Blue Jays: Will any former Jays ever be elected to the Hall of Fame?

5 Jul 1998: Pitcher Roger Clemens #21 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with teammates during a game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at the Sky Dome in Toronto, Canada. The Blue Jays defeated the Devil Rays 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsp
5 Jul 1998: Pitcher Roger Clemens #21 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates with teammates during a game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at the Sky Dome in Toronto, Canada. The Blue Jays defeated the Devil Rays 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart /Allsp /
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The Hall of Fame results are in, and anyone with ties to the Blue Jays fell short this year. Who are they, and will any of them eventually be enshrined?

The Hall of Fame season was a bittersweet one for Blue Jays fans in 2019, as the late Roy Halladay was inducted on his first year on the ballot. It was a true shame that he couldn’t be there to enjoy the moment for himself, but it was a wonderful celebration for Blue Jays fans, and it was great to see his family honoured.

Looking forward, it’s hard to say when the next former Blue Jay could follow Halladay’s footsteps into the Hall of Fame, and this year’s ballot featured four players who once played in Toronto. With just Derek Jeter and Larry Walker being elected this year, none of those former Jays made it this time around, and it’s hard to say whether any of them ever will.

The list is headlined by Roger Clemens, one of the greatest pitchers Major League Baseball has ever seen. In his 8th year on the ballot, Clemens received 61% of the vote and finished fourth behind Jeter (99.7%), Walker (76.6%), and Curt Schilling, the latter of whom just missed the required mark of 75% as well. For Clemens, it’s not a question of whether or not his performance is worthy, as he’s one of the greatest of all-time in several pitching categories. For “The Rocket”, it’s all about his use of performance enhancing drugs in the latter stages of his career, something that has held many voters back from giving him their support. Clemens pitched for the Blue Jays for two seasons in 1997-98, winning the Cy Young in both seasons while in Toronto.

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As far as former Blue Jays go, the next on the list would be Omar Vizquel, who came in with 52.6% of the vote on his third year on the ballot. While he finished behind Clemens in the voting this year, he’s actually trending very well so far, and with seven more tries of eligibility, he actually has a better chance of gaining induction than Clemens. He played the final season of his 24-year career with the Blue Jays in 2012, and was pretty hard not to like at 45 years old.

The next former Blue Jay on the list was actually the player with the next highest voting percentage as well, and his name is Scott Rolen. The eight-time Gold Glove award winner wasn’t all that close to gaining induction, receiving just 35.3% of the vote in his third go around as well. That’s a small increase from last year, but he’ll need to start gaining momentum over the next few years in order to have a serious shot. Rolen was in Toronto for the 2018 season, and part of the 2019 campaign before he was eventually traded to Cincinnati, in the deal that brought Edwin Encarnacion to Toronto as well.

Last but not least, Jeff Kent was on the ballot for the seventh time, and received just 27.5% of the vote. Although he has some of the better offensive stats as a second baseman in MLB history, his candidacy hasn’t gained much momentum. He’ll have three more tries to reach that 75% mark, but unless something drastically changes I suspect that’ll never happen. Kent’s Blue Jay career was very short, as he played in 65 games with the team as a rookie in 1992 before being traded to the New York Mets as part of the package that brought back David Cone. That one stings a little with how good Kent went on to become, but the Blue Jays also managed to win a World Series that year, so the trade off was well worth it.

If I’m going to make predictions about the entire group, my guess is that Vizquel is the only one who will be elected to the Hall of Fame. I think it’ll take a while before he creeps up to 75% of the vote, and it might even take until his 9th or 10th try, but I think he’ll get there. I don’t believe the same will happen for Clemens, but I’d also venture to guess that he’ll be elected someday, it just may have to come by way of the veteran’s committee.

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Of course, those are just my predictions. How do you see it playing out?

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