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Like School on Saturday (A Quinn Martin Production), Epilogue
2004-01-21 01:26
by Mike Carminati

"Book 'm, Dan-O."

"ÖAnd I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for those meddling kids and their dog."

First, for those of you with such a short attention span that you could not sift through a few dozen (for shame!), here is a quick and dirty summary table by election:

ElectionNumber selectedPercentage by Top Win SharesPercentage based on bypassedPercentage by GradePercentage by Grade bypassedPercentage elected over 300 Win Shares? HoF avg before electionPercentage better than the established standards for the Hall Remainder who qualified
1936 BBWAA560%41.67%100%100%100%N/AN/AN/A
1937 BBWAA366.67%60.00%100%100%100%623.8066.67%0
1938 BBWAA10.00%25.00%100%100%100%609.880.00%0
1939 BBWAA450.00%7.69%50.00%8.26%75.00%595.000.00%0
1939 Old Timers30.00%2.59%0.00%3.03%66.67%595.000.00%0
1942 BBWAA1100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%503.500.00%0
1945 BBWAA0N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A503.410.00%0
1945 Old Timers911.11%5.08%22.22%6.22%44.44%503.410.00%0
1946 BBWAA0N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A433.27N/A1
1946 Old Timers119.09%10.00%18.18%10.28%18.18%433.270.00%2
1947 BBWAA425.00%12.50%50.00%12.73%75.00%386.9725.00%2
1948 BBWAA20.00%3.45%0.00%2.47%0.00%381.700.00%4
1949 BBWAA10.00%25.00%0.00%18.18%100.00%375.76100.00%4
1949 Old Timers250.00%8.33%50.00%7.69%50.00%375.7650.00%8
1950 BBWAA0N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A376.42N/A4
1951 BBWAA2100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%376.42100.00%3
1952 BBWAA250.00%33.33%100.00%38.46%100.00%380.8950.00%2
1953 BBWAA20.00%1.70%50.00%2.27%50.00%381.240.00%1
1953 Veterans20.00%2.63%0.00%2.91%50.00%381.240.00%8
1954 BBWAA30.00%9.68%66.67%10.00%66.67%373.830.00%3
1955 BBWAA425.00%7.69%75.00%10.14%75.00%369.7725.00%2
1955 Veterans20.00%1.79%0.00%1.92%50.00%369.770.00%7
1956 BBWAA20.00%6.45%50.00%6.67%50.00%362.3250.00%1
1957 Veterans1100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%360.38100.00%9
1958 BBWAA0N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A361.69N/A1
1959 Veterans10.00%12.50%0.00%10.53%100.00%361.69100.00%8
1960 BBWAA0N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A361.97N/A1
1961 Veterans20.00%13.33%0.00%8.51%100.00%361.970.00%8
1962 BBWAA20.00%6.06%0.00%4.65%0.00%361.440.00%1
1962 Veterans10.00%4.76%0.00%4.08%100.00%361.440.00%8
1963 Veterans40.00%13.33%25.00%12.73%75.00%358.3225.00%7
1964 BBWAA1100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%356.93100.00%0
1964 Veterans540.00%13.89%40.00%15.52%40.00%356.9340.00%5
1965 Veterans1100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%355.96100.00%4
1966 BBWAA1100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%356.54100.00%0
1967 BBWAA10.00%25.00%100.00%25.00%100.00%358.930.00%0
1967 Veterans10.00%1.32%0.00%1.06%0.00%358.930.00%4
1968 BBWAA10.00%14.29%100.00%14.29%100.00%357.150.00%0
1968 Veterans20.00%7.41%50.00%6.38%50.00%357.150.00%4
1969 BBWAA250.00%4.65%50.00%7.69%50.00%355.8850.00%1
1969 BBWAA20.00%2.63%0.00%2.13%0.00%355.880.00%5
1970 BBWAA10.00%10.00%0.00%6.25%0.00%354.730.00%0
1970 Veterans20.00%1.32%0.00%0.78%0.00%354.730.00%4
1971 BBWAA0N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A351.010.00%3
1971 Veterans60.00%3.26%50.00%5.43%50.00%351.010.00%7
1972 BBWAA333.33%6.38%66.67%9.09%66.67%346.0733.33%3
1972 Veterans20.00%1.10%0.00%0.00%0.00%346.070.00%7
1973 BBWAA2100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%341.72100.00%1
1973 Veterans20.00%1.13%100.00%50.00%50.00%341.7250.00%7
1974 BBWAA250.00%11.76%50.00%14.81%50.00%341.4450.00%2
1974 Veterans20.00%2.22%0.00%1.90%0.00%341.440.00%7
