland and winning twice with the Red Sox.

This was the first and only year on the ballot for all-time Red Sox saves leader Jonathan Papelbon, who received five votes. A player needs at least five percent of the vote to remain on the ballot for another year.

While Schilling had an excellent career that made him a candidate for Cooperstown, though not a slam dunk, Clemens put up numbers (354 wins, 3.12 ERA, 4,672 K’s, seven Cy Young Awards), that would have made him an automatic entrant if not for allegations that he used PEDs.

Clemens never tested positive for banned substances, but he was named numerous times as a suspected user of them in the extensive 2007 Mitchell Report.

Schilling -- the former Phillies, D-backs and Red Sox star -- finished his 20-year career with strong statistical credentials, including 3,116 strikeouts and a 2.23 ERA in postseason play as a major contributor to three World Series championship titles.

Schilling made five starts in his career in which a loss would have meant elimination for his team. His team went 5-0 in those games.

One of the best big-game pitchers in history (11-2, 2.23 ERA in 19 postseason starts), Schilling is best known in Red Sox Nation for his heroics in the 2004 postseason, when he had a torn tendon sheath on his right ankle sutured back into place so he could keep pitching.

With blood seeping into his right sock, Schilling found a way to beat the Yankees in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series and a loaded St. Louis lineup in Game 2 of the World Series.

In the final start of Schilling’s career, Game 2 of the 2007 World Series, he downed the Rockies despite his velocity dipping to the mid- to high 80s.

Clemens pitched the first 13 of his 24 seasons for the Red Sox, setting the MLB strikeout record in a start with 20 against the Mariners on April 29, 1986.

In his final win for the Red Sox, 10 years later against the Tigers, Clemens tied his own record.

He is tied with Cy Young for Boston’s franchise record in wins (192) and shutouts (38).