Friday, January 20, 2017

Jorge Posada and the 10-player limit

Jorge Posada didn't draw the magical 5 percent of the vote from the writers, so he's off the Hall of Fame ballot for future elections.

This is unfortunate. Posada is, in truth, a highly qualified candidate. But he's hardly the only such to be one-and-done with the writers. So too were Kenny Lofton and Jim Edmonds; Bernie Williams got only two turns on the writer's ballot. And that's just three center fielders.

There are a couple of issues involved here:

  • The oversupply of highly qualified candidates on the ballot and
  • The 10-player limit for the writers.

Not every voter fills out the 10 slots, but far more do now than were even five years ago, in part because five years ago the writers weren't electing anybody, and there was beginning to be a sense that some other means of selecting inductees would be needed. More writers voting for 10, or even eight, candidates instead of two or three means more opportunity for players to get elected -- or even to stay on the ballot.

Ten slots for a ballot with 34 names (as was the case this year) sounds ample, but a goodly number of writers said they saw 17, or 18, players worthy of strong consideration for those slots. Posada may have been No. 15 on somebody's list, and thus left off, but that doesn't mean they thought him unworthy of a vote -- just less worthy than 10 others.

Abolishing, or at least raising, the limit has been proposed repeatedly and gone nowhere. I suppose the downside to easing the restriction is encouraging frivolous votes, like the one vote Tim Wakefield got this year. But I would be willing to bet the frivolous votes (and there are a handful every year) come from voters who (a) don't fill all 10 slots anyway and (b) will stop casting them when the votes are made public, as will be the case beginning next year.

And the benefit of making it easier for the likes of Posada and Edmonds to stick on the ballot a few more years seems to outweigh the drawback.


  1. Given Tony Olivia's slow climb, and not corrected by the Veteran's Committee, the Hall has become much too exclusive!

    I personally do not believe cheaters should be admitted ... because not all the players in that era cheated. They all did not take PED's! Mark Maguire hit way more HR's than Maras or Ruth. Bonds hit more HR's at over 35 than at 25, in the prime if his life.

    It is too hard to differentiate.

  2. How can MLB honor super performances of players who enhanced them with PED's ... or whatever their supplement of choice?

    They did compete against players who were clean.

    Therefore no HOF for them!

    ""Olympian (Usain) Bolt stripped of gold after teammate tests positive By Karolos Grohmann, Reuters Today at 9:40 a.m.""

    Though this occured eight years ago, the Olympic Committee announced this today (01.25.2017):

    ""Methylhexanamine has been on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code prohibited list since 2004 although it was reclassified on the 2011 list as a "specified substance".""