Gennaro: The broken Hall of Fame voting process

From SABR President Vince Gennaro at Diamond Dollars on December 30, 2013:

The Hall of Fame has a math problem—too many deserving candidates and too few ballot slots to elect them. This is not a new problem, although it is likely coming to a head in the soon to be released class of 2014 voting results on January 8th. The problem has been building for years, as either the voting rules (maximum ten votes per ballot) or the attitude of the voting body (unwillingness to expedite the election of unambiguously qualified candidates), has resulted in a backlog of “should be” Hall of Famers, still stuck on the Hall of Fame ballot. Couple this reality with the pool of super star candidates who are suspected of using performance enhancing drugs and the problem is compounded. Players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, who would have been quick honorees are lingering on the ballot, likely to consume votes year-after-year until voters ultimately sort out their fate. The controversy over PEDs is like a tax on votes. By my count, over 30% of last year’s votes went to those who have been suspected by some of using steroids, drastically reducing the number of votes available to other worthy candidates.

The 2014 ballot introduces non-controversial HOF candidates—Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, and Mike Mussina—who are added to the list of clear cut HOFers—Biggio, Bagwell, Piazza, Raines, Alan Trammell, and Edgar Martinez. In addition, there are players who are on my HOF list, although I concede they will not be on everyone’s list—Curt Schilling, Fred McGriff and Larry Walker. Next, let’s add in the “absolutely HOFers, if not for steroid allegations”—Bonds and Clemens. Finally, I haven’t even mentioned Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Don Mattingly, Jack Morris, Lee Smith, and newcomer Jeff Kent who are likely to garner votes. The math simply does not add up.

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Originally published: December 30, 2013. Last Updated: December 30, 2013.