Snub to ex-Yankees prompts ESPN host to blast baseball Hall of Fame as ‘nonsense’

The 2023 Baseball Hall of Fame Awards ceremony at Glimmerglass Opera House in Cooperstown, NY, on Jul 23, 2023.

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If you followed Ryan Thibodaux’s (@NotMrTibbs on X/Twitter) Hall of Fame tracker leading up to the BBWAA’s official announcement of this year’s Cooperstown inductees, there was a momentary belief that former Yankees Andruw Jones and Gary Sheffield might secure a spot in baseball immortality.

As of January 25, Thibodaux’s tracker indicated Jones at 68.9% and Sheffield at 73.9%, seemingly close to the 75% threshold for Hall of Fame induction. However, when considering anonymous votes not reflected on his site, both players fell short—Jones with 61.6% and Sheffield with 63.9%.

Gary Sheffield Hall of Fame New York Yankees
Source: New York Post

This outcome has left baseball columnist and ESPN personality Clinton Yates frustrated. Instead of celebrating the rightful Hall of Fame inductees, the focus shifts to those, who in Yates’s view, are unfairly left out.

Yates, speaking on ESPN’s “Around the Horn,” highlighted Gary Sheffield’s unique achievement of hitting 25 or more home runs for six or more teams. He also acknowledged Andruw Jones as the best defensive centerfielder he has ever seen.

Yates expressed a broader sentiment about the disconnect between what certain players mean to fans and the gatekeeping involved in baseball, particularly in Hall of Fame selections. He believes this situation diminishes the relevance of Cooperstown and represents a failure by the association responsible, impacting current inductees, aspiring players, and fans celebrating the game’s history. In his perspective, an incomplete representation is another shortcoming.

andruw-jones-new-york-yankees
AP

Gary Sheffield, whose Hall of Fame vote faced challenges due to his connection to Barry Bonds and BALCO, made a strong push in his tenth and final ballot, progressing from 11.7% in 2015 to 55% in 2023. Andruw Jones, with three more chances at Cooperstown, rose from 7.3% in 2018 to 58.1% in 2023.

Jones concluded his 17-year career with the Yankees (2011-12), while Sheffield spent three seasons with the Yankees, including his second-place finish in the MVP voting in 2004, amid his 22-year career.

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