Carey: 12 ways to fix the Hall of Fame

From SABR member Ross Carey at Replacement Level Podcast on December 16, 2014:

The Baseball Hall of Fame is broken. Here are twelve ways to improve the voting process.

1) Fire the BBWAA. That sounds harsh as there are many BBWAA voters who spend a lot of time on their ballot, are objective, capable of doing comparative analysis, and embrace metrics new and old. Unfortunately, they are in the minority.  There are hundreds of voters who no longer cover the game, treat voting like an entitlement, and use the sniff test as their primary voting tool. The most obvious way to improve the voting process is to upgrade the people who vote. Keep everything else the same, even the pointless 10-slot max but overhaul the voters and the process will be in much better shape.  So who votes then? More on that in a bit.

2) Eliminate the 10-slot voting the limit. Once a player is enshrined the Hall makes no distinction as to whether he was voted in by the BBWAA or a Veterans Committee. There is no mention of how long a player appeared on the ballot or what percentage of the vote they received. If you’re in, you’re in. The 10 player max contradicts this approach. If you have a voter that thinks 15 players are worthy of the Hall of Fame, shouldn’t he or she be allowed to vote for all them? Of course.  It’s a rule that truly accomplishes nothing. It actually can hurt players twice. If a voter wants to vote for more than ten players he can’t, that’s obviously frustrating but to make things worse not voting for a player hurts their chances of getting in. If you’re a voter who believes Alan Trammell belongs in the Hall of Fame but can’t find room for him among your ten available slots, you’re essentially voting against him. The Hall is forcing some if its voters to vote against players they adamantly feel are deserving. The BBWAA voting process and all of the various Veterans Committees are systems designed to put deserving players in, not keep them out.  The rules currently in place are doing just that.


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Originally published: December 18, 2014. Last Updated: December 18, 2014.