2013 Baseball Hall of Fame Induction: Why the Voting Process Will Never Change

Laura Ludlum@@BrownEyedNJGirlContributor IIJanuary 10, 2013

COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 22:   MLB commissioner Bud Selig speaks at Clark Sports Center during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 22, 2012 in Cooperstown, New York. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Today the Baseball Writers Association of America made quite the statement by inducting not a single player into the National Baseball Hall of Fame for the first time since 1996.

2013 was the first real class of the proclaimed "steroid era" of baseball.

Several known PED users who were on the ballot for the first time included all-time home run leader Barry Bonds, seven-time Cy Young award winner Roger Clemens, and Sammy Sosa, who in my opinion, helped revitalize baseball after the strike with his magical home run record-chasing season alongside Mark McGwire.

Those players are pretty cut and dry. Either you believe players who used steroids should be in the hall or they shouldn't.

The BBWAA believes they shouldn't.

It couldn't have been made any clearer by seeing that Barry Bonds, who was the tops of those three names, only received 36.2 percent of the vote.

However, there were two names on the ballot for the first time this year that don't fit in with the aforementioned cheaters. 

Mike Piazza only received 57.8 percent of the vote.  This is a player who has never been connected to steroid usage.  Sure, it was rumored, but any one who could hit a ball over the fence was in question at that point.  No one ever accused him of using anything, ever.  Yet, the greatest hitting catcher of all time couldn't even come close to getting the 75 percent of votes needed to make it.

Craig Biggio, while receiving the highest percentage of votes with 68.2 percent, has also never been connected to performance-enhancing drugs (he looked like he weighed about 100 pounds soaking wet throughout his entire career).  A seven time All-Star, five time Gold Glover and member of the 3,000-hit club doesn't get granted a membership to the Hall of Fame?

There are a lot of things that don't seem to make sense to quite a lot of people.  Within 30 seconds of the announcement, Twitter was quickly buzzing with suggestions of how the voting process needs to be changed.

Is the system that voted in the first class of Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, and Christy Mathewson outdated?  Do we only need a new system temporarily, until the class of steroid users pass?

Lots of fans are calling for a huge overhaul of the voting process, but it will not change anytime in the near future, and most likely never will.

Lest we forget that having the BBWAA elect the inductees is a process that has been used for over 75 years.  This is the same process in which Bob Feller, Johnny Bench, Tom Seaver, Carlton Fisk, Tony Gwynn, Rickey Henderson and so many others were forever enshrined in Cooperstown.

But those were easy ones, right?

Well, how about Jim Rice, Bruce Sutter, Goose Gossage or Phil Niekro?

Some would consider those names to be borderline Hall of Famers, but the BBWAA most definitely got those ones right.

Many people call for the system to be based on statistics only.

That is impossible.

If the Hall of Fame were based solely on stats, then Harmon Killebrew probably wouldn't be a member with his .256 career average.

Would RBI count?  If so, then Andrés Galarraga should be in since he has more than Brooks Robinson and Orlando Cepeda.

How about stolen bases?  How would you factor those in?

And then there's the playoffs.  I'm sure Reggie Jackson's percentage was boosted by his two World Series MVP awards and not his .262 career average.

Stats aside, there are the people who call for a different set of voters, including writers whose main focus is baseball. Currently, there are members of the BBWAA who cover other sports, and some who don't cover baseball at all.

Some people want it to be open to announcers and broadcasters as well.

That's fine, but absolutely nothing will change except that there are more people involved in the voting process.

Cal Ripken Jr, who is a broadcaster for TBS, made it very clear that he still roots for the Baltimore Orioles, which makes sense.  Do you honestly think that he would be able to vote in a completely unbiased manner?

A fool proof, statistic based, finite equation for defining Hall of Famers will never be created.

In turn, the human element will never be removed.

So just be prepared for Hall of Fame classes to spark debates for years to come.


Follow Laura on Twitter: @BrownEyedNJGirl


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