Dugout Dirt: A Fresh Start to 2013


Happy New Year! Next week features one of my favorite days of the month.

The results of the Baseball Hall of Fame voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America will be televised on the MLB Network on January 9th.

I don’t know what will happen when the results are announced. I know that several votes have been made public by writers in columns.

Then there are those who have decided not to vote this year like John Fay (Reds beat writer for Cincinnati Enquirer) and T.J. Quinn (ESPN).

There’s a big difference in the voting when it comes to blank ballots and not mailing them back. The BBWAA explains in their frequently asked questions:

A player must be named on 75 percent of the ballots returned to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Blank ballots count toward the overall total, but unreturned ones do not.

In Fay’s case, he wrote that he “rather not vote than send in a ballot I don’t fully believe in.”

As for T.J. Quinn, he stopped voting two years ago. But for this year’s inductions, he writes:

I have come to the conclusion that it isn’t my mess to solve, and I wouldn’t be qualified to solve it even if it were.

In his column, Quinn went as far as proposing how he thinks voting should be done:

But at the end of the day, the game, the Hall and journalism would be better served if voting was limited to a select group of veterans, historians and even journalists — if they’re the right journalists. Columnists and national writers who have devoted their careers to the game, not dabblers. That wouldn’t solve the problem of how to evaluate players in the age of modern chemistry, but at least the right group would be making the call.

It’s an interesting proposal.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has a nomination process that is very different from baseball. They have four different screening committees that make recommendations to the Honors Committee.

There are 24 people on each of the four Honors Committees. They include Hall of Famers, basketball executives, media members and other contributors to the game. A core group of 12 people sit on all four committees. Twelve specialists are then added to the International Committee while 12 others are added to the Women’s Committee. Twelve other specialists review both the Veterans Committee and the North American Committee. These specialists have an intimate understanding of the specific category of play considered by their committee. A person needs a minimum of 18 votes from an Honors Committee to be Enshrined into the BHOF.

A candidate not considered for induction after 5 straight years of being a finalist would see their candidacy suspended for 5 years before being considered again.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame offers a FAQ on their selection process.

Whether baseball needs to make any changes, I don’t know. Would Quinn’s proposal work? Maybe.