Hall of Fame: Up to BBWAA to propose vote changes

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 9, 2014 at 11:09 pm •  Published: January 9, 2014
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NEW YORK (AP) — The Hall of Fame says it's up to baseball writers to propose any changes in the selection process.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America has voted on Hall of Fame candidates since 1936, and elections have become more controversial in recent years as stars tainted by accusations of steroids use have fallen well short of the 75 percent needed for entry to Cooperstown.

Writers are limited to a maximum 10 votes, and some say there's a logjam as Barry Bonds, Rogers Clemens and Mark McGwire remain on the ballot at a time new players are added.

The Hall electorate includes anyone who has been a BBWAA member for 10 consecutive years at any point. Some say the voting group should be expanded beyond writers.

"We're happy," Hall chairman Jane Forbes Clark said Thursday after a news conference to introduce 2014 electees Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas. "We're in an age where everyone does want to be heard, but we really see this as an issue that needs to be dealt with by the BBWAA."

Dan Le Batard was kicked out of the BBWAA for one year and barred from future Hall votes on Thursday after he turned over his 2014 ballot to the website Deadspin, which allowed readers to choose the selections. Le Batard, an ESPN host and longtime Miami Herald columnist, said Wednesday he gave his ballot to the website because he detests the "hypocrisy" in the voting process and it "needs remodeling in a new media world."

"The BBWAA regards Hall of Fame voting as the ultimate privilege, and any abuse of that privilege is unacceptable," the organization said in a statement.

BBWAA Secretary-Treasurer Jack O'Connell said ballots averaged 8.4 players this year and just over half of the 571 voters used all 10 picks.

"I don't think that in any situation one needs to react to a one-off and change an entire process," Clark said.

The BBWAA decided last month to form a committee to study whether the 10-man limit should be altered. The committee, chaired by BBWAA immediate past president Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, is expected to report back to membership in July.

While the BBWAA long was limited to reporters for newspapers and news agencies, a small number of website writers have been allowed to join in recent years. Broadcasters and MLB.com reporters are excluded.

The Hall of Fame electorate includes anyone who has been a BBWAA member for 10 consecutive years at any point.

ESPN broadcaster Keith Olbermann advocates eliminating the 10-players restriction and increasing the voting pool.

"The idea of exclusively the baseball writers voting for the Hall of Famers is a vestige of state-of-the-art media of the '30s and '40s," he said. "It was a very, very good and inclusive idea then. Shortly after it was instituted, it began to become less inclusive, to the point now where maybe baseball writers, the beat writers, are not a large enough group or may not be the most-informed group. Certainly they're not the exclusively informed group."



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