Baseball Hall of Fame: Frustrations Boil Over

Baseball Hall of Fame: Frustrations Boil Over

Let me start off by once again offering up my heartfelt congratulations to Major League Baseball's newest members of the Hall of Fame, Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas and Tom Glavine. I should also offer up congratulations to the Baseball Writers Association of America for not completely screwing up this year's Hall of Fame class. After not voting anyone into the Hall of Fame last year, there was some fear that the "Old Boy Club" might stick to their silent ban of voting in players who were unfortunate enough to play during the "steroid era".

That is what kept at least one writer (who works for Major League Baseball) from voting for Maddux, who was seen to be a stone cold lock to be voted into the Hall of Fame, if the BBWAA actually allowed anyone to be voted in this year. Last year the BBWAA refused to vote for anyone who played in the "steroid era" because they had no idea who was clean and who was not.

Ken Gurnick chose to continue to blacklist them all. He was not the only one who decided not to vote for the newest Hall of Fame members, as Maddux missed out being unanimous by 16 votes. He received the highest percentage out of the three people elected this year.

I am still amazed that Maddux was not a unanimous election, but considering throughout baseball history there has never been anyone to receive 100% of the votes, I am not surprised. If players like Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Cy Young and several others could get that well deserved vote total, I am not sure anyone ever will.

Whats more, players like Craig Biggio and Mike Mussina missed election this year as well. Both of whom should be in the Hall of Fame. Sadly, Biggio wound up missing election by two votes. Yep, two votes kept Biggio out of the Hall of Fame. He will likely make the Hall of Fame very soon, if not next year, but there is something seriously wrong with the voting process, and I am not the only one who sees one.

Jeff Passan wrote a fantastic piece  about why he was voting for players who used Performance Enhancing Drugs for the Hall of Fame, and made some good points which are hard to argue.

Dan Le Batard, who felt the whole voting process was flawed, gave his vote to Deadspin and allowed them to fill out the ballot with the help of their websites followers. The fans of Deadspin actually did a pretty good job filling out the voters card. and all 10 votes were cast. Ultimately though, this stunt by Le Batard cost him his vote, though I am not sure he really cares, otherwise why would he have been willing to give it away in the first place?

Phil Rogers also had a twitter rant about how he is fed up with the voting policy for the Hall of Fame.







From the sound of the stories around of some of the writers around baseball, the feeling is that some are getting frustrated because they are not led on how they should vote, especially in regards to those in the "steroid era". To me, the solution is simple. Either remove the integrity clause the writers are supposed to use when voting, or completely ban anyone who has, or may have used any kind of PED, while also removing those from the Hall of Fame who have used in the past. That would make the club more exclusive, and much more of an honor. Such a move would also take a lot of stress off of the writers, some of whom are at wits end not knowing what they are expected to do.

A third option, which I highly doubt happens, would be to expand the voting. As things currently stand, only the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America are allowed to vote. If I had any say in the matter, I would expand that and include a lot more voters. While the writers have done a decent job, voting in most people who deserve to be in (fans of the Chicago Cubs will never agree because they failed to elect Ron Santo) my belief is that they are not fully qualified to elect baseball's best players to the game. While they see many of the players on the ballot, none of them see them all.

What I would propose, would be to at very least give broadcasters the right to vote as long as they have a certain number of years broadcasting. Since a player must be out of the league for five years before becoming eligible for the Hall of Fame, I would think that a broadcaster should be in a baseball booth for a minimum of six years and then being allowed to vote. Vin Scully has seen more baseball than a majority of the baseball writers, and he would likely know a Hall of Fame player when he saw one. As long as they are broadcasting  games, they should be allowed a vote. Broadcasters see every game, and break the games down just as much as the writers. If the writers are qualified to vote, the broadcasters should also be considered knowledgeable enough to vote.

I would also try to extend the voting to the players. Like with the broadcasters, I feel they should have to serve a certain amount of time in the majors before getting a vote, also six years minimum. They would be allowed to vote as long as they are an active player. The reasoning behind this is simple. Players know which of their fellow players are great, probably more so than the writers or broadcasters. Maddux, Glavin and all other pitchers know which hitters they hate facing because they are good, and batters know which pitchers are impossible to hit.

While the writers would still have the majority say, there should be a percentage breakdown which does not give them full power. Allow the BWAA vote to count for 50% of the overall total if you still want them to be the main deciding factor, with the broadcasters and players making up for the rest, at 25% each.

One could also argue, though I am not sure I would, that you could give the fans a small percentage of the vote. After all, the game is played for the fans. The Hall of Fame was built for the fans. If the fans can vote for the All Star game, why not for the Hall of Fame? Of course, you would have to limit how much impact the fan's vote would have (say 10%?) so a player who is completely undeserving does not get voted in. You do not want the Hall of Fame turning into a popularity contest like the All Star game has become.

If that were to happen, the BBWAA would still have the most say with 50%, Broadcasters and players each get 20% with the fans rounding things out with the final 10%. Personally, I would say the BBWAA and the broadcasters each get 35%, the players get 20 percent and the fans get the final 10% in this scenario (although I am still not sure I would be for allowing the fans to vote for the Hall of Fame).

However, with three players getting elected to the Hall of Fame this year, any change to the voting process will likely not happen for several years. Especially not when you consider there will likely be at least three more voted in next year as well, but I will get to that tomorrow.

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