From SABR member Graham Womack at The Sporting News on August 2, 2016, with mention of SABR members Pete Palmer, Bill Deane, and Adam Darowski:
Less than two years after his death in a plane crash on Aug. 2, 1979, Thurman Munson debuted early on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.
Since 1954, players have had to wait five years after retirement to become eligible for Cooperstown through the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. It’s generally a good rule, allowing emotions to cool and Hall of Fame voters to gather perspective on a player’s career before making their decision.
In a few instances, the writers have waived the five-year rule. Roberto Clemente drew 393 of a possible 424 votes in a special election in March 1973, months after his death flying relief supplies to victims of a Nicaragua earthquake. Darryl Kile, Rod Beck and Cory Lidle have all also appeared on Hall of Fame ballots sooner than five years after their untimely deaths, a show of respect mostly for players who otherwise wouldn’t have approached Cooperstown.
Originally published: August 8, 2016. Last Updated: August 8, 2016.