1975 BBWAA10.00%5.00%0.00%3.57%0.00%341.040.00%2
1975 Veterans20.00%5.88%0.00%4.08%0.00%341.040.00%7
1976 BBWAA20.00%10.00%50.00%10.71%50.00%339.305000.00%2
1976 Veterans10.00%1.14%50.00%1.60%50.00%339.3050.00%7
1977 BBWAA10.00%33.33%0.00%13.33%100.00%337.400.00%2
1977 Veterans20.00%5.88%0.00%4.17%0.00%337.400.00%9
1978 BBWAA1100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%336.51100.00%1
1978 Veterans10.00%0.55%0.00%0.00%0.00%336.510.00%9
1979 BBWAA1100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%336.25100.00%1
1979 Veterans10.00%0.87%0.00%0.00%0.00%336.250.00%9
1980 BBWAA2100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%337.77100.00%0
1980 Veterans10.00%1.15%0.00%0.97%0.00%337.770.00%8
1981 BBWAA10.00%20.00%100.00%12.50%100.00%337.920.00%1
1981 Veterans10.00%12.50%100.00%12.50%100.00%337.92100.00%7
1982 BBWAA2100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%337.76100.00%2
1982 Veterans10.00%0.66%0.00%0.00%0.00%337.760.00%7
1983 BBWAA20.00%10.53%50.00%10.00%50.00%340.4050.00%3
1983 Veterans10.00%0.91%0.00%0.79%50.00%340.4050.00%3
1984 BBWAA333.33%15.79%33.33%13.79%33.33%339.1633.33%2
1984 Veterans20.00%0.61%50.00%1.49%50.00%339.160.00%7
1985 BBWAA250.00%9.52%50.00%9.38%50.00%337.4250.00%2
1985 Veterans20.00%12.50%100.00%12.50%100.00%337.4250.00%7
1986 BBWAA1100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%336.97100.00%2
1986 Veterans20.00%1.42%0.00%0.75%0.00%336.970.00%7
1987 BBWAA250.00%4.76%50.00%5.13%50.00%336.2850.00%1
1987 Veterans0N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A336.28N/A7
1988 BBWAA1100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%335.67100.00%1
1988 Veterans0N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A335.67N/A7
1989 BBWAA250.00%66.67%100.00%71.43%100.00%335.90100.00%2
1989 Veterans10.00%1.85%0.00%1.47%0.00%335.900.00%7
1990 BBWAA250.00%9.09%100.00%21.74%100.00%336.5250.00%2
1990 Veterans0N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A336.52N/A7
1991 BBWAA366.67%42.86%100.00%42.86%100.00%337.4750.00%2
1991 Veterans10.00%1.54%0.00%1.27%0.00%337.470.00%7
1992 BBWAA250.00%2.74%50.00%3.28%50.00%337.3450.00%3
1992 Veterans10.00%2.08%0.00%1.61%0.00%337.340.00%7
1993 BBWAA1100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%336.30100.00%4
1993 Veterans0N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A336.30N/A7
1994 BBWAA10.00%50.00%100.00%50.00%100.00%336.95100.00%4
1994 Veterans10.00%0.88%0.00%0.77%0.00%336.950.00%7
1995 BBWAA1100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%336.49100.00%5
1995 Veterans20.00%9.09%50.00%7.50%50.00%336.490.00%7
1996 BBWAA0N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A336.95N/A5
1996 Veterans10.00%1.59%0.00%1.25%0.00%336.950.00%7
1997 BBWAA1100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%100.00%336.49100.00%5
1997 Veterans10.00%5.00%100.00%5.00%100.00%336.490.00%8
1998 BBWAA10.00%8.33%0.00%8.33%100.00%336.520.00%6
1998 Veterans250.00%2.13%50.00%4.55%50.00%336.5250.00%7
1999 BBWAA366.67%30.00%100.00%27.27%100.00%336.3866.67%7
1999 Veterans10.00%5.88%100.00%5.88%100.00%336.380.00%7
2000 BBWAA250.00%50.00%100.00%50.00%100.00%337.23100.00%5
2000 Veterans10.00%5.56%100.00%5.56%100.00%337.230.00%7
2001 BBWAA250.00%3.45%50.00%8.00%50.00%337.2850.00%6
2001 Veterans10.00%0.66%0.00%0.00%0.00%337.280.00%7
2002 BBWAA10.00%10.00%100.00%10.00%100.00%336.770.00%7
2002 Veterans0N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A336.77N/A7
2003 BBWAA250.00%22.22%100.00%26.32%100.00%336.70100.00%7
2003 Veterans0N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A336.70N/A7
2004 BBWAA250.00%9.52%100.00%11.63%100.00%337.2350.00%7
2004 Veterans (No election)0N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A337.23N/A7

