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Baseball Hall of Fame 2022: Breaking down the top candidates, voting trends for Cooperstown

USA TODAY
USA TODAY
 2022-01-22

There are first-timers and last-timers, legends and scoundrels and plenty of talent in between. And on Tuesday, Jan. 25,  baseball’s 2022 Hall of Fame class – or lack thereof – will be revealed.

Past precedent and current vote totals indicate that seven-time MVP Barry Bonds and seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens will miss induction in their 10th and final year on the ballot. Meanwhile, first-time candidate David Ortiz will find out if his star turn as Boston Red Sox DH will be enough to get him in – or if questions over a reported positive test for a banned substance will at least temporarily confine him to the Bonds-Clemens treatment.

USA TODAY Sports is breaking down the 12 most intriguing cases on the ballot, with all you need to know heading into Tuesday’s momentous announcement on MLB Network.

Roger Clemens (10th year)

"If it was merely about numbers, Clemens would have been a shoo-in when he first appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot and not about to be extinguished in his last year of eligibility.

"The trouble with Clemens is that you can’t bring up his name without Barry Bonds." – Bob Nightengale

Barry Bonds (10th year)

"Perhaps a veterans’ committee will see fit to elect Bonds one day, although the typical committee makeup and its occasionally gobsmacking results don’t necessarily augur well for Bonds, either. …

"As time goes on, and the totality of Bonds’ accomplishments settle in, it’s not hard to sense the greater loss will be the Hall’s, and not Bonds. – Gabe Lacques

Alex Rodriguez (first year)

"Ultimately, Rodriguez seems destined for a Bonds-like slog for the entirety of his 10 years on the Hall of Fame ballot – with his greatness on the field acknowledged, but his transgressions off the field denying him entrance." – Steve Gardner

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Alex Rodriguez waves to fans after playing his final game as a Yankee in 2016. Andy Marlin, USA TODAY Sports

David Ortiz (first year)

"It’s impossible to tell the story of baseball in the 21st century without David Ortiz, whose production is Hall-worthy, whose feats were historic and whose outsize personality made him one of the few instantly recognizable faces in an increasingly stratified media universe." – Gabe Lacques

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Ortiz celebrates after winning the 2013 World Series against the Cardinals. Bob DeChiara, USA TODAY Sports

Curt Schilling (10th year)

"Schilling said himself he’d rather not be judged by the writers, but by the former players and historians who make up the Hall’s Era Committees. That appears to be his best route to Cooperstown." – Gardner

Todd Helton (fourth year)

" Now in his fourth year on the ballot, Helton's support jumped from 16.5% in his first year to 44.9% in year three. Helton's candidacy is complicated by the ballpark he called home for his entire career – whether that's fair or not." – Jesse Yomtov

Tim Lincecum (first year)

"Lincecum authored one of the most unlikely and glorious careers of any hurler – three World Series titles, two Cy Young Awards – and that may be worth a lot more than a (Hall of Fame) plaque." – Lacques

Andruw Jones (fifth year)

"One of the top defensive players of his generation, Jones enters his fifth year on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot having seen a huge bump in support since he got all of 7.3% of the vote his first year." – Yomtov

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Andruw Jones won 10 consecutive Gold Glove awards from 1998-2007. Alan Mothner, AP

Sammy Sosa (10th year)

"What Sosa accomplished during a lengthy career (over 600 homers, seven All-Star appearances, six Silver Slugger awards, Roberto Clemente award) would seemingly make him a first-ballot selection.

"However, Sammy seems to be hurt by the double-whammy of playing during an era of inflated offensive statistics and being judged by writers who have historically withheld their votes from anyone suspected of using performance-enhancing substances." – Gardner

Gary Sheffield (eighth year)

"Early ballot reveals by Ryan Thibodaux’s Hall of Fame vote tracker p uts Sheffield at 46.2% (as of Jan. 17), giving him another boost from the previous year. The trend upwards should continue next year when Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa fall off the ballot." – Boeck

Jimmy Rollins (first year)

" Making his debut on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot in 2022, Rollins presents an interesting case – and one that voters will no doubt be closely analyzing in the years to come." – Yomtov

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Jimmy Rollins won four Gold Gloves at shortstop for the Phillies from 2007-12. Drew Hallowell, Getty Images

Scott Rolen (fifth year)

"Rolen will be a Hall of Famer. It's just a matter of when." – Boeck

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Baseball Hall of Fame 2022: Breaking down the top candidates, voting trends for Cooperstown

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