Maybe when the Baseball Hall of Fame’s class of 2016 is revealed in January, we’ll have fewer awful ballots to criticize. On Tuesday, the Hall of Fame announced that any BBWAA members that haven’t actively covered the sport for ten years will no longer have a Hall of Fame vote.
Hall of Fame decides BBWAA members more than 10 years removed from actively covering the game can no longer vote for Hall of Fame.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) July 28, 2015
And the full statement from the Hall’s Board of Directors…
Hall of Fame voter roll purge … pic.twitter.com/VeKTyEnizr
— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) July 28, 2015
This is (mostly) a great thing for the Hall. The ten year rule will eliminate voters that stopped covering the game in 2005 and earlier, which will hopefully lead to less hand-wringing about “the way things were” and so on and so forth.
Too many of the Hall’s voters were retired, and out of touch with the game (remember the Golfers West controversy that came to light a couple years ago?). By purging that part of the electorate (and maybe, hopefully, letting more active writers that haven’t hit the Hall’s eligibility requirements vote), maybe we can avoid the silly conversations every year when those older voters turn in absolutely ridiculous ballots.
One part of the voter purge that could end up as a bad thing will only be an issue for a couple of seasons – you’re removing part of the electorate that (presumably) watched the players who made their bacon in the 1980s. But the only players who will really be adversely effected here are Alan Trammell, Lee Smith, and Tim Raines…and Raines is the only one with a prayer of entering the Hall in the next two years before the trio all fall off the ballot (thanks to another new Hall rule enacted a year ago, shortening a player’s time on the ballot from 15 years to ten).
Last year, the Hall enacted what is being referred to as the Le Batard Rule after the induction ceremony, and this year, they’ve taken a much more drastic step. Maybe after next year’s induction, they’ll increase the ballot from ten names to 12 or 15, and maybe the year after that, they’ll require all ballots to be publicly posted after the results are announced. We can only hope, right?