A couple things that I didnít do before but that Iíd like to do now are to compare each election against the current Hall of Fame average Win Share total (337.23) and to look at the active players each year and compare them against this total. First, checking for career Win Shares over 337:

Yrvoted by>336 WS Elig# Elected% electedDiff
1936BBWAA37513.51%32
1937BBWAA3438.82%31
1938BBWAA3213.13%31
1939BBWAA3213.13%31
1942BBWAA3013.33%29
1945BBWAA3200.00%32
1945Old Timers22313.64%19
1946BBWAA1000.00%10
1946Old Timers19210.53%17
1947BBWAA10220.00%8
1948BBWAA900.00%9
1949BBWAA10110.00%9
1949Old Timers1715.88%16
1950BBWAA900.00%9
1951BBWAA10220.00%8
1952BBWAA9222.22%7
1953BBWAA7114.29%6
1953Veterans1616.25%15
1954BBWAA700.00%7
1955BBWAA7114.29%6
1955Veterans1500.00%15
1956BBWAA600.00%6
1957Veterans1616.25%15
1958BBWAA500.00%5
1959Veterans1616.25%15
1960BBWAA400.00%4
1961Veterans15213.33%13
1962BBWAA400.00%4
1962Veterans1400.00%14
1963Veterans1417.14%13
1964BBWAA3133.33%2
1964Veterans13215.38%11
1965Veterans1119.09%10
1966BBWAA3133.33%2
1966Veterans1000.00%10
1967BBWAA200.00%2
1967Veterans1000.00%10
1968BBWAA200.00%2
1968Veterans1119.09%10
1969BBWAA2150.00%1
1969Veterans1000.00%10
1970BBWAA200.00%2
1970Veterans1000.00%10
1971BBWAA400.00%4
1971Veterans1000.00%10
1972BBWAA5120.00%4
1972Veterans1000.00%10
1973BBWAA4125.00%3
1973Veterans1119.09%10
1974BBWAA4125.00%3
1974Veterans1000.00%10
1975BBWAA300.00%3
1975Veterans1000.00%10
1976BBWAA3133.33%2
1976Veterans10110.00%9
1977BBWAA200.00%2
1977Veterans900.00%9
1978BBWAA2150.00%1
1978Veterans900.00%9
1979BBWAA2150.00%1
1979Veterans900.00%9
1980BBWAA22100.00%0
1980Veterans900.00%9
1981BBWAA100.00%1
1981Veterans9111.11%8
1982BBWAA4250.00%2
1982Veterans800.00%8
1983BBWAA4125.00%3
1983Veterans800.00%8
1984BBWAA3133.33%2
1984Veterans800.00%8
1985BBWAA3133.33%2
1985Veterans8112.50%7
1986BBWAA3133.33%2
1986Veterans700.00%7
1987BBWAA2150.00%1
1987Veterans700.00%7
1988BBWAA2150.00%1
1988Veterans700.00%7
1989BBWAA4250.00%2
1989Veterans700.00%7
1990BBWAA3133.33%2
1990Veterans700.00%7
1991BBWAA4250.00%2
1991Veterans700.00%7
1992BBWAA4125.00%3
1992Veterans700.00%7
1993BBWAA5120.00%4
1993Veterans700.00%7
1994BBWAA5120.00%4
1994Veterans700.00%7
1995BBWAA6116.67%5
1995Veterans700.00%7
1996BBWAA500.00%5
1996Veterans700.00%7
1997BBWAA6116.67%5
1997Veterans800.00%8
1998BBWAA600.00%6
1998Veterans8112.50%7
1999BBWAA9222.22%7
1999Veterans700.00%7
2000BBWAA7228.57%5
2000Veterans700.00%7
2001BBWAA7114.29%6
2001Veterans700.00%7
2002BBWAA700.00%7
2002Veterans700.00%7
2003BBWAA9222.22%7
2003Veterans700.00%7
2004BBWAA8112.50%7
2004Veterans700.00%7

