This got lost in the trade deadline furor, but last week the Hall of Fame's governing board announced that "inactive" members of the Baseball Writers Association of America were being stripped of their Hall of Fame voting rights.
One of those, Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune, wrote this week that 130 lifetime BBWAA members were losing their voting privileges. That's about 20 percent of last winter's electorate.
Hersh's column, written to protest his lost privilege, inadvertently did a pretty good job of justifying the Hall's decision. He got the voting rules wrong (after some online ridicule, that's been corrected in the online version) and spent several paragraphs promoting Mark Belanger's HOF case. The Blade was indeed a marvelous defensive shortstop, but he couldn't hit.
Anyway, bouncing Hersh and the 129 others figures to sharpen the electorate going forward, which might -- might -- help deal with the backlog of highly-qualified candidates on the writers ballot. Those voters patting themselves on the back because they had four inductees each of the last two summers miss the point: They picked the lowest-handing fruit (seven of the eight were first-ballot candidates); they're running to stand still.
This winter Ken Griffey Jr, and Trevor Hoffman will be among the newcomers to the ballot. Griffey's a shoo-in, and Hoffman's a legitimate candidate, but so are all 17 of the holdovers. This will be an interesting test of the revamped electorate.