The Baseball Hall of Fame this morning has announced a major rules change. Newly retiring players will remain on the BBWAA ballot and under consideration for enshrinement for just 10 years, down from the 15 years previously considered and voted upon. This could impact chances of players like former Phillie, Roy Halladay who recently retired.
Three players who are on the current ballot will not be affected: Alan Trammell, Lee Smith, and Don Mattingly. Each of these players was “grandfathered” to the full 15 years consideration since they have already been on the ballot for at least 10 years.
Per a statement released this morning, as the Hall prepares to welcome new enshrinees Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Joe Torre, Tony LaRussa, and Bobby Cox, the changes will be effective immediately, and will be first applied with voting for next year’s prospective 2015 class of honorees.
The Board believes these changes are necessary to ensure the integrity of the voting process moving forward.
“We believe the BBWAA has done an excellent job of honoring the criteria advanced by the Hall of Fame – player’s record, contributions to the teams on which the player played, character, sportsmanship and integrity – to determine individuals who belong in the Hall of Fame by the highest threshold, a 75 percent majority. The Board believes these changes are necessary to ensure the integrity of the voting process moving forward.” said Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman of the Board for the Hall.
Had these rules been in existence previously, a number of players may not have been enshrined. Bert Blyleven, Jim Rice, Bruce Sutter, Duke Snider, Bob Lemon, Ralph Kiner are among the players who have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame between years 11-15 on the ballot. Of the 115 elected by the BBWAA, 89% were elected in years 1-10. 11% elected in 11-15.
One of the most immediate effects is likely to be a serious uptick in the push for the case of Tim Raines, the former Montreal Expos game-changing catalyst, who would get just one more shot at election. The changes are also likely to speed up the debate regarding controversial PED-related players such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Voters will now need to begin to quickly come to some type of accomodation for players who have fairly obvious Hall of Fame credentials, and who most fans (and likely most of the voters themselves) believe were HOF-worthy talents whose numbers would have been tremendous with or without PED usage during any portion of their careers.
THE FULL STATEMENT can be found HERE