This past voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2013 has taken on an interesting turn. Nobody from the regular ballot got in. What makes it more interesting is that the talent pool this past year was simply unbelievable.
The 2013 ballot featured 37 candidates, with 13 returnees and 24 newcomers. Aside from hall of fame hopeful Jack Morris, this year has seen a 350+ game winner/4,600+ strikeouts totaler in Roger Clemens (37.6%), a Home Run King in alleged steroid user Barry Bonds (36.2%), a 3-time 60+ homerun hitter in Sammy Sosa (12.5%), a 3,000 hits man in Craig Biggio (68.2%), a World Series MVP and great all-around pitcher in Curt Schilling, and perhaps the greatest hitting catcher in history in Mike Piazza. Also on the ballot were the Crime Dog in Fred McGriff, Tim “Rock” Raines, Jeff Bagwell, Lee Smith (the all time saves king for a period of time), and more. None of them got in.
Say what you will, but many of these players should have gotten in, and I believe that many voters felt the same way. However, it’s difficult when you need to balance the following:
1. To get in, a player needs at least 75% of total votes.
2. Each voter is allowed to vote for a maximum of 10 players.
3. There simply are too many great players in the ballot for everyone to agree on who should get in, thereby watering down the vote percentage.
Every voter has said the same thing: that he wished to be able to vote for more players. Now, the situation will be even worse next year when 300 game winners Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, 500 homerun hitter Frank “the Tank” “the Big Hurt” Thomas, and company are eligible for next year. This is very different from when Nolan Ryan, George Brett, Robin Yount, and Carleton Fisk were on in 1999 and Fisk had to wait an extra year. This time, many more people should get in.
Therefore, we need to examine not only the statistical accomplishments of players per era, but also the number of players in a league. It’s patently not fair to place the 10 vote requirements for leagues with 800 players as in past leagues with 600-700 players.
I personally suggest increasing the voting maximum to go up from 10 players to 15 players. The Hall of Fame has made rule changes before. For example, this policy of 10 years minimum/wait 5 more years wasn’t around when greats like Joe Dimaggio were being considered for election. They have made rule changes before and they can do it again. I suspect that they simply don’t want to.
The Hall of Fame, like Major League Baseball, is a fraternity. Do you think they really know who and who not to vote for? Please. Change the requirements for the increased amount of “great” players based on a vote to do that, and vote more qualified players into their rightly-deserved place in the Hall of Fame.