Now, the totals per year:

Yr>336 WS EligElected% electedDiff
193637513.51%32
19373438.82%31
19383213.13%31
193932412.50%28
19423013.33%29
19453239.38%29
19462926.90%27
19472727.41%25
19482600.00%26
194927311.11%24
19502500.00%25
19512627.69%24
19522528.00%23
19532328.70%21
19542200.00%22
19552214.55%21
19562100.00%21
19572114.76%20
19582000.00%20
19592015.00%19
19601900.00%19
196119210.53%17
19621700.00%17
19631715.88%16
196416425.00%12
19651317.69%12
19661317.69%12
19671200.00%12
19681317.69%12
19691218.33%11
19701200.00%12
19711400.00%14
19721516.67%14
197315213.33%13
19741417.14%13
19751300.00%13
197613215.38%11
19771100.00%11
19781119.09%10
19791119.09%10
198011218.18%9
198110110.00%9
198212216.67%10
19831218.33%11
19841119.09%10
198511218.18%9
198610110.00%9
19879111.11%8
19889111.11%8
198911218.18%9
199010110.00%9
199111218.18%9
19921119.09%10
19931218.33%11
19941218.33%11
19951317.69%12
19961200.00%12
19971417.14%13
19981417.14%13
199916212.50%14
200014214.29%12
20011417.14%13
20021400.00%14
200316212.50%14
20041516.67%14

OK, so the Hall was selecting these players gradually and whittling them down into the single digits. That is, until recently. The numbers have gone up over the last dozen years. There are more eligible candidates with at least as many career Win Shares as the Hall average today then there were in 1980 or 1990.

Letís see whoís being singled out. Here is the number of active players per year who would achieve 337 Win Shares over their careers with a breakdown by who is and who is not in the Hall:

