The Hall of Fame process is broken

It’s January and that can mean only one thing for baseball fans: time to discuss/argue about the upcoming MLB Hall of Fame Induction announcement (which will be airing on MLB Network Tuesday afternoon). With baseball currently involved in a lockout (which I’m sure you are hating as much as I am), that means the only real baseball talking points right now are focused around the voting that is going on.

Luckily, I am a member of the IBWAA which announced their voting results last week. Here they are:

So David Ortiz was the lone new inductee this year and since I know someone will ask, as a group, we elected Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens back in 2018 so they were not on the ballot. With that being said, here is my ballot:
I went with ten picks (which I could have voted for 12 per IBWAA voting rules) with Ortiz and Rodriguez being my two new votes, as this was their first year for eligibility. I’ve made many arguments for the other candidates I have voted for over the years, which you can read here (that should have all my Hall of Fame articles that I have written here on the site over the last 9+ years).
Credit: Getty Images

Now, the BBWAA announcement is coming on Tuesday and here is where the voting currently stands as of Saturday afternoon:

If you want to check the Hall of Fame tracker, you can go to bbhoftracker.com. I also recommend you follow Ryan Thibodaux on Twitter, as Ryan and his crew do great work during this season and he is a must follow if you are even slightly interested in the voting process.

Right now it looks like David Ortiz has a decent chance of being voted in while Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will probably see a sizable drop once the rest of the results are announced and fall below the 75% threshold you need for election. This is Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Clemens and Curt Schilling’s last year on the ballot and as of now it looks like they will move on to the Era Committees for their next opportunity for election.

There have been three candidates that have seen an increase of over ten votes from returning voters this year and they are Todd Helton (12), Scott Rolen (12), and Billy Wagner (10). These are all candidates that I have voted for over the years and I hope this means their journey to induction is looking more realistic over the next couple of years.
Scott Rolen Belongs in the Hall of Fame - Viva El Birdos

You might have noticed in years past I have written write-ups on all the candidates and gone in detail on why I voted the way I have. So what has changed? While time is one reason, the main reason is my enthusiasm for the Hall of Fame has waned. This used to be a fun procedure with excitement building leading up to the big announcement. Instead, it has become very obvious what is going to happen and rather than acknowledge the issues that many voters have had with the process, their lack of action has spoken volumes of how they seem to be fine with how the voting has turned out over the last decade.

I wrote about this last year, which is fairly summed up here:

“Because of this, over the last 10-15 years it has become more about the issues within the game than trying to honor the individual performances. I know the writers are mostly trying to do their best to honor the right people, but because of this lack of direction many writers want nothing to do with it.”

So while I still enjoy voting and love breaking down player’s stats and going through the process of why someone should be elected, I don’t have that warm fuzzy feeling when it comes to how the Hall of Fame has handled their voting and I’ve gained more and more respect for voters like Ben Lindbergh, who has abstained from voting.

I don’t expect a perfect process or even for everyone to vote the way I would. I’ve done a good job this year of not critiquing others ballot’s (and boy, there have been a few doozies) and I recognize not everyone is a “Big Hall” person. But I do think this should be a fun discourse and I am very open to hearing arguments as to why they vote players in who I might not feel are worthy at the moment. The problem, like almost everything else nowadays, is people who can’t have a conversation about such things without name calling or some other derisive form of communication.

Credit: Associated Press

So I will pay attention on Tuesday and be curious to where a couple players (Rolen, Wagner, etc.) end up finally landing, but I won’t waste many words on a process that feels broken. I would much rather spend my time on things I enjoy and less on something I disagree with. Be happy for the players, be happy there is some sort of process still in place, but don’t waste your energy on something when the people in charge can’t be bothered to take the time to fix their mess.

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