Monday, December 29, 2014

My theoretical Hall of Fame ballot

The big doings in baseball news this week is the Hall of Fame balloting, with the last of the BBWAA members taking part scrambling to meet the deadline.

I don't have a vote, because I'm not a 10-year member of the BBWAA (or any tenure member, for that matter). Which is fine, because I don't cover baseball for a living.

The thing is, neither do most of the electorate. They have, for a few years, in the past. Or they have some tangential connection to a newspaper's coverage. But this has become one (just one) of the structural problems with the selection process: The BBWAA's Hall of Fame electorate is bloated with golf writers and basketball writers and copy editors who never leave the office.

The Hall of Fame selection process, as Bill James detailed years ago, was never well thought-out and isn't well designed today, and it probably never will be. Which is part of why thinking people have issues with it, and certainly part of why there are this year 18 or so candidates on the ballot who are, by established standards, qualified (or overqualified) for election.

Another of the structural problems is the 10-player limit on ballots. Had the writers been doing their job well, it wouldn't be an issue. The limit makes it almost impossible for the writers to clear the backlog.

The Hall this year shortened the length of time a player can be on the BBWAA ballot. This appears to be designed to get such players as Alan Trammell and Tim Raines, underappreciated by the ink-stained wretches, into the jurisdiction of the veterans committees. Maybe that will work.

Anyway, my 10, in no particular order:

1) Barry Bonds
2) Roger Clemens
3) Tim Raines
4) Alan Trammell
5) Randy Johnson
6) Pedro Martinez
7) Mike Mussina
8) Jeff Bagwell
9) Craig Biggio
10) John Smoltz

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