Cooperstown, NY, United States (4E Sports) – The National Baseball Hall of Fame has revised its rules regarding election of players on the annual Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot.
Under the new system, players will remain on the ballot for a maximum of only 10 years, instead of 15, when their eligibility begins five years after retirement. It will take effect in time for the 2015 election.
Aside from this, the Hall will now require an Internet registration of the approximately 625 eligible members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and those voters will be notified about a specific code of conduct regarding the handling of that ballot.
Voters will be asked to formally agree to a stipulation that their ballot is non-transferable with a penalty of permanently losing that vote.
The changes were made on Saturday morning on the eve of Sunday’s induction ceremony by the Hall’s board of directors. However, the standard of attaining 75 percent of the vote for election will remain.
“The Hall of Fame is all about relevance,” Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said. “In a study of Hall of Fame voting over its history, it has become clearly evident in the last 30 years or so that after 10 years the likelihood of election is incredibly minimal.”
“The idea of making it more relevant was attractive to the board. We think it maintains the integrity of the process and for those that fall off the ballot after 10 years it gets them to consideration by the era committees a little sooner,” he added.
That change will not affect the three players currently in years 11-15 on the ballot. Don Mattingly (15th year in 2015), Alan Trammell (14th) and Lee Smith (13th) will be grandfathered in and remain on the ballot for the full 15 years.
Of the 115 players previously elected into the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA, 102 were voted in within their first 10 years on the ballot, while only 13 needed those extra five years. Most recently, Jim Rice attained the Hall in his 15th year in 2009 and Bert Blyleven in his 14th year in 2011.