Blue Jays: Former pitchers find themselves off the Hall of Fame Ballot
Former Blue Jays pitchers A.J. Burnett and LaTroy Hawkins find themselves off the Hall of Fame track just as quickly as they got on the 2021 ballot.
The Cooperstown Hall of Fame voting results were revealed yesterday night, with the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) voting nobody into the hallowed hall in the 2021 class, with 14 of the 401 ballots coming in completely blank.
Curt Schilling was the closest to reach the 75% minimum, reeling in 71.1% of the votes and coming up just 16 votes short. The next closest players were Barry Bonds (61.8%), former Blue Jays pitcher Roger Clemens (61.6%), and former Blue Jays infielder Scott Rolen (52.9%), with Bonds and Clemens still having difficulty reaching Cooperstown due to their alleged steroid/performance-enhancing drug use. Other former Blue Jays on the list include Omar Vizquel (49.1%), Jeff Kent (32.4%), and Mark Buerhle (11%), all of whom will be on the ballot for next year.
While some players are going to be on the ballot again next time, there are two former Blue Jays who are no longer eligible via the BBWAA voting method.
A.J. Burnett was drafted by the New York Mets in the 8th round of the 1995 amateur draft and would make his debut in 1999 with the Florida Marlins. A starting pitcher his whole career, Burnett would find himself signing a 5 year, $55 million dollar contract with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2006 and would pitch to a 3.94 ERA while compiling a 38-26 record, 1.284 WHIP, and 525 strikeouts over 522.2 innings pitched.
Burnett would prove to be a solid arm behind ace Roy Halladay, and went on to opt-out of his Blue Jays contract in the 2008/2009 off-season and sign with the New York Yankees. He would pitch in New York before short stints with the Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates (X2) before retiring in 2015. He finished his career with one All-Star appearance.
Acquired from the Colorado Rockies in the Troy Tulowitzki trade, reliever LaTroy Hawkins would spend just half a season with the Blue Jays in 2015. He pitched in just 18 games for the Blue Jays and would craft a 2.76 ERA, 1.531 WHIP, and 14 strikeouts and would eventually be added to the postseason roster. Unfortunately he pitched terribly in the playoffs, throwing to a 27.00 ERA and giving up three hits in just 0.2 innings of work during the division series before going on to craft a lofty 45.00 ERA and five earned runs in 1.0 innings pitched over two appearances during the ALCS.
The 2015 season would be his last in the MLB, as Hawkins told the media at the beginning of the season that this would be the final one of his storied career. He would pitch for 11 different teams over his 21 years in the MLB, most notably with the Minnesota Twins.
While both Burnett and Hawkins were good enough to find themselves on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2021, Burnett would receive no votes and Hawkins finished with just 0.5%, falling quite short of the 5% minimum. They can now no longer make the Hall of Fame unless voted through by the veteran’s committee.