YrTotal>336 WS%TotalNot in Hall%In Hall%
187111510.87%0.00%1100.00%
187215610.64%0.00%1100.00%
187312510.80%0.00%1100.00%
187412310.81%0.00%1100.00%
187521820.92%0.00%2100.00%
187612410.81%0.00%1100.00%
18779711.03%0.00%1100.00%
18788022.50%0.00%2100.00%
187912743.15%0.00%4100.00%
188013585.93%0.00%8100.00%
188113296.82%111.11%888.89%
1882251103.98%110.00%990.00%
188328293.19%111.11%888.89%
1884782111.41%218.18%981.82%
1885353113.12%19.09%1090.91%
1886351113.13%218.18%981.82%
1887333123.60%325.00%975.00%
1888351143.99%321.43%1178.57%
1889342144.09%321.43%1178.57%
1890574183.14%316.67%1583.33%
1891409204.89%420.00%1680.00%
1892310216.77%523.81%1676.19%
1893286186.29%633.33%1266.67%
1894294186.12%422.22%1477.78%
1895305144.59%214.29%1285.71%
1896295144.75%214.29%1285.71%
1897280155.36%320.00%1280.00%
1898323134.02%323.08%1076.92%
1899348144.02%321.43%1178.57%
1900195157.69%320.00%1280.00%
1901412163.88%318.75%1381.25%
1902455163.52%425.00%1275.00%
1903400143.50%321.43%1178.57%
1904406153.69%320.00%1280.00%
1905407163.93%318.75%1381.25%
1906437153.43%320.00%1280.00%
1907446163.59%318.75%1381.25%
1908470163.40%318.75%1381.25%
1909543173.13%317.65%1482.35%
1910538173.16%317.65%1482.35%
1911567193.35%315.79%1684.21%
1912630152.38%213.33%1386.67%
1913616172.76%317.65%1482.35%
1914795172.14%15.88%1694.12%
1915796172.14%15.88%1694.12%
1916565183.19%15.56%1794.44%
1917516163.10%212.50%1487.50%
1918505122.38%18.33%1191.67%
1919534122.25%18.33%1191.67%
1920514112.14% 0.00%11100.00%
1921520122.31% 0.00%12100.00%
1922513122.34% 0.00%12100.00%
1923530132.45% 0.00%13100.00%
1924547152.74% 0.00%15100.00%
1925557173.05% 0.00%17100.00%
1926526213.99% 0.00%21100.00%
1927541193.51% 0.00%19100.00%
1928530173.21% 0.00%17100.00%
1929530152.83% 0.00%15100.00%
1930531163.01% 0.00%16100.00%
1931509122.36% 0.00%12100.00%
1932527142.66% 0.00%14100.00%
1933491142.85% 0.00%14100.00%
1934521132.50% 0.00%13100.00%
1935513132.53% 0.00%13100.00%
1936510142.75% 0.00%14100.00%
1937526142.66% 0.00%14100.00%
1938530122.26% 0.00%12100.00%
1939579132.25% 0.00%13100.00%
1940541112.03% 0.00%11100.00%
1941582132.23% 0.00%13100.00%
1942539122.23% 0.00%12100.00%
194355761.08% 0.00%6100.00%
194456961.05% 0.00%6100.00%
194557940.69% 0.00%4100.00%
194668281.17% 0.00%8100.00%
1947582101.72% 0.00%10100.00%
1948573101.75% 0.00%10100.00%
1949573101.75% 0.00%10100.00%
195057791.56% 0.00%9100.00%
1951616101.62% 0.00%10100.00%
1952632101.58% 0.00%10100.00%
1953586101.71% 0.00%10100.00%
1954576122.08% 0.00%12100.00%
1955655142.14% 0.00%14100.00%
1956621152.42% 0.00%15100.00%
1957615152.44% 0.00%15100.00%
1958638152.35% 0.00%15100.00%
1959632172.69% 0.00%17100.00%
1960637172.67% 0.00%17100.00%
1961698182.58% 0.00%18100.00%
1962760202.63% 0.00%20100.00%
1963752243.19%312.50%2187.50%
1964754253.32%312.00%2288.00%
1965751273.60%311.11%2488.89%
1966774243.10%312.50%2187.50%
1967786273.44%311.11%2488.89%
1968715263.64%311.54%2388.46%
1969932262.79%415.38%2284.62%
1970919262.83%519.23%2180.77%
1971883273.06%518.52%2281.48%
1972888303.38%620.00%2480.00%
1973892303.36%620.00%2480.00%
1974914323.50%618.75%2681.25%
1975907313.42%619.35%2580.65%
1976886333.72%927.27%2472.73%
1977984303.05%826.67%2273.33%
1978960282.92%725.00%2175.00%
1979961313.23%1032.26%2167.74%
1980950303.16%930.00%2170.00%
1981944303.18%1136.67%1963.33%
1982992323.23%1340.63%1959.38%
19831006323.18%1340.63%1959.38%
1984984303.05%1550.00%1550.00%
1985998292.91%1551.72%1448.28%
19861017313.05%1548.39%1651.61%
19871048282.67%1450.00%1450.00%
19881035252.42%1664.00%936.00%
19891073242.24%1770.83%729.17%
19901115232.06%1565.22%834.78%
19911086211.93%1466.67%733.33%
19921066211.97%1466.67%733.33%
19931180201.69%1470.00%630.00%
19941030161.55%1381.25%318.75%
19951253151.20%1280.00%320.00%
19961253151.20%1280.00%320.00%
19971236161.29%1381.25%318.75%
19981322110.83%1090.91%19.09%
19991299100.77%10100.00%0.00%
2000138290.65%9100.00%0.00%
20011339100.75%10100.00%0.00%
2002131960.45%6100.00%0.00%
Avg8328421242.55%48122.65%164377.35%

