The Baseball Hall of Fame voting process
The Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2023 will be announced today. As a baseball fan, today used to be a big huge day for me.
I love the history of the game. In past years, I'd get into studying and debating the worthy candidates. But with each passing year I find myself caring less and less about the Hall of Fame. Why? Because the voting process is difficult to take seriously.
The longer only members of the Baseball Writers of America Association are allowed to vote for the Hall of Fame, the more scrutiny and criticism the process and the writers should face. The voting process needs a major overhaul.
By authorization of the HOF Board of Directors, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) was authorized in 1936 to hold an election every year for the purpose of electing members to the HOF.
Only active and honorary members of the BBWAA, who have been active baseball writers for at least ten (10) years, shall be eligible to vote. They must have been active as baseball writers and members of the Association for a period beginning at least ten (10) years prior to the date of election in which they are voting.
Here are my issues:
1. Times have changed. Media coverage has dramatically changed since the first HOF election in 1936. There is no reason for the vote to be exclusive to the BBWAA. Do we only get our news from a newspapers? Do only newspaper writers cover the game? TV and Radio play much bigger roles in our lives than newspapers. Why is that not reflected in the HOF voting process? It is time for the Baseball Hall of Fame to take back control of the process.
Here is Marty Brennaman's rant against the voting process a couple of years ago on Reds Hot Stove:
"I see more baseball in the course of a season than most of these guys who are given the opportunity to vote by the BBWAA. It is a closed fraternity. They have guys voting that have about as much right to vote as my grandchildren do. It's a dumb situation. It is something that needs to be looked at seriously. They will not allow us to be a part of this, and I think they are a bunch of damn idiots because they won't. The Baseball Hall of Fame bends over and just says 'ok, we'll do whatever you want to do'. They could apply the pressure if they wanted to, but they choose not to, and that's the reason we are not allowed to vote."
2. Think about some of the individuals that don't vote in this process: Brennaman, Bob Costas, George Grande, Tim McCarver, Bob Uecker, Mike Shannon, Pat Hughes, John Sterling, Dave Sims, John Rooney, Steve Stone, Ken Harrelson, Tom Hamilton and Jon Miller. Consider the combined years of broadcasting and games witnessed in their collective broadcasting careers. Why don't historians like Bill James, Ken Burns, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Steve Hirdt, George Will, and John Thorn have votes?
3. How about diversity in the voting group? How about a voting panel to include:
10-year members of the BBWAA (40%)
Broadcasters, executives and historians (40%)
Hall of Famers (15%)
On-line fan voting (5%)
4. Why are voters allowed to reveal their ballots prior to the voting announcement? I vote for the Heisman trophy. If I reveal my vote prior to the announcement my ballot is taken away. Do voters for the Oscars reveal their vote prior to the show? Isn't their supposed to be anticipation?
5. Why limit the number of players a writer can vote to 10? What if there are 11 or 12 worthy candidates? You are a HOF player or you are not. The number of available spots on the ballot should not dictate a player's standing.