It’s finally here. Today we learn whether or not there will actually be a 2013 inductee into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Much has been made over the last several weeks about this particular election because of the steroid “era” and how it has impacted the voting. Will they vote for steroid users? What about ‘suspected’ users? What about rumors or innuendos? What if they used a magical gold thong for good luck during at-bats (thank you, Jason Giambi)? I get it…it’s tough to weed out those that did versus those that didn’t and while I’m sure it’s difficult for writers to come to a conclusion of who is deserving of baseball’s highest honor, I’m of the belief the voting process needs to be tweaked.
On December 26th, I wrote a post on this site about the upcoming Hall of Fame vote & the number of articles that will be written (or have been) for/against certain candidates. Within that post, I made mention of the selection process and asked the following questions: “Why just writers? Why aren’t broadcasters, who’ve covered the game just as meticulously as any writer may have, not allowed to vote?” The more I thought about it, the more I agreed with myself…shocker, I know.
Look, I have nothing against the writers that cover the Angels or any other team or baseball in general on a national basis. It’s a tough job & it’s a grind. Good for them that after 10 consecutive years of covering the game as a member of the Baseball Writer’s Association of America, they’ve ‘earned’ the right to vote on those that will or won’t be enshrined in Cooperstown. But what happens when you get someone like T.J. Quinn (great article), who qualifies under those guidelines but doesn’t vote because he really doesn’t cover the game like he once did? You get an empty ballot….just like you would if a writer’s newspaper or outlet prohibited them from casting a ballot. I don’t think anyone has ever claimed it’s the perfect system, it’s just the system that happens to be in place & has been for some time.
Hear me out because my wheels are always churning. This is what I’ve been mulling over. There are 16 living Ford C. Frick Award recipients, which is presented annually for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum (Hall of Fame Broadcasters). They are: Marty Brennaman, Jerry Coleman, Gene Elston, Joe Garagiola, Jaime Jarrin, Milo Hamilton, Tony Kubek, Denny Matthews, Tim McCarver, Jon Miller, Felo Ramirez, Vin Scully, Lon Simmons, Bob Uecker, Dave Van Horne & Bob Wolff. Here’s what I take away from this list: 1) Over 650 years of combined baseball broadcasting service (I’m not good at math but that’s a lot of big league time); 2) 5 of those listed ALSO played Major League Baseball (McCarver, Kubek, Coleman, Uecker & Garagiola); & 3) 11 that are still calling games (also by my count). How are they not part of the voting process?
What about other broadcasters that have called games for over 20 years & still working? Guys like Eric Nadel, Ken Korach, Bill Brown, Jerry Howarth, Joe Castiglione, Gary Cohen, Rick Rizzs, etc.
That’s just the broadcasting side of things. What about executives like Pat Gillick (Hall of Famer), John Schuerholz or Dave Dombrowski? Or scouts like Mel Didier, Don Welke or Gary Hughes? They’ve spent the majority of their adult lives evaluating talent on many different levels. Doesn’t anyone think they’d be qualified to vote?
I don’t know if it’ll happen but I think inclusion needs to occur when it comes to the voting process. Change is never easy & you’re never going to appease everyone…it’s just not possible. So I propose the following for the creation of a new Hall of Fame voting panel:
1) Every living recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award (broadcasters);
2) Every living recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award (writers);
3) Randomly select 10 qualifying members of the BBWAA (not including Spink Award winners);
4) Randomly select 10 living members (players) of the Hall of Fame;
5) Randomly select 10 current-day broadcasters with 20 or more years of broadcasting service (not including Frick Award winners); and
6) Randomly select 10 current-day executives/scouts with 20 or more years of service.
• Random selection would occur annually
The voting criteria would go as follows:
1) A player would still need the requisite 75% of the vote in order to be enshrined;
2) No limit on amount of players to be voted on;
3) Reduce the eligibility window to 10 years from the current 15 years; and
4) Ballots are secret & the names of writers, current broadcasters, executives/scouts & Hall of Fame player’s pool would remain anonymous.
I’m not saying the voting process is broken…not in the least. All I’m saying is that if you can make something better, then why not try tweaking it accordingly? I have no idea if what I proposed would word work or even appease everyone, but I do know that you would at the very least get an incredibly qualified & varied representation of everyone in & around the game. To me, that’s what I want when we’re talking about the best of the best.
Livin’ the dream…