Last week, the results from the Baseball Writer’s Association of America were released and they voted David Oritz into the Baseball Hall of Fame, with players like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and Curt Schilling falling off the ballot. The Toronto Blue Jays had five former players on the ballot this year:
- Roger Clemens (65.2%; 10th year)
- Scott Rolen (63.2%; 5th year)
- Omar Vizquel (23.9%; 5th year)
- Jeff Kent (32.7%; 9th year)
- Mark Buehrle (5.8%; 2nd year)
Ortiz will not be going into Cooperstown alone, as Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Bud Fowler, Gil Hodges, Minnie Minoso, and Buck O’Neill, who were all voted in by the Golden Era and Early Baseball Era committees earlier this offseason, will be inducted as well. The ceremony is currently scheduled to take place on July 24th later this summer.
All five former Blue Jays will be on the ballot next season, as they all made it above the minimum five percent threshold needed to remain for consideration. Vizquel saw a pretty large drop due to recent allegations and off-the-field issues while Rolen stands a good chance of making the Hall of Fame next year when numerous PED users are off the ballot. Kent enters his last season of eligibility and will need to make up some ground quickly if he wants to enter Cooperstown while Buehrle still has quite a climb ahead of him after just making it past the threshold.
Looking forward to the 2023 ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame, there are a few more former Blue Jays who will be eligible to be on the ballot. There is no guarantee that they will be on the ballot and must meet the criteria set by the BBWAA.
Next year’s class is weaker in comparison than the 2022 class but comes with a lot less scrutiny when it comes to players tied to PEDs with Clemens, Sosa, and Bonds no longer eligible via the BBWAA voting process (all three can still make it through the ERA committee voting, which takes place later this year for Today’s Game eligible candidates).
Using sites like Baseball Reference, let’s take an in-depth look at former Blue Jays who could potentially find themselves on the HOF ballot next year in their first year of eligibility.