The Baseball Hall of Fame announced a set of changes to voting setups and procedures today.
Chiefly they focus on how players are admitted, with a series of changes to the legacy era committees and a tweaking of how often those players can be considered for enshrinement. Much of the discourse has focused on how those changes seem aimed at preventing the top players of the steroid era from gaining entry.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, and Sammy Sosa will not be eligible for election in December 2022 under new HOF rule, which states "players must have been retired for 16 or more seasons" to appear on Era Committee ballot.
As of December, they will be at 15 years.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) April 22, 2022
But the voting protocols are also changing for the Ford C. Frick Award, the Hall’s method of honoring baseball broadcasters. From the Hall’s release:
A ballot of 10 candidates will now be set, up from eight in the previous voting system. There will now be a requirement that at least one candidate be a foreign language broadcaster.
A new election cycle has been established, with a composite ballot featuring local and national voices in four consecutive years, followed by a fifth year featuring a ballot of candidates whose broadcasting careers concluded prior to the advent of the Wild Card Era in 1994. The new cycle will begin with the 2023 Frick Award, with composite ballots of local and national voices continuing with the Awards in 2024, 2025 and 2026 before the pre-Wild Card Era ballot is considered for the 2027 Award. The cycle then repeats every five years.
At first glance, the requirement to include a foreign language broadcaster is at the very least well-intentioned. As to the rest of the procedure, it’s again tough to tell why the Hall seems determined to make it as difficult as possible to actually make it in. There are so, so many legitimately worthy local and national broadcasters, both still working and whose careers ended before 1994.
Obviously no one would suggest the Hall of Fame should be the Hall of Very Good, for players or broadcasters. But there has to be a simpler, more inclusive way to handle this.