DETROIT — Derek Jeter’s election to the Hall of Fame marked the seventh straight year with at least one first-ballot honoree.
That streak is probably over in 2021.

Tim Hudson, Torii Hunter and Mark Buehrle are among the newcomers expected on the next ballot, and although those three accomplished plenty as major leaguers, they seem unlikely to sail straight into the Hall the way Jeter and Mariano Rivera did in the past couple votes.

Instead, the focus will turn to a number of holdovers, at least one of whom is inching closer to induction.

Curt Schilling was selected on 70 percent of the ballots this year. Candidates need to reach 75 percent to be elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Other players whose positions improved significantly this time included Omar Vizquel (42.8 percent to 52.6 percent), Scott Rolen (17.2 percent to 35.3 percent), Billy Wagner (16.7 percent to 31.7 percent), Gary Sheffield (13.6 percent to 30.5 percent) and Todd Helton (16.5 percent to 29.2 percent).

Rivera was elected unanimously in 2019, when he was inducted along with Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez and Mike Mussina. Jeter and Larry Walker are going into the Hall this year. Jeter fell one vote shy of unanimity.

Don’t expect that kind of consensus a year from now. Without much competition for ballot slots from the next group of newcomers, the holdovers could progress further, but only Schilling seems close enough to have a good chance of induction in 2021. If fewer than two people are elected by the BBWAA, it will be the first time that’s happened since nobody reached the 75 percent mark in 2013.

Things to watch in the next Hall of Fame vote:


Schilling figures to be the center of attention. He excelled in that spot as a pitcher — his postseason exploits with the Red Sox, Diamondbacks and Phillies have been well documented — but his Hall of Fame candidacy may become even more contentious the closer he gets.

Schilling is no stranger to controversy. In 2016, he was fired as an analyst by ESPN for his Facebook comments about transgender people.
He has two more chances to be elected before his time on the ballot would run out.


There wasn’t much movement this year for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the two most prominent players whose candidacies have been held back by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use.

They were both just under 60 percent last year. This time, Clemens received 61 percent and Bonds 60.7 percent.

Bonds and Clemens have two more chances on the ballot, and if they’re going to have any real surge, it doesn’t seem likely until their final year.

Sammy Sosa also has two years left, but at 14 percent he’s much further back.

CARDINALS: The Cardinals signed catcher Matt Wieters to a contract for the 2020 season, bringing back the 33-year-old veteran to fill the same role behind Yadier Molina as last season.

ROYALS: The Kansas City Royals signed outfielder Alex Gordon to a $4 million contract for next season, giving the rebuilding club a veteran presence in what is expected to be a young lineup under new manager Mike Matheny.

PHILLIES:  The Philadelphia Phillies signed left-hander Francisco Liriano, right-handers Bud Norris and Drew Storen and infielder Neil Walker to minor-league contracts with invitations to attend major league spring training.

METS: The New York Mets are finalizing a multiyear agreement with quality control coach Luis Rojas to make him the team’s manager, staying in-house to replace the ousted Carlos Beltran, GM Brodie Van Wagenen said.

“I think it’s the fit. It’s where the team is. I think it’s the culture we’re trying to create,” Van Wagenen said.

Rojas would take over for Beltran, who left the Mets last week before managing a single game as part of the fallout from the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal.

The 38-year-old Rojas is the son of former Montreal Expos and San Francisco Giants manager Felipe Alou and the brother of ex-big leaguer Moises Alou. The former minor league manager has been with the organization since 2007 but had never coached in the majors before joining Mickey Callaway’s staff last season.

UMPIRES: Major League Baseball will test computer plate umpires during spring training but will not use the system for decisions in any exhibition games.

MLB experimented with the automated balls and strikes system during the second half of last season in the independent Atlantic League, and the Arizona Fall League used it for a few dozen games at Salt River Fields. The Major League Baseball Umpires Association agreed last month to cooperate and assist if Commissioner Rob Manfred decides to utilize the system at the major league level.

Plate umpires hear the computerized ball/strike calls via earpieces. The human umps decide on checked swings and other plays.

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