The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced Saturday that there will be changes, effective immediately, to rules of voting used by the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) that determine player eligibility.
The new rule which changes a players eligibility to be on the Hall of Fame ballot are literally in effect as I type this and will affect the 2015 ballot. Only three players are exempt from the new rules but I will get to that.
It’s been the policy of the HOF and BBWAA that a player is allowed to be on the ballot for 15 years. If after those 15 years they still haven’t received the 75 percent of the vote in a single year then they are no longer eligible for Hall of Fame election. That number of years – so number of chances – that a player has to be voted in has now been reduced to 10.
The only players who are exempt from this rule are players who have already been on the ballot for between 10 and 15 years. There are only three players that qualify, Alan Trammell, Don Mattingly and Lee Smith. This means that players such as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire who have not yet been voted in, most likely due to their involvement in the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), now have significantly less time and fewer chances to be considered for entry into the HOF.
All the other rules surrounding voting and eligibility will remain the same. A full listing of the rules can be found on the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s website. The announcement did not come with any reasoning on why or when the decision was made but it’s announcement comes in the middle of Hall of Fame Weekend and on the eve of the 2014 Induction Ceremony where players Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas and managers Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre will forever be enshrined in baseball history.
There’s bound to be controversy surrounding this decision, although it shouldn’t make a difference, because there are some who put part of the blame on the managers whose players used PEDs during what has been dubbed the “Steroid Era” in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
Personally I do not, esp. not on La Russa, Cox or Torre. For one thing the managers do not have complete control over their player’s actions and choices and two, these three managers in particular were winning managers both before and after the so-called “Steroid Era,” making their accomplishments no less incredible.
I think this decision is a good one since it affects players like Barry Bonds. I don’t believe cheaters and liars belong in the Hall of Fame alongside guys who had natural talent AND worked hard to use it properly. However, I do find it to be a random and arbitrary decision.
My only hope is that it does not hurt former Houston Astro, Craig Biggio. Biggio has the statistics to be in the hall and has almost been voted in before. In the most recent vote he literally missed getting 75 percent of the vote by two votes, just two actual writers needed to vote for him – so even though another childhood hero of mine in McGwire gets fewer opportunities to be considered, he like Bonds, made the decisions he made and he has to live with that. Thankfully he doesn’t have to live with being an arrogant, lying ass like Bonds but that’s another story for another time … so screw all them but vote in Biggio! … that’s all I have to say on the matter – for now at least …. lol!