What about the three players on the Hall of Fame ballot who could impact Todd Helton’s voting totals?
The Barry Bonds-Roger Clemens-Curt Schilling trio is now going into their final year on the ballot. We’re going to finally see if voters pushing these three to their final ballot year was just punishment for their PED use (Bonds/Clemens) and their controversial behavior (Schilling, and Bonds/Clemens to an extent). Bonds and Clemens each were on just over 61% of ballots last year. Schilling was on 71% of ballots.
I’d expect that, at the very least, Schilling gets in this year and I won’t be shocked if all three get in. The 10th year boost is real. Just ask The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla about it (who adamantly said Larry Walker would never make the Hall of Fame and didn’t vote for Walker on any of his ballots until 2019, Walker’s 10th year and final year on the ballot).
The voters are going to have to ask themselves if one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen, one of the greatest pitchers the game has ever seen and an incredibly good starting pitcher with three World Series championships (and a World Series MVP) are honestly not worthy of the Hall of Fame. My gut says this was just punishment and all three will now make it on enough ballots that they weren’t previously on and will get into the Hall of Fame this year.
With all that said, I’m not anticipating much improvement for Helton this year. For voters who hadn’t voted for Bonds, Clemens and Schilling in prior years, I see the potential for all three of these players, and Ortiz, to garner votes. That’s four players taking up spots that Helton could potentially take. In addition to just taking up spots, this could also open up the door for some voters to temporarily drop Helton from their ballot to make room for Clemens/Bonds/Schilling, especially if a voter is trying to get all three in.
In a perfect world, I’d love to see Helton eclipse the 50% mark. But, given the new additions and the controversial trio being on their final year, I don’t think he’ll break it this year. In 2022 he should see a much larger jump and be well on his way to getting elected into the Hall of Fame, but for this year as long has he stays around the 45%-50% mark then he’ll still be set up for progress in future years.