It seems that the expansion-era players have been singled out as well as us, the fans of expansion-era baseball, to be roundly ignored by the Hall (that is, unless you can remember the War Betwixt the States or at least WWI pretty clearly). Doesnít this seem evident in what the writers and veteran players have been saying lately: they donít like the wimpy DH. They donít like wimpy starters who canít finish games. They donít like watered down staffs. They donít like closers picking up cheap saves with a three-run lead in the ninth. They donít like inflated power numbers. They donít like Astroturf, steroids, domes, multi-purpose stadiums, divisions, extra rounds of playoffs. They donít like Mondays: they want to shoot the whole thing down. They basically donít like the game thatís been played over the last 40 years, and they devalue the stars from this era. Well, maybe not the Barry Bondses and Roger Clemenses. But certainly the Lou Whitakers and Darrell Evanses.

So what is to be done?

Many say nothing must be done. The Hall has finally adopted a reasonable standard they say and it's about time. These are the same people who told you when you were eight that there was no Santa Claus and who wouldn't flip baseball cards for fear of damaging them.

If they want two Hall of Fames, one for ye olde tyme players represented by the likes of Tommy McCarthy and Travis Jackson and one for post-expansion players in which Ron Santo and Ryne Sandberg have to buy a ticket, then that's fine. It's not fair, but if you're OK with that, then have at it. Oh, but it's problematic: what happens in fifty years or a hundred? Is this a line drawn in the sand or a momentary blip on the radar? What if Tommy McCarthy's great-great-great-great-great-grandson follows in his forebear's footsteps and is among the worst players in the Hall of Fame while Darrell Evans III is still on the outside? So the heroes or of my youth are supposed to wait on the outside. Why me? It's all a plot against me personally. And I don't like that.

Some will say that the Hall is no longer relevant, that if you know enough to pick out the poor Hall choices, then you have your own ideas about who's Hall-worthy. Well, aren't you special? If you don't care, then you don't get a say. I do care and a great deal of other people do, too. We want a real Hall of Fame, a fair and balanced Hall of Fame. Again I take this as a personal attack on me or rather my values. Remember, just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean people are not against you.

My megalomania aside, neither of these two responses takes care of the Hall's problems. Even if you accept the double standard now being employed, what do you say to Babe Dahlgren and Tony Mullane? (Remember they're dead, so you'll need a medium or maybe an extra-large.)

