As folks make their way to Cooperstown, New York for this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, the Hall announced some changes to its voting process. The announced changes are posted on the organization’s website and are to be effective immediately.
One of the changes is more of a “behind the scenes” one. The HoF will “install a new balloting and registration process for Baseball Writers’ Association of America voting members”. We, the fan, are unlikely to see this in action. It’s the other primary change that we will notice.
The other, more noticeable change, is that the Hall has decided that the period of time a player can remain on the HoF ballot shall be reduced from fifteen to ten years. In its press release, the Hall notes that of the 115 players voted in by the BBWAA, “102 (89%) have been elected in years 1-10 and 13 (11%) have been elected in years 11-15″.
This would seemingly affect a trio of players: Don Mattingly, Lee Smith, and Alan Trammell. The Hall made the decision to grandfather this trio to remain on the ballot even though they are beyond the newly designated ten-year period. Next year’s ballot will represent Mattingly’s final one. Trammell will have two years remaining while Smith will have three. Trammell and Smith must still pull in the required 5%.
During the last vote, Smith was named on 29.9% of the ballots, Trammell was mentioned on 20.8%, and Mattingly pulled down a nod on 8.2%.
The Era Committee system will now take those removed from the ballot after that 10th year to consider election.
It is also worth noting that these are the first changes made to the voting process since 1991. Also of note is this tweet from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Three #HOFers who got in under old rules: Blyleven (14th year on ballot, 2011), Rice (15th, 2009), Sutter (13th, 2006). Fortunate?
— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) July 26, 2014