In 48 hours since the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America announced their Hall of Fame elections, they have already made a change in advance of their 2014 vote for the class of 2015.
The reason I didn’t vote for Maddux, Thomas, and Biggio was I was certain they would get in without my vote (I was wrong to worry about Glavine getting in and also Jeff Kent staying on the ballot). Since, I only had 10 votes to get people in, I felt justified, if saddened, to leave those players off the ballot to give chances to others.
However, that issue has been addressed. In 24 hours, the IBWAA reached consensus on expanding the vote to a maximum of 15 players per ballot next year. I can only tell you that greatly helps the situation.
By a margin of 56-48 the @IBWAA has voted to raise the candidate-limit in its 2014 HOF election to 15. Consensus by email in 24 hrs.
— IBWAA (@IBWAA) January 8, 2014
The final vote was 56-48. There was a vote shortly before the latest round of balloting for the vote upcoming in 2014, but IBWAA founder Howard Cole said that there was limited response to that vote. Now with only a few less than the casted Hall of Fame votes (104 ballot expansion votes vs 113 hof votes), the group has made a decision.
In contrast, the BBWAA created a committee to review whether to bring the question of expansion to 15 to the Hall of Fame last month. The jury is still out.
I was one of the 56 in favor of expanding the vote. Just as with the 10 person limit, you don’t have to fill in 15 total names. If you don’t think there are 15 hall of famers on the list, you don’t have to use all 15 slots. However, times change and the current unload of very talented players on the last few ballots, and the next few, may require some wiggle room.
This is the good thing about the IBWAA. They are willing to approach change. They are willing to enact change. I understand trying to keep our voting process similar to that of the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. It was a close vote on whether or not to increase. Adding more slots could lead to more players getting elected, which could lead to watering down the honor. I get that. But I don’t think weathering the storm or muscling through the backlog is the right idea. The IBWAA will now never be able to debate Don Mattingly as a player, he fell off the ballot this time through, only catching 4.42% of the ballot. If I had 15 slots, I might have voted for him (out of a pool of Kent, Tim Raines and Alan Trammell). That one vote would have kept him on to debate another year.
The IBWAA currently uses the same formula to induct players into our hall of fame as the BBWAA uses to induct players into the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. 75% of the vote gets you in, 5% keeps you on. I was in favor of either increasing the number of names that could go on the ballot, or decreasing the threshold where a player falls off the ballot to 1%. I think the ballot increase was the better option.
Now for the next part of this article, we’ll need the results from the IBWAA election.
Complete 2014 voting results are as follows:
Player Name, Votes, Percentage
Greg Maddux, 111, 98.23%, Tom Glavine, 100, 88.50%, Frank Thomas, 95, 84.07%,Craig Biggio, 89, 78.76%
Jeff Bagwell, 78, 69.03%, Barry Bonds, 65, 57.52%, Roger Clemens, 64, 56.64%, Barry Larkin, 57, 50.44%, Tim Raines, 56, 49.56%, Curt Schilling, 42, 37.17%, Jack Morris, 36, 31.86%, Mike Mussina, 36, 31.86%, Edgar Martinez, 33, 29.20%, Jeff Kent, 27, 23.89%, Lee Smith, 26, 23.01%, Alan Trammell, 25, 22.12%, Mark McGwire, 16, 14.16%, Fred McGriff, 13, 11.50%, Larry Walker, 13, 11.50%, Sammy Sosa, 8, 7.08%, Rafael Palmeiro, 6, 5.31%
Don Mattingly, 5, 4.42%, Moises Alou, 2, 1.77%, Eric Gagne, 1, 0.88%, Luis Gonzalez, 1, 0.88%, Mike Timlin, 1, 0.88%, Armando Benitez, 0, 0.00%, Sean Casey, 0, 0.00%, Ray Durham, 0, 0.00%, Jacques Jones, 0, 0.00%, Todd Jones, 0, 0.00%, Paul Lo Duca, 0, 0.00%, Hideo Nomo, 0, 0.00%, Kenny Rogers, 0, 0.00%, Richie Sexson, 0, 0.00%, J.T. Snow, 0, 0.00%
This article was going to be about the dire straits that I would need to navigate to fit the list of deserving candidate down to 10. With the recent decision up that to 15, it actually makes the process bearable.
First here are the guys where we go, “Oh that’s cute, he got a vote.” For some it’s a capital offense to waste a vote, but I don’t mind someone substituting a marginal hall of famer for Mike Timlin. There’s a case to be made for everyone else who got a vote. Some are better than others, but there are cases to be made just the same.
Jack Morris failed to be elected in his 15th and final year of eligibility. Now it’s up to the veterans committee, of which the IBWAA currently has no analog, to vote in Morris.
That leaves 16 players on the ballot, with seven guys who may require votes hitting the list next year; Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Gary Sheffield, Brian Giles, Nomar Garciaparra, and Carlos Delgado.
That’s 23 potential names, but at least I won’t have 22 to cut down to 10 as I did this year. I’m not going to debate all the entries at this point; that can wait until December. But I won’t be voting for Sosa or Palmeiro next time around. Since both of those players were disciplined for performance enhancing transgressions (Sosa’s corked bat and Palmeiro’s failed drug test) they fall to the bottom of the list. I think they’re hall of famers, but they’re not getting my vote until I clear the ballot of other quality athletes.
Next year, I will vote for the front runners. I feel Randy Johnson should be the first unanimous inductee. If I had had 15 votes this year, I would have bestowed that honor to Maddux, but as possibly the best left-handed pitcher ever, I can’t think of anyone else better for the honor than Johnson. Since the only reason Maddux didn’t go in with 100% of the vote was the 10 vote limit, I have all the faith in the world Johnson is going to hit that mark. Unless there’s a bird lover who withholds his vote.