In the annals of the Baseball Hall of Fame, the announcement of the Class of 2019 will be remembered as one of the more historic, celebratory, and bittersweet election days in the institution's history. The excellent four-man class of Mariano Rivera (the first-ever unanimous inductee), Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, and Mike Mussina will grab the headlines - and deservedly so - but the ramifications of Tuesday will be felt in Cooperstown for years to come.
Here's a look at some of the major takeaways from Tuesday's vote:
Barry Bonds, perhaps the greatest position player ever, and Roger Clemens, arguably the greatest pitcher, must be starting to sweat.
The controversial stars, forever tied to allegations of performance-enhancing drug use, needed big jumps on Tuesday that didn't come. Bonds and Clemens did gain votes, but marginally so; Clemens only jumped 2.2 percent from 2018, while Bonds gained 2.7 percent. This came after both were polling above 70 percent ahead of the announcement.
Bonds and Clemens each have another three years of eligibility on the BBWAA ballot, but that could be a formality at this point. Tuesday's results illustrated the 50-50 divide among the Hall voters around players tied to PEDs from the pre-testing era, and why it's never going to heal itself. Yes, room is starting to clear on the ballot for returning candidates - Derek Jeter's the only clear-cut first-ballot inductee over the next two years - but is that really going to open things up for the steroid stars eight years in? Writers are going to vote for who they vote for, and if Bonds and Clemens aren't above 60 percent by now, it's probably not happening.
Other steroid-linked players such as Gary Sheffield, Manny Ramirez, and Sammy Sosa continue to languish near the bottom of the ballot. Ramirez, who tested positive twice, did gain a few votes, but Sheffield dropped slightly. All three are not only running out of time but seem to have little hope when compared to other stars of the so-called "steroid era."
Speaking of controversial candidates, support for Curt Schilling jumped by 9.7 percent from one year ago as he received 60.9 percent of this year's vote. He was the only candidate on this year's ballot to surpass the 60-percent mark without being elected.
Schilling's controversial off-field beliefs that continue to cloud his candidacy for many Hall of Fame observers and voters are well known by now, but that's not stopping his climb to Cooperstown. Tuesday showed that Schilling the pitcher has plenty of support and a far better chance at election than the likes of Bonds and Clemens. In fact, history is on his side: of all the candidates for Cooperstown since 1936, only Gil Hodges has yet to get in after surpassing the 60-percent mark on the writers' ballot.
The lack of new candidates in the next two years is great news for Schilling, and he's now trending toward an eventual induction during the next four years.
The biggest winner of the day (besides those inducted) was Larry Walker, who jumped over 20 percent in his second-last year on the ballot. This doesn't make his induction next January inevitable, but it does set the stage for a very interesting voting season next year. Walker was certainly impressed and hopeful after his totals were announced:
He's got good reason to be optimistic. Unfortunately, several years ago, the Hall lowered ballot eligibility from 15 years to 10, and this still smells like it could be too little, too late for Walker. What he can take solace in is that his very worthy case should play well in front of the Eras Committee once he's eligible in a few years' time. His day is coming, in some form.
A review of Tuesday's proceedings would not be complete without giving those who were inducted by the BBWAA their rightful congratulations. And what a class it is: