The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced the results for the Contemporary Baseball Era Players Committee's voting as part of the Hall of Fame Class of 2023.
Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro and Curt Schilling make up the Contemporary Baseball Era ballot, which features candidates whose primary contribution to the game came in 1980 or later.
Candidates need to receive votes on 75% of the ballots cast by the committee to earn election. Here’s a look at the eight players up for consideration:
Albert Belle, OF
Though he’s perhaps best remembered for his fiery personality and controversial behavior, Belle was also a top-flight slugger, producing 381 homers, 1,239 RBIs and a .295/.369/.564 (144 OPS+) slash over 12 seasons before his career was cut short due to a hip injury. With Cleveland in 1995, Belle became the first player in AL/NL history to record 50-plus homers and 50-plus doubles in a single season, garnering a second-place finish in the AL MVP race -- part of a stretch of three straight top-three finishes. Belle left Cleveland to sign a free-agent contract with the White Sox, becoming the first MLB player to earn at least $10 million in a season.
Barry Bonds, OF
Bonds’ association with performance-enhancing drugs kept him from being elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, but from a statistical perspective, the 14-time All-Star has very few peers. A career .298/.444/.607 hitter (182 OPS+), Bonds ranks first in homers (762), walks (2,558) and MVP Awards won (seven). He also stole 514 bases, making him the only member of the 400-400 and 500-500 clubs. Bonds earned four straight NL MVPs from 2001-04, setting a single-season record with 73 homers the first year in that span and posting a collective 1.368 OPS. He finished his career with 162.8 wins above replacement, which places him fourth all time behind Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson and Cy Young, according to Baseball-Reference.
Roger Clemens, RHP
Another player whose ties to PEDs prevented his election by the BBWAA, Clemens went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts -- third most all time behind Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson -- over 24 seasons for the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees and Astros. The overpowering righty won a record seven Cy Young Awards, the first and the last coming nearly two decades apart, a testament to his longevity. Clemens also won the AL MVP Award in 1986, and he’s the only pitcher to strike out 20 batters in an outing on multiple occasions.
Don Mattingly, 1B
Mattingly was slowed by a back injury in the latter half of his career, but from 1984-89, there were few better at the plate than Donnie Baseball. Mattingly hit .327 with 160 homers, 257 doubles, 684 RBIs and a .902 OPS in that span, winning the AL MVP Award in 1985. Also a premier defender, he won nine Gold Glove Awards at first base. Named the 14th captain in Yankees history in 1991, Mattingly was mired on non-contending clubs for much of his career, but he reached the postseason for the first time in his final season (1995) and hit .417 with a homer and six RBIs over five games before calling it a career. He later went into managing, spending five years at the helm with the Dodgers and seven with the Marlins.
Fred McGriff, 1B
A consistent power threat during his 19-year career, McGriff reached the 30-homer plateau in 10 seasons and had 100-plus RBIs eight times. Involved in several high-profile trades, McGriff suited up for six teams and had at least one 30-homer season for five of them. Three of the first baseman’s five All-Star selections came as a member of the Braves, with whom he also won a World Series ring in 1995. He fell just seven homers shy of the storied 500 mark and 10 hits short of 2,500 while batting .284 with an .886 OPS.
Dale Murphy, OF
Murphy’s run as an elite player didn’t last long, but the outfielder was one of the best in the game at his peak with the Braves. From 1980-87, Murphy made seven All-Star teams, won five Gold Glove Awards and ranked second behind Mike Schmidt in homers. Murphy was named NL MVP in both 1982 and '83, becoming the ninth player all time to win MVP honors in back-to-back seasons, and he followed that up by leading the NL in home runs in 1984 and '85.
Rafael Palmeiro, 1B
Like Bonds and Clemens, Palmeiro saw his Hall of Fame candidacy hurt by his association with performance-enhancing drugs, falling off the BBWAA ballot after just four chances. The slugger was suspended 10 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance in 2005, after which he played just seven more games in the Majors. If Palmeiro were judged solely by the numbers, he’d have a clear case for Cooperstown, as he’s one of only seven players to join both the 3,000-hit and 500-homer clubs. The four-time All-Star finished with 569 homers, hitting 37 or more in 10 seasons, and 1,835 RBIs.
Curt Schilling, RHP
Yet another player whose Hall of Fame candidacy has been marred by controversy, the outspoken Schilling put together an impressive on-field resume during his 20-year career. The right-hander had a knack for coming up big in the playoffs, going 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA over 19 postseason starts and winning three World Series rings -- one with the D-backs in 2001 and two with the Red Sox (2004, '07) -- along the way. After being named co-MVP of the 2001 World Series, Schilling pitched through a severe ankle injury -- famously bleeding through his sock -- to help the Red Sox end an 86-year title drought in 2004. Schilling is also a member of the 3,000-strikeout club, and he recorded a 3.46 ERA (127 ERA+) over 3,261 career innings in the regular season. However, he fell off the BBWAA ballot after 15 years amid controversy surrounding his social media conduct and political views.