Here are the things I would change:

First, eliminate the 5% rule. There have been twenty Hall of Famers voted in by the baseball writers who at one time in their candidacy received less than five percent of the writer vote (including Warren Spahn, who received one vote while active). All but 15 of the veteransí choices would fail that test.

Besides there are now a good number of strong candidates who were removed from the writersí ballot due to this rule. Four of the five top candidates (by Win Shares) who should be eligible to the writersí ballot have been removed. The only one who was on the ballot in 2004 has now been voted into the Hall (Paul Molitor). So the top four will not be on the ballot next year (though they would then behind freshman candidate Wade Boggs).

Yes, history tells us that the field must be narrowed or no one candidate will reach the prescribed number of votes, but there are better ways to do this, which I'll go into later.

History also tells us that the more voters involved, the fewer the number players selected. The most efficient body had always been the old (pre-2003) veterans committees, who are usually very small in number especially when compared with the baseball writers' voting body.

That's why my next suggestion may seem a bit odd. I think the vote should be broadened beyond the baseball writers. One advantage opening the vote to more informed individuals is that the eccentricities of a certain body or of the leader of that body, the cause of most of the poor choices in the Hall, can be minimized. (Remember Ted Williams support of Dom DiMaggio? How about Joe Morgan's current devotion to Dave Concepcion?)

Besides, the fact that the custodians of the Hall are the writers on a fluke. Why? Because the baseball writers were the entire media in the mid-Thirties. There were a scant few radio broadcasts and no TV broadcasts as yetónot even on ESPN. Baseball scholarship was based on the Reach and Spalding baseball guides, that were soon to become the Sporting News guide. Henry Chadwick had passed on and Bill James was not yet born. The Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) was not yet a twinkle in the eye of founder L. Robert Davids. Al Gore had yet to invent the Internet.

Now, beat writers who cover baseball have devolved to lookerroom hangers-on who act as a conduit for Carl Everett's latest tantrum as well as a lightning rod for the locals collective angst. Even at the outset, the writers acknowledged that they had no affinity for the old time players. In 1939, their head approached commissioner Landis to cede the sovereignty over the nineteenth-century players to the Hall's Permanent Committee (as the Old Timers Committee). The writers were promised authority over all twentieth-century players, a promise that lasted only seven years (and was thoroughly blurred even during those seven years). In 1946, the writers' authority was limited to all players who were active in the previous 25 years, and that number has varied ever since (now 20 years). The abdicated control over 60 years ago. Now's the time for a better system to step in.

So what's my proposal? Enfranchise the TV and radio broadcasters, the Internet writers, the SABR scholars, player (active and retired), and even the fans. Add everyone willy-nilly? Well, willy, but definitely nilly. I propose that the same standard (10 years experience) be employed throughout. TV and radio broadcasters need ten years experience to get a vote. All SABR members with 10 years of membership get a vote. Internet writers are required to have been covering the game for at least two seasons (10 wouldn't work). The fans are problematic, but I think if you split the groups into separate bodies.

But how could anyone ever garner the support of so many diverse people? That brings me to my next suggestion: Lower the threshold for election from 75% to 50%. "Shock and horrors!" you say? Well, we have already seen that the only player to pass through the writers ballot without being elected while amassing more than half the votes was Gil Hodges. And Hodges will be the first player selected by the vets once they straighten out their system. There are actively eligible players who have received more than 50% of the writers' vote (Sandberg, Rice, Sutter, and Dawson), but they all have a very good chance of being elected.

You may also say that some individuals will be granted multiple votes due to their membership in multiple groups. Joe Morgan, that Renaissance man he, would have a vote as an ex-player, as a TV broadcaster, as an Internet writer, and presumably as a fan ( I doubt he's in SABR, but I'll check). I would have three votes myself: as a SABR member, as an internet scribe, and as a fan. I say that's OK, not only because I like the power, but because the separation of the groups will minimize the effects stemming from this multiple personality disorder.

