Cooperstown Path Cleared For Steinbrenner, Miller

George Steinbrenner is now eligible to be elected to the Hall of Fame as early as this December.

Since this is the first time any of my suggestions to modify Cooperstown voting procedures have come to pass, I tend to doubt my campaign to hasten Steinbrenner’s eligibility had anything to do with it. I’m happy enough about the coincidence.
The late Yankee owner is hardly the first man deserving of election to the Hall, but he is among the first 25 or 50, and anything that hastens the chances of any of them is, in short, fine by me. The entire Hall of Fame press release is attached below; translated, it means we’ve gone from votes conducted by job, to votes conducted by era. 
Miraculously, the eras have been divided into “Pre-Integration,” “Golden,” and “Expansion.” Miraculously, the players, umpires, and executives of the “Expansion” era will be voted upon first, this December. Miraculously, the eras have been defined in such a way that the “Expansion” era begins in 1973 (even though the expansions were in 1961, 1962, 1969, 1977, 1993, and 1998).
Guess what else began in 1973?
George Steinbrenner’s ownership of the Yankees.
It is an obvious ploy, but an ingenious one. And it has the added plus of making actual sense in terms of the grim realities of the actuarial table. Marvin Miller did not expect to make it to his next eligibility (2012). He too could be voted in by December, given that most of the changes he brought to baseball were post-1973. 
And it may even do something for Ron Santo, Gil Hodges, Curt Flood, Ken Boyer, Roger Maris, and so many others who have suffered in generalized votes that have forced voters to consider them outside of their own eras. Hodges the home run hitter looks like an after-thought in the whole spectrum of swat, but in his own time, his success (he retired in 1963 with the second most homers by any right handed batter to that point) may finally stand out sufficiently to get him elected.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                    
July 26, 2010 

Hall of Fame Board of Directors Restructures 
Procedures for Consideration of

Managers, Umpires, Executives and Long-Retired Players 



(COOPERSTOWNNY) – The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Board of Directors has restructured the procedures to consider managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players for election to the Hall of Fame.


The changes, effective immediately, maintain the high standards for earning election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The voting process will now focus on three eras, as opposed to four categories, with three separate electorates to consider a single composite ballot of managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players.  


“The procedures to consider the candidacies of managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players have continually evolved since the first Hall of Fame election in 1936,” said Jane Forbes Clark, chairman of the board for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.  “Our continual challenge is to provide a structure to ensure that all candidates who are worthy of consideration have a fair system of evaluation. In identifying candidates by era, as opposed to by category, the Board feels this change will allow for an equal review of all eligible candidates, while maintaining the high standards of earning election.”


The Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors includes:


Jane Forbes Clark (chairman)

Robert A. DuPuy

Jerry Reinsdorf

Allan H. “Bud” Selig

Joe Morgan (vice chairman)

William L. Gladstone

Brooks C. Robinson

Edward W. Stack

Kevin S. Moore (treasurer)

David D. Glass

Frank Robinson


Paul Beeston

Leland S. MacPhail Jr.

Dr. Harvey W. Schiller


William O. DeWitt Jr.

Phil Niekro

G. Thomas Seaver



         Eras: Candidates will be considered in three eras — Pre-Integration (1871-1946), Golden (1947-1972) and Expansion (1973-1989 for players; 1973-present for managers, umpires and executives).


         Candidates: One composite ballot of managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players will be considered in each era. The Expansion Era ballot will feature 12 candidates, while the Golden and Pre-Integration era ballots will feature 10 candidates. Candidates will be classified by the eras in which their greatest contributions were recorded.


         Electorates A Voting Committee of 16 members for each era will be appointed by the Board of Directors annually. Each committee will be comprised of Hall of Fame members, major league executives, and historians/veteran media members. Any candidate who receives at least 75% of ballots cast will earn election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.


         Frequency of Elections: An election will be held annually at the Winter Meetings. The Eras will rotate, with the Expansion Era Committee to vote onDecember 5, 2010 at the Winter Meetings in OrlandoFla. The Golden Era committee will meet at the Winter Meetings in 2011 and the Pre-Integration Era Committee will vote on candidates at the 2012 Winter Meetings.


         Screening Process: The BBWAA-appointed Historical Overview Committee will devise the ballots for each era. The Historical Overview Committee currently consists of 10 veteran members: Dave Van Dyck(Chicago Tribune)Bob Elliott (Toronto Sun)Rick Hummel (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)Steve Hirdt (Elias Sports Bureau); Bill Madden (New York Daily News)Ken Nigro (formerly Baltimore Sun)Jack O’Connell (BBWAA secretary/treasurer); Nick Peters (formerly Sacramento Bee)Tracy Ringolsby (FSN Rocky Mountain); and Mark Whicker (Orange County Register).


