Hall of Fame: Gary Sheffield sees huge jump in support

For the first time since 1960, no one will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) decided that not one of the 25 eligible players, including 14 holdovers from 2020 and 11 new players were worthy of Cooperstown. Still, Padres fans got a pleasant surprise with the vote total for Gary Sheffield.

In his sixth year on the Hall of Fame ballot, Sheffield, a nine-time All-Star garnered 40.6 percent of the vote. Now, that’s still a far cry from the 75 percent needed for induction, but it marked a 10.1 percent increase from his 2020 total – a notable increase with four years left on the ballot.

Sheffield, spent a year-plus with the team in the early 90s, very narrowly missing out on the Triple Crown in 1993. To this day, he’s the only Padres player not named Tony Gwynn to win a batting title. He finished his career with 509 home runs, which currently ranks 26th all-time.

There was a lot of this type of jumps down the ballot. Longtime Braves outfielder Andruw Jones went from 19.4 to 33.9 percent, Todd Helton jumped from 29.2 to 44.9 percent and Billy Wagner spiked to 46.4 percent after getting just 31.7 percent last time around.

Now, it remains to be seen if these guys wind up entering baseball immortality in the years to come – but it bodes well for their chances, especially with several notable names dropping off the ballot after the 2022 vote, including Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling – who, after missing out on enshrinement with 71.1 percent of the vote this year, asked the BBWAA to remove him from next year’s ballot altogether.

PED allegations likely to keep Gary Sheffield out of the Hall of Fame

Of course, PED allegations swirled around Sheffield, Bonds, Clemens and an array of other iconic players from that era. To this point, voters have drawn the line at the door to Cooperstown for these guys and it seems unlikely that will change anytime soon. Guys like Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa failed to even crack 30 percent on this year’s vote.

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I have trouble seeing Sheffield ever get into the Hall of Fame – simply for the reason I just eluded to. Perhaps if that seal is broken one day, we’ll see the Veteran’s Committee take another look at their cases, but the stain of PED has proven to be damning, despite what guys like Sheffield did on the field during their careers.