My next suggestion is to eliminate the Veterans Committee. The voters will be rolled into one of the bodies above and their candidates will be thrown back in with the rest of the ballplayers. I think that the average fan is aware of Ron Santo and Gil Hodges.

However, opening the vote to all past players while broadening the voting community seems like a recipe for the logjam disasters of the past that brought about the veterans committee in the first place. Well, my next suggestion is to limit the players eligible to around 25-30 via a nominating phase. Have fans vote on the All-Star ballot. Coordinate the other groups' votes to coincide with the All-Star game as well. Take the top 5 from each ballot. If there is overlap, pick the next candidate by averaging the percentages across all groups. If you don't like that, have the SABR scholars pick the 25 best candidates.

At the All-Star game, announce the Hall of Fame candidates. Let the writers and broadcasters voice their opinions during the season when more people are listening. Then have the final vote at the end of the season or during the offseason. Average the percentages across all groups or require that the candidate meet the voting requirements in four of the (By the way, a number of these suggestions were made by Bill James in his Hall of Fame book as well. I agree with the spirit of his proposals, but tweaked the details.)

OK, that's what we do going forward, and I expect the Clark family, that runs the Hall of Fame as well as the city of Cooperstown, to come knocking any minute to implement it. However, I have a suggestion for the past blunders. I think all of the Veterans Committee selection from the past should be thrown open for review. The baseball writers have made their fair share of questionable calls (Catfish Hunter and Rollie Fingers come to mind), but their choices have been far better and have been free of the rank scent of cronyism. Here's a table of all the Grade-D Hall of Famers voted in by the Veterans:

NameWin SharesInducted
Tommy McCarthy1701946
Lefty Gomez1851972
Chick Hafey1861971
Ray Schalk1911955
Addie Joss1911978
Freddie Lindstrom1931976
George Kelly1931973
Ross Youngs2061972
Rick Ferrell2061984
Jesse Haines2071970
Rube Marquard2081971
Jack Chesbro2091946
Travis Jackson2111982
Hughie Jennings2141945
Ernie Lombardi2181986
Bill Mazeroski2192001
Hack Wilson2241979

Notice that most were selected during the crony-laden Seventies and mid-Forties. Of those listed, Maz, who is arguably the best defensive second baseman ever, is probably the best candidate. By means of comparison, here are the Grade-D baseball writers-inducted Hall of Famers:

NameWin SharesInducted
Dizzy Dean1811953
Rollie Fingers1881992
Sandy Koufax1941972
Catfish Hunter2061987
Roy Campanella2071969

Of those, Koufax is considered by many to be among the greatest left-handers of all time and Campanella is probably among the top five catchers. Dean, Fingers, and Hunter are iffy, at best, choices but I think the Hall can sustain them. Meanwhile, Joss doesn't even qualify for election to the Hall (only nine years of service). And the rest of the veterans' list are usually the ones pointed to as the worst selections of all time. Now, I'm not saying Win Shares (alone) should be the deciding factor. They do tend to point one to the poorest choices though.

Have the SABR scholars review them and remove the poor choices. (That includes non-Hall-worthy executives, of which Morgan Bulkeley is the worst. He has no more business being in the Hall than anyone ever affiliated with the game. His claim to fame was being the first NL president for a year until William Hulbert, the real power in the early NL, decided that he wanted the until-then figurehead position.) It should be a one-time readjustment, and I would prefer that only deceased players be expunged. We don't want people thinking their childhood star that cruised into the Hall will one-day be un-enshrined.

By removing these players, the Hall will regain its air of credibility. It would also undercut the arguments for many candidates who are similarly unworthy of enshrinement. Decommission their plaques and sell'em on Ebay.

Well, there it is. It took long enough to get here, but I hope it was worth the ride. You don't have to agree with it. I'm sure there are other plans that work better. But I hope that you agree that something has to change. Let's start the conversation rolling so we can fix this mess.


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