The National Baseball Hall of Fame this morning announced the eight players who’ll be considered for induction by the Era Committee, formerly known as the Veteran’s Committee. Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Albert Belle, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy and Rafael Palmeiro will each be under consideration. Any player who receives votes from 12 members of the 16-person panel will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, along with anyone selected by 75% of the voters on the Baseball Writers Association of America ballot.
Bonds, Clemens and Schilling are the most notable and long-discussed of the group. All three fell off the writers’ ballot last winter after failing to reach 75% of the vote for a 10th consecutive year, thereby exhausting their eligibility. They’ll immediately garner renewed consideration, this time from the Era Committee after their progress on the writers’ ballot stalled — or in Schilling’s case, dropped after he attempted to remove himself from the ballot as his support dwindled following a number of controversial public statements — towards the end of their time under consideration.
Clemens and Bonds, of course, have slam-dunk Hall of Fame statistics but were left outside the Hall due to their ties to performance-enhancing drugs. Both were named as alleged steroid users in the 2007 Mitchell Report. Palmeiro’s HOF candidacy was also derailed by PED ties, in his case a 2005 suspension for a failed test that came a few months after he denied ever taking steroids during Congressional testimony the preceding spring. Palmeiro spent four seasons on the writers’ ballot but fell off in 2014 after receiving less than the 5% of the vote needed to remain under consideration.
Belle lasted two seasons on the writers’ ballot, falling below the 5% threshold in 2007. Mattingly, McGriff and Murphy all spent the maximum allotted time under consideration by the BBWAA but never crossed the necessary 75% threshold. Mattingly’s vote share peaked at 28.2% in his first year on the ballot. Murphy topped out at 23.2%, while McGriff’s vote share hit its apex at 39.8% during his final year in 2019.
The Era Committee’s purpose is to induct players who may have slipped through the cracks on the BBWAA ballot. It has historically cast a wider net for induction than has the Writers Association. This year’s crop of players are part of the “Contemporary Baseball Era,” which considers players whose primary contributions to the sport have come since 1980. Voting will be conducted on December 4.