A day before the Baseball Hall of Fame inducts their 2014 class, the Hall made a rule change that effects the eligibility of former players.
In a move seemingly-designed to make it even tougher on players who may or may not have used steroids, the Hall decided to cut the maximum number of years a player can be on the ballot from 15 to 10.
Now, I have often said that the 15-year window was too long. Either a player was a Hall of Famer, or they weren’t. Writers shouldn’t need to wait 15 years to decide it.
That being said, this was simply a moved designed to punish the likes of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens and others in the steroid era, by not allowing writers additional time to perhaps change their stance on whether to let them in or not.
What it also does is effect players like Edgar Martinez, who should be in the Hall of Fame but because of the crowded ballot, have been passed by so far.
The new rule means that Edgar has only five years of eligibility remaining.
The bigger problem, which remained unchanged, is the 10-player maximum that writers are allowed to vote for on a ballot. Again, if a player is worthy, they should be voted in. Is it unthinkable to believe that there could be more than 10 in any given year?
This year, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas will be inducted into Cooperstown, as voted on by the writers. There were 13 players who got at least 25% of the vote – including Martinez. Seven got more than 50% of the vote. And the ballot becomes even more crowded next year as Randy Johnson, John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez and Gary Sheffield join the mix.
Perhaps this will shake up the writers to vote Edgar in next year, before he gets lost in the shuffle of the next few years. Perhaps not. All I know is that this rule was designed simply to punish the “Steroid Era” players as opposed to any other reason that they will give for making the change.