Doing My Mayor Daley Impression

Daley Campaign Poster

Daley Campaign Poster

When I was growing up, Richard J. Daley was Mayor of Chicago and the best known city politician in the US. He was larger than life and incredibly powerful. He was also most famous for allegedly “fixing” elections to ensure that both he and his cronies were returned to office. So in my best Mayor Daley mode, it’s time for me to, all by myself, fix the Hall of Fame voting.

I’ve said for years that the Hall vote is broken and doesn’t work as  well as it should. In the post just below, I commented on the most current Hall voting and mentioned a few “fixes” I’d seen online. I mentioned that I thought each was flawed. With a couple of caveats, here’s a few “fixes” I think would help.

The late character actor Paul Fix

The late character actor Paul Fix

Let me begin by admitting none of these ideas individually, nor all of them together, are going to completely fix the problems with Hall of Fame voting. Second, although I think it is important, especially financially, for the Hall of Fame to elect a fairly contemporary player yearly, I recognize that sometimes such action will lead to utterly idiotic choices (ala the Veteran’s Committee occasionally). So the idea that whatever happens somebody, anybody has to get in must be abandoned. In looking over my post from yesterday, I note that I possibly appear to support such an idea. I don’t. I was pointing out one of the plans I read made it required that a player be elected. Having said all that, here we go.

1. If a voter does not return the ballot, that voter is stricken from the list of voters and may no longer receive a ballot.

2. If a voter returns an empty ballot it does not change the voter’s status as a voter (sometimes there just isn’t anyone the voter wants), but the blank vote does not count against the percentage of votes a player receives. I don’t want to see someone fail make it into Cooperstown because of blank ballots.

3. Do you know it takes 75% of the states to amend the US Constitution and 75% of votes to be elected to the Hall of Fame? I’m a huge baseball fan, but I recognize that the Constitution is much more important? Shouldn’t it be harder to amend the US Constitution than to get into the Hall of Fame? Lower the percentage for admittance. Try 60%. I looked over the last five years ballots and the only change at 60% would be the early election of a few players and the additions of Jack Morris and Craig Biggio. I don’t think this is unreasonable (although some of you undoubtedly will). I also wonder if the voters, knowing it takes a smaller percentage for enshrinement, wouldn’t begin culling their own ballots more which might make the move to 60% something of a non-factor.

4. Dump the “vote for not more than 10” rule. Let a vote pick as many or as few candidates as the voter wants. This will stop the voting for one person in a particular year then leaving that person off the ballot the next year because there are 10 better candidates the second year.

5. Expand the voter base. Let in broadcasters and play-by-play men. Let in some SABR people (maybe the executive in charge or all the officers). I’m a little afraid of this idea because I really don’t want to expand the voting base to an even larger pool. I think that will make it even harder to reach 60% or 75% or whatever percentage is chosen.

6, Get the Hall to define terms. Give a written definition of “sportsmanship” etc. Too many writers claim (and I think they are lazy in doing so) that they have no guidance about what is expected (use your conscience, fella; if you have one). So give them a definition.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, there are other good ideas. I’d like to hear some of them. Feel free to add your own in the comments section. We gotta fix this, team, if for no other reason than to keep me from commenting over and over about it (and you having to keep reading about it).

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5 Responses to “Doing My Mayor Daley Impression”

  1. William Miller Says:

    I would strongly support ideas #1, #4 and #5 on this list, and I would partially support #3. 75% does seem to me to be a bit too high, but I wouldn’t drop it by much, perhaps down to 70%. I still think The Hall has to err on the side of exclusivity.
    I would also drop the 15-years on the ballot rule. Ten years should be more than enough. I think this lets too many voters off the hook. They simply kick the can down the road year after year, avoiding making a meaningful decision on a given player for over a decade. I don’t think that’s fair to the player, or to the process itself.
    Finally, to help clear up the particular matter at hand, steroids, The Hall needs to clarify if it would embrace suspected PED users in its gallery. If not, then we can easily move on to other topics. If so, then BBWAA voters have to accept that if The Hall would accept them, then there’s really no reason to continue to exclude them.
    Bill

    • W.k. kortas Says:

      Bill, I disagree with you on the 15-year rule; if anything, I think it’s more useful than ever. Think about the evolution of statistical methodology used in evaluating HOF candidates over the past decade or so–I don’t see that slowing down at all. Some of the metrics, especially concerning defensive statistics, are in still in their infancy, and how we view candidates today may be very different than how they look to us a decade from now. I think the 15-year ballot makes a lot more sense now than it did twenty or thirty years ago.

      I kinda sorta agree with you on the Hall setting up some sort of parameters on PED users, but I question how they do that. Do you only keep out players who were actually suspended? If it becomes a matter of suspected users, that’s a tough place to draw a line. Do you keep out Piazza and Bagwell on the basis of rumors? How do you handle the admitted users in comparison to the Bonds and Clemens, who have denied their use? Conceptually, I agree with you in terms of the Hall providing some guidance on the issue. I just don’t know how you can make it work.

  2. W.k. kortas Says:

    I would endorse #1 very strongly–if you can’t accept the responsibility of being a HOF voter, you don’t deserve the ballot. I’m also on board with #4–if you look at the potential 2014 ballot, you can get to ten names fairly quickly even if you leave Bonds and Clemens out of consideration.

  3. William Miller Says:

    In a way, whether it’s ten years, 15 years, or 25 years, it really doesn’t matter much because some future Veteran’s Committee will be lurking out there ready to set things straight! 🙂

  4. William Miller Says:

    Hey V, I nominated you for The Reality Blog award. You can read more about that over on my blog.
    Cheers, Bill

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