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Vote IV: A New Hope?
by Phil Bencomo
On the heels of Sunday's Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, the Hall's board of directors voted to "revamp its procedures for the Veterans Committee but won't rule on players again until 2009," reports Chris De Luca in the Sun-Times.
After three consecutive votes by the committee failed to result in the election of a former player, the Hall decided to restructure the process. The change unveiled Saturday calls for three separate ballots -- one for players, one for managers and umpires and one for executives. Meanwhile, a special committee will review pre-1943 players.
Beginning in 2008, the Veterans Committee will hold elections for managers and umpires every other year. Beginning in 2009, the election of long-retired players such as Santo will occur every other year -- meaning the veterans will be voting on something each year. Details for executives still are being worked out.
Also, only the 63 living Hall of Fame members will vote on players. The group previously had numbered more than 80 because Frick and Spink award winners (writers and broadcasters) were allowed to vote.
In January I spoke to Bob Feller about this very topic, and his solution was far more drastic: lower the standards. Granted, that statement did come from the same man who believes Riggs Stephenson has a better chance of election than Santo, but it still stinks of elitism and degradation. "It's too bad you aren't quite good enough to get in," he seemed to say. "Here, we'll give you poor souls a hand." I'm glad it didn't come to that, and I think the committee will fold before they lower their supposed "standards."
Santo, meanwhile, was hoping the committee would vote every year, reports the Tribune.
"This, to me, is nothing," the Cubs broadcaster said. "It's [voting] every year that needs to be the change, for the veterans, guys who are getting older and may not be around in two years. If it's every year, at least you feel like you're moving up the ladder. In two years, I don't know where I'm going to be."
"This year I was five votes away, and Gil loses even more votes, as did Jim Kaat, who also should be up there," he said. "My point is that every two years, you don't know what's going to happen. It's very difficult."
Also as part of the changes, the ballot for players will include only ten candidates. Whether this will suddenly make veterans vote for people that they've repeatedly not voted for before is the real issue here. It may very well work, putting more focus on a select group of former players, but if you've got your mind set on not voting for certain people, will a smaller ballot really change that?
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