MLB Hall of Fame: Breaking down the 2021 ballot

BOSTON - OCTOBER 24: Pitcher Curt Schilling of the Boston Red Sox pitches during game two of the 2004 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park on October 24, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox defeated the Cardinals 6-2. (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
BOSTON - OCTOBER 24: Pitcher Curt Schilling of the Boston Red Sox pitches during game two of the 2004 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park on October 24, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox defeated the Cardinals 6-2. (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images) /

Two players considered the poster children of the PED Era highlight these candidates for the MLB Hall of Fame.

Bobby Abreu – second year on ballot

Bobby Abreu was the only holdover amongst the first time candidates last year, barely staying on the ballot with 5.5% of the vote. He was a solid player, producing a .291/.395/.475 batting line with 288 homers and 400 steals. However, his production was overlooked during the PED Era, as Abreu was only a two time All Star. His career continues to be overlooked, as his candidacy does not appear to be getting any traction. Abreu may be lucky to get a third year on the ballot.

Barry Bonds – ninth year on ballot

Normally, Barry Bonds would have been a first ballot inductee into the MLB Hall of Fame. He is the all time and single season home run king, one of eight players in the 300-300 club, and the only player in MLB history to join the 400-400 and 500-500 clubs. A 14 time All Star, seven time MVP, and eight time Gold Glove winner, he posted a career .298/.444/.607 batting line with 762 homers and 514 steals. However, PED allegations have ruined his chances, as his 60.7% of the vote in 2020 is his high water mark. Bonds will probably get in, but it may have to wait until next year.

Mark Buehrle – first year on ballot

Mark Buehrle has one of the more compelling cases amongst first timers on the ballot. He was a steady innings eater, missing 15 consecutive years with 200 or more innings pitched by just four outs in his final season. Along the way, he complied a 214-160 record with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.281 WHiP, striking out 1870 batters with 734 walks over his 3283.1 innings. Buehrle threw two no hitters, including a perfect game, and was part of the White Sox championship team in 2005. A five time All Star and four time Gold Glove winner, Buehrle was a solid pitcher, but may not reach the 5.0% threshold.

A.J. Burnett – first year on ballot

Once one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, A.J. Burnett never quite lived up to the hype. He had a solid career, posting a 164-157 record, along with a 3.99 ERA and a 1.325 WHiP, striking out 2513 batters with 1100 walks over his 2731.1 innings. He threw a no hitter in 2009, and made the All Star Game in his final season. That, along with appearing on a Hall of Fame ballot once, are the highlights of his career.

Roger Clemens – ninth year on ballot

Much like Bonds, Roger Clemens is a poster child for the PED Era. His career was seemingly over before he found the Fountain of Youth in Toronto, becoming one of the greatest pitchers of all time. An 11 time All Star, Clemens won seven Cy Young awards, was the 1986 AL MVP, and won the pitching Triple Crown twice. He finished his career with a 354-184 record, along with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.173 WHiP, striking out 4672 batters with 1580 walks in his 4916.2 innings. Chances are, like Bonds, Clemens will not be induced this year, but will find his way to Cooperstown in his final year on the ballot in 2022.