Baseball Hall of Fame Voting Desperately Needs Overhaul

The POWER over Baseball’s Hall of Fame is the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). They have been in charge of determining by their vote who is admitted into the HOF since 1936, and official word from the HOF is that if there is to be any change at all in the method of voting, it is up to the BBWAA to effectuate that change.

As of now, the guys with the votes are BBWAA members of ten consecutive years, and no one else, not even the actual members of the Hall.

Results in their voting in the alleged “post-steroid” era have been abominable. A year ago, no one was voted into the HOF, not Craig Biggio, not Jack Morris, not Mike Piazza, not Lee Smith, and not any of the group of superstars who have unequivocally been outed

Greg Maddux Atlanta Braves Autographed Baseball with HOF 2014 Inscription

as having been long-term PED users, such as Bobby Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, and Roger Clemens.

This year’s voting saw new heights in the absurdity of the voting system, in numerous regards:

1. Veteran writer Ken Gurnick voted for only Jack Morris, saying that no one who played during the steroid era was above suspicion, not even Greg Maddux, and thus he would vote for no one who played in that time frame, regardless of merit, proof of use, or anything else;

2. Writer and radio host Dan Le Batard has had his vote taken away forever, and his BBWAA membership suspended for a year, for his actions in turning his vote over to, who cast Le Barard’s vote based on a poll of site visitors; and

3. In the vote itself, while three deserving players, Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas, were voted in, Biggio, Morris and Piazza were all denied entry. Biggio, in his second year of eligibility, missed by two votes, Morris fell from 67.7% last year to 61.5% this year, and Piazza saw an increase of 4.4%, from 57.8% to 62.2%, of the 75% needed. While arguments regarding actual merit can be made to

deny Morris entry into the HOF (despite his post season heroics), as he won “only” 254 regular season games, no such argument can be made about Biggio or Piazza. Biggio should have been a slam dunk based on his brilliant, versatile, and long career, and there is no valid argument, other than rumor and innuendo about totally unsubstantiated PED use, to keep Piazza, the greatest hitting catcher in the history of the game, out of the HOF.

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There have always been arguments over the relative merits of retired stars, but post-vote discussions use to center on batting average, ERAs, and magic numbers like 300 wins and 500 home runs. Today, they center on hearsay, stolen documents, and Congressional testimony.

What are the alternatives? The loudest arguments are to take the vote away from the writes, and though that is not likely

to happen, other potential groups of voters are bandied about, such as a fan vote (worst idea ever), living HOF members, and one friend has suggested that the vote be given to major league umpires.

I personally think that the great stars who have been voted into the HOF would be the best group to determine future members, but as stated, the lords and masters of the Hall of Fame are not about to take the vote away from the writers. At least not yet.

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