         Eligible candidates:

Players who played in at least 10 major league seasons, who are not on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list, and have been retired for 21 or more seasons;

         Managers and umpires with 10 or more years in baseball and retired for at least five years. Candidates who are 65 years or older are eligible six months following retirement;

         Executives retired for at least five years. Active executives 65 years or older are eligible.





Timetable for Upcoming Elections







October 2010

The Expansion Era (1973-1989) ballot is devised and released.


The BBWAA Historical Overview Committee.


December 2010


Meeting and Vote on Expansion Era (1973-1989) ballot at the Winter Meetings. 



A Committee of 16 individuals comprised of Hall of Fame members, veteran writers and historians, appointed by the Board of Directors. 

July 24, 2011

Induction of Expansion Era Committee selections, if anyone elected.



October 2011

The Golden Era (1947-1972) ballot is devised and released.


The BBWAA Historical Overview Committee.


December 2011


Meeting and Vote on Golden Era (1947-1972) ballot at the Winter Meetings. 



A Committee of 16 individuals comprised of Hall of Fame members, veteran writers and historians, appointed by the Board of Directors. 

July 29, 2012

Induction of Golden Era Committee selections, if anyone elected.



October 2012

The Pre-Integration Era (1871-1946) ballot is devised and released.


The BBWAA Historical Overview Committee.


October 2012


Meeting and Vote on Pre-Integration Era (1871-1946) ballot at the Winter Meetings. 



A Committee of 16 individuals comprised of Hall of Fame members, veteran writers and historians, appointed by the Board of Directors. 

July 28, 2013

Induction of Pre-Integration Era Committee selections, if anyone elected.







    Far be it for your personal admiration for George Steinbrenner to color your views, but I thought it seemed obvious that the expansion era is marked with 1973 because that’s the year the designated hitter began.


    I’m sorry, but even in the face of all the revisionist history that has been going on, if George Steinbrenner, a convicted felon, banned from baseball for life twice, then you have to welcome Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens.

  3. historymike

    Jemery, if I am correct, Steinbrenner was not banned for life twice but was suspended for a set period; Fay Vincent, the last commissioner of baseball, suspended him for two years the second time, and I believe Bowie Kuhn meted out the same punishment the first time. Also, the first suspension involved a felony committed outside of baseball; not to put too fine a point on it, but what Rose, Bonds, and Clemens did or are accused of doing happened as part of their baseball careers. The second suspension, involving the Dave Winfield business, certainly is a point in favor of what you say, and should not be forgotten as some try to make Steinbrenner better than he actually was.

    I should add that the previous time the voting rules changed for the Veterans Committee, it led to the election of Walter O’Malley and Barney Dreyfuss, both of whom had much to recommend them but both of whom, as owners, did terrible things to some of their players (O’Malley and the Dodgers violating Carl Furillo’s contract are one example, while Dreyfuss stuck it to Honus Wagner, generally considered the greatest player of his time; other examples are out there, of course). The rules also made it much more difficult to elect Marvin Miller, who is far more deserving than many now in the Hall of Fame. I hope he is elected. Steinbrenner? I wax and wane on that one.

  4. stevesamazins

    Historymike, one point to clarify in your post is how you mention Steinbrenner’s felony occurred outside of baseball but what Bonds and Clemens are “accused” of doing… Here is my question, not being a supporter of either of them, when did we start being ok with banning people for alleged wrongdoing when they have never been convicted? The HOF committee is becoming more and more a joke. When Alomar was up for election, he didn’t get in, not due to a felony conviction, but for spitting. The committee made it clear, that one incident was not in line with the type of character they want in the hall. Then people bring up Ty Cobb and others who were completely immoral and bigots, the arguement is that it was a different era. So, why should Steinbrenner, a convicted felon, having been involved in this era be voted in when Alomar isn’t, due to his character, or Bonds/Clemens and others aren’t due to allegations. The HOF has become less an honor for the greats of the game and more a good ol’ boys club – and a complete joke.

  5. historymike

    Stevesamazins (Mets, maybe?), you bring up some good points, and you’ve got me thinking.

    First, there’s an old story about Bowie Kuhn explaining why he did nothing about a player accused of rape by saying, “He did it in the off-season.” So I hear. Now, I never want to sound like Kuhn if I can help it. But Bonds and Clemens haven’t been banned from anything. Writers are making noises about whether they will be voted in, and we can’t know the answer yet–but I have a problem with either being denied because they had Hall of Fame careers, I would say, before any steroid allegations. Mark McGwire, for example, strikes me as having problems in part for not being much of a multi-dimensional player (Edgar Martinez has the same issue as a DH, I suspect).

