Former Red Sox outfielder among new additions to Hall of Fame ballot
By Sean Penney
A former Red Sox player is now eligible for the Hall of Fame.
The ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2021 has been revealed and former Boston Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino is among the new additions to the list of eligible candidates.
Victorino joins a crowded ballot of 25 former players, 11 of whom are joining the ballot for the first time this year. Members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who are eligible to vote are allowed to select up to 10 candidates on their ballot.
Eight of Victorino’s 12 major league seasons were spent with the Philadelphia Phillies following a brief debut with the San Diego Padres. He spent the second half of the 2012 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers before coming to Boston for parts of three seasons and then wrapping up his career with a partial season with the Los Angeles Angels.
Victorino hit .275 with a .765 OPS, 108 home runs and 231 stolen bases in his 12-year career. He was a two-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove award winner, and a key contributor on a pair of World Series championship teams.
In three seasons with the Red Sox from 2013-2015, Victorino hit .282/.339/.418 with 18 home runs and 28 steals. He was a spark plug in the lineup who energized the club and established himself as a fan-favorite.
Victorino immortalized himself as a postseason hero with his 7th-inning grand slam in Game 6 of the 2013 ALCS against the Detroit Tigers. The game-winning blast over the Green Monster at Fenway Park sent the Red Sox to the World Series where Victorino would earn the second championship ring of his career.
Injuries limited Victorino to 30 games in 2014, paving the way for Mookie Betts to make his major league debut that year and steal the starting spot in right field.
Boston traded Victorino to the Angels at the 2015 deadline, allowing the veteran to finish his career with a contender. Los Angeles ultimately fell a game short of the Wild Card but they came a lot closer than a Red Sox team that finished in the AL East basement that year.
At least one player has been elected to the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility in each of the last seven years but there are no sure-fire first-ballot additions this year. Most of the new additions could be one-and-done if they fail to receive at least five percent of votes to remain on the ballot next year.
Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez, and Curt Schilling are the other notable former Red Sox players who are holdovers on the ballot. All three are worthy based on their production but the former two stars have had their legacies tarnished by performance-enhancing drugs while the latter has cost himself votes with his combative relationship with the media members who vote for the Hall of Fame. It will be interesting to see if any of them make any progress on this year’s ballot.
Victorino doesn’t have a Hall of Fame resume but with an underwhelming crop of first-time eligible players combined with several holdovers who remain in limbo due to their PED-tainted past, he might garner enough attention to squeeze over the threshold for staying on the ballot.
He was never a serious MVP candidate but Victorino’s multiple All-Star appearances, Gold Glove awards and postseason heroics warrant some consideration. Those who refuse to vote for the PED guys but still prefer to fill all 10 spots on their ballot could toss Victorino a vote.