After successive years that saw Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the eligible voters of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America pitched a shutout with their Class of 2021 on Tuesday, leaving former Yankees like Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Gary Sheffield on the outside looking in.
No candidate’s name appeared on the 75 percent of ballots required to pass through the Hall’s storied doors, the ninth time in history that has occurred and the first since 2013. The Hall of Fame is planning to honor its Class of 2020 this summer, feting Jeter, Marvin Miller, Ted Simmons and Larry Walker on July 25 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
With 401 ballots cast, candidates needed to receive 301 votes for enshrinement. Curt Schilling (71.1 percent) was the closest, falling 16 votes shy.
Clemens (61.6 percent) received 247 votes in his ninth year on the BBWAA ballot, a slight move up from 2020, when he received 61 percent of the vote. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner pitched to a career record of 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA, tallying 4,672 strikeouts, third all-time behind Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson.
One of the most dominant pitchers of his era, Clemens’ candidacy was damaged by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use, including by the 2007 Mitchell Report. Clemens pitched for the Yankees from 1999-2003, then he returned to The Bronx for a half-season in ’07. Next year will be Clemens’ final on the BBWAA ballot.
Sheffield (40.6 percent) garnered 163 votes, continuing to trend north after receiving 30.5 percent of the vote in 2020. A nine-time All-Star and five-time Silver Slugger, Sheffield batted .292/.393/.514 with 509 home runs and 1,676 RBIs over 22 big league seasons, including three years with the Yankees from 2004-06. This was Sheffield’s seventh year on the ballot.
Pettitte (13.7 percent) was named on 55 ballots, a small gain after he received 11.3 percent of the vote in 2020. Pettitte pitched to a 256-153 record with a 3.85 ERA over 18 seasons, 15 with the Yankees from 1995-2003, 2007-10 and 2012-13. A three-time All-Star, Pettitte holds Major League records for postseason victories (19), innings (276 2/3) and starts (44). Pettitte also was linked to PEDs in the 2007 Mitchell Report.
Other eligible players with Yankees ties included Andruw Jones, who finished his career with the Yankees in 2011-12. Jones received 136 votes (33.9 percent), up from the 19.4 percent he received last year. Bobby Abreu, who played three of his 18 seasons in New York from 2006-08, received 8.7 percent of the vote in his second year on ballot.
Former Yankees LaTroy Hawkins, A.J. Burnett and Nick Swisher did not receive the required 5 percent of the vote to remain on the ballot.