    Also, in terms of allegations vs. actual convictions, we can go back to rumors that Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker threw games, but there was no proof–there appears to be proof in Pete Rose’s case. Further, Judge Landis banned the Black Sox after they were acquitted–admittedly, in a phony trial. That said, I think Shoeless Joe should be in there, and so should Rose. Yes, they broke the rules. But who can deny their greatness?

    By contrast, there was some debate about Alomar, and his supporters made a strong case that he has behaved since and even become close to John Hirschbeck, the umpire upon whom he spat. Alomar shouldn’t be denied the HoF over that (although he should have been suspended for a big chunk of time), and I am inclined to think his numbers should put him in.

    Steinbrenner? Again, I go back and forth. I am not convinced that he revolutionized or greatly influenced the game in the way that Rickey or MacPhail or Veeck or O’Malley did, but I also can see the argument for him. I also have to wonder how much it counts against him that he embarrassed the game–and not simply with the two suspensions (Rickey and MacPhail blatantly broke the rules by trying to hide Pete Reiser in the minors when he was declared a free agent), but with the circus he created in New York City. That didn’t strike me as anything resembling enlightened ownership.

    To rattle on further, the Hall of Fame ALWAYS has been political. Ted Williams was blatant in lobbying for Bobby Doerr, unquestionably a fine player, and rumor has it that Warren Giles blocked Larry MacPhail from getting in because they couldn’t stand each other–just two examples. And it always will be political, whether it’s the Veterans Committee (Reggie Jackson said only uniformed players should be in, then backed off when he got some boomback) or the writers.


    Thanks, historymike, for correcting my assertion that GS was suspended for life. Good point. Just as good a point is that I believe GS is the only person ever to have been suspended by two separate commissioners. Which is almost as good as being suspended to life. Add to my original list of those who must we welcomed along with this convicted felon, Mark McGuire.

  7. rochdalian

    I seem to recall that Gil Hodges was the Manager of the New York Mets in 1969. That might also count for something.

  8. strike29

    I see the obvious has already been stated, but that never stopped me before: if you ban Pete Rose from the Hall for post-career corruption, after all he did FOR the game — how can you possibly even consider, let alone fast-track, a guy who did so much TO the game?

    Rose’s accomplishments fed the game; Steinbrenner’s fed the business. BIG difference.

  9. osinski

    OK fine, Steinbrenner.

    What about Vin Scully? It anyone deserves consideration for meritorious service it is Vinnie.

    Let us first disabuse ourselves of the nonsense that there is such a thing as a “Hall of Fame Writer” or “Hall of Fame Broadcaster.”

    There ain’t.

    There is an annual award for broadcasters. Broadcasting being a business in which the coin of the realm is ego, those who win the annual award call themselves Hall of Fame Broadcasters, or, worse, Hall of Famers .

    They ain’t.

    It’s an annual award, period. Winners are not members of the Hall of Fame. Since someone must win these awards every year, there will eventually be an award for some pretty pedestrial broadcasters. By contrast. the front door to Cooperstown does not open automatically every year. Rare though it is, there are years with nobody elected.

    Is there any longer record of honorable association with the game? Has there ever been a better broadcaster for a team in any sport? Connie Mack was a fair ballplayer, a mediocre manager and a horrendous owner. Yet he made the Hall of Fame on the basis of 50 years managing a bad franchise.

    Scully is Dodger Baseball. Iiiiiiiiiit’s tiiiiiiiiiiiiiime for Vin Scully. In the Hall of Fame. With a plaque. And it should be easy to resist the to-be-expected campaigns for all sorts of other broadcasters to be accorded a similar honor and perhaps that’s why they came up with the writers and broadcasters awards.

    But Vinnie is special. They should do it before he dies. And if I know it from here in Massachusetts, the entire state of California should know it, too. Maybe they can pass one of their infamous ballot propositions and prohibit baseball for profit until they put Scully in the hall.

  10. edgengar

    So under this new rule would Santo, Allen, Oliva, and the likes be eligible for Hall consideration in 2011? And would the Expansion Era Ballot be comprised of Managers, Players, Execs, and Umps? Or are there three ballots, one for players, one for managers/umps, and one for execs?


    I just saw this blog trying to find out the new rules for voting for veterans…Dad (Gabe Paul) used to say that if Ty Cobb could be in the Hall, it was open season. However, dad also crosses all these new eras as his service to the game was from 1920 through the late 1980’s. That counts.
    As the youngest GM in the game, he stayed in the background more than anyone