Notes on Hall of Fame ballot, Hays' recovery and Jones' passing

Thirteen new candidates appear on this year's Hall of Fame ballot, which was released yesterday, but none have ties to the Orioles.

Unless, of course, you want to count how fans assumed that Severna Park resident and Mount St. Joseph graduate Mark Teixeira would sign with the Orioles the minute after he became a free agent.

Other newbies are infielders Álex Rodríguez, Justin Morneau, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, and Prince Fielder; pitchers Tim Lincecum, Jake Peavy, Joe Nathan and Jonathan Papelbon catcher A.J. Pierzynski; outfielder Carl Crawford; and first baseman/designated hitter David Ortiz.

Ortiz once smashed a dugout phone at Camden Yards, but that's also a reach.

Manny Ramírez, a holdover from the 2021 ballot, hit his 500th home run on May 31, 2008 at Camden Yards. Couldn't count him, either.

Pitcher Curt Schilling and outfielder Sammy Sosa are the only candidates who played for the Orioles. This is the final year of eligibility for Schilling, Sosa, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.

Anyone who receives votes on at least 75 percent of ballots cast by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday, July 24, 2022, in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Schilling fell 16 votes short last year, with a total of 285 votes representing 71.1 percent of the electorate. The only other players who received more than 50 percent were Bonds (61.8), Clemens (61.6) and third baseman Scott Rolen (52.9).

Players may remain on the ballot for up to 10 years if they receive at least five percent of the votes.

Other holdovers from 2021 besides Schilling, Sosa, Bonds, Clemens, Ramirez are Rolen are pitchers Mark Buehrle, Tim Hudson, Andy Pettitte and Billy Wagner; first baseman Todd Helton; second baseman Jeff Kent; shortstop Omar Vizquel; and outfielders Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, Andruw Jones and Gary Sheffield.

Results will be announced Jan. 25 at 6 p.m. on MLB Network.

Has there ever been a more controversial ballot?

It's stacked and clouded by the stench of steroid use and accusations.

Voters already must weigh the PED histories with Bonds, Clemens, Sosa and Ramírez, and accept the abuse that comes from their inclusion or exclusion. Arguments come strong from both sides. Either don't let in the cheaters or stop playing judge and jury and just put in the best players.

Now Rodríguez and Ortiz enter the polarizing debate about how voters should handle players with connections to PED use.

Schilling has his own detractors and they're growing within the media based on his political views and controversial tweets that include supporting the lynching of journalists.

That's one way to impact your vote total.

Schilling stated that he wanted to be removed from the ballot, but the Hall denied his request.

It figures to happen naturally next month.

Hays-Swings-White-Sidebar.jpg* Outfielder Austin Hays tweeted an update yesterday on his recovery from a medical procedure that the Orioles revealed last week.

"Had a successful core surgery October 5th glad the pain is gone and rehab has gone well time to ramp up and get right #differentroundhere"

A team spokesman stated on Nov. 15 that Hays and infielder Ramón Urías, who also underwent a core procedure, were completing all milestones and participating in post-op rehab, with normal offseason hitting work only a few weeks away. Both players are on track to be full participants in spring training.

* Former reliever Doug Jones, who saved 22 games for the Orioles in 1995, died yesterday due to COVID-19 complications. He was 64.

Jones was a five-time All-Star whose below-average velocity was offset by a masterful changeup that helped him record 303 saves in 16 seasons. His 129 saves with the Indians rank third in club history.

The Orioles signed Jones as a free agent to a $1 million contract that included $300,000 in potential performance bonuses and $300,000 in possible award earnings. The deal also contained an option for 1996, but Jones re-entered the market and signed with the Cubs.

Jones went 0-4 with a 5.01 ERA and 1.521 WHIP in 52 appearances with the Orioles.

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