The Baseball Hall of Fame has announced its first major change to the voting process since 1991 and the move will have a huge impact on whether or not players linked to steroids will ever be enshrined.
The Hall of Fame’s board has cut the number of years a player can appear on the ballot from 15 to 10 years. The new rule will apply to all players who have appeared on the ballot ten times or fewer. Don Mattingly (14 years), Alan Trammell (13), and Lee Smith (12) will be allowed to remain on the ballot under the old rule.
Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated was a guest on “The Dan Patrick Show” and explained the reason for the change is that ten years “is enough” and that if a player is a Hall of Famer, they shouldn’t need more than ten tries to get in.
The problem is, voters change and sentiments change and several very good players needed more than ten tries to get elected, including Jim Rice (15 years), Bert Blyleven (14), and Bruce Sutter (13) in recent years.
The change will also make it much more difficult for players linked to steroids to ever be elected.
One prevailing thought process was that as there was overturn amongst the voters and the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) got younger, there may have been more sympathy towards the players from the steroid era. In addition, there may be less anger towards those players the further removed we become.
Mark McGwire now has only two years of voting left. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens now have just eight more years of eligibility instead of 13. That probably won’t be enough time.
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