The voters have spoken, and after falling short of election to the Baseball Hall of Fame for the past 10 years, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will be removed from the ballot.
Despite receiving their highest percentage of yes votes this year, Bonds (66%) and Clemens (65.2%) still failed to reach the 75% mark required for induction.
Clemens took the disappointment in stride Tuesday night, sending out a statement on social media. “My family and I put the HOF in the rear view mirror ten years ago. I didn’t play baseball to get into the HOF. I played to make a generational difference in the lives of my family,” he wrote.
But just because they were denied by the Baseball Writers Association of America doesn’t mean Clemens and Bonds can’t still find a way to get into Cooperstown.
There’s still another pathway to the Hall — and the next step begins even before the writers have to submit their ballots for the Class of 2023.
The Hall of Fame’s Today’s Game Committee will meet later this year to consider players, managers, umpires and executives whose greatest contributions to the game were from 1988 to 2016. And that time frame is exactly when both Bonds and Clemens established themselves as two of the greatest players not only of their era, but in all of baseball history.
The Hall has several Era Committees (the Early Baseball Era Committee elected Bud Fowler and Buck O’Neil to this year’s Hall class and the Golden Days Era Committee voted in Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso and Tony Oliva) and the Today’s Game Committee will vote on a list of 10 finalists in December.
Bonds and Clemens are very likely to be among the candidates on that list.
The standard will remain the same. They’ll still need support from 75% of the electorate. And if they don’t make it, the committee can meet twice over a span of five years.
The debate over these two players, whose legacies are now seemingly intertwined, could continue for years — possibly even decades.
Follow Gardner on Twitter @SteveAGardner