Fred McGriff, elected new immortal Cooperstown

SAN DIEGO — Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling were passed over by a Baseball Hall of Fame committee, which selected former major league slugger Fred McGriff to Cooperstown on Sunday.

It was the first time that Bonds, Clemens and Schilling had faced a Hall committee since their tenth and final appearance on the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot. Bonds and Clemens have been accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, and support for Schilling dwindled after he made hateful comments toward Muslims, transgender people, journalists and others.

Nicknamed the “crime dog,” McGriff hit .284 with 493 home runs and 1,550 RBIs over 19 seasons with six major league teams. The first baseman was a five-time All-Star and helped the Atlanta Braves win the 1995 World Series.

McGriff, 59, received the unanimous support of the 16-member Contemporary Baseball Era committee, made up of Hall members, executives and writers. The group included Greg Maddux, who played with McGriff on the Braves, along with Paul Beeston, who was a Toronto Blue Jays executive when McGriff made his major league debut with the Blue Jays in 1986.

Another ex-Brave, Chipper Jones, was expected to serve on the committee, but he fell ill and was replaced by Arizona Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall.

McGriff polled 169 votes (39.8%) in his senior year on the BBWAA ballot in 2019. He will now be listed in Cooperstown on July 23, along with anyone chosen on the writers’ ballot, announced on January 24 .

The contemporary era committee considers candidates whose careers were primarily from the 1980s. A player needs 75% to be elected.

Hall of Famers Jack Morris, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell were also part of this year’s panel, which met in San Diego at baseball’s winter meetings.

Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Belle, Don Mattingly and Dale Murphy completed the eight-candidate ballot.

Mattingly was the next closest to election, with eight votes out of 12 required. Schilling was seven and Murphy was six. No one else had more than three.

Bonds, Clemens and Schilling came up short in January in their last chances with the BBWAA. Bonds received 260 of 394 votes (66%), Clemens 257 (65.2%), and Schilling 231 (58.6%).

Palmeiro was removed from the BBWAA ballot after receiving 25 votes (4.4%) in his fourth appearance in 2014, falling below the 5% minimum needed to remain. His maximum was 72 votes (12.6%) in 2012.

Bonds has denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs, and Clemens maintains that he never used PEDs. Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days in August 2005 after testing positive under Major League Baseball’s drug program.

Bonds, a seven-time National League MVP, set a career home run record of 762 and a season high of 73 in 2001. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, went 354-184 with 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts, third behind Nolan. Ryan (5,714) and Randy Johnson (4,875). Palmeiro had 3,020 hits and 568 home runs.

Schilling fell 16 votes behind at 285 (71.1%) on the 2021 BBWAA ballot. The right-hander went 216-146 with a 3.46 ERA in 20 seasons, winning the World Series with Arizona in 2001 and Boston in 2004 and 2007.

Theo Epstein, who also served on the contemporary-era committee, was the general manager in Boston when the Red Sox acquired Schilling in a trade with the Diamondbacks in November 2003.

Players on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list cannot be considered, a rule that excludes Pete Rose.

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Fred McGriff, elected new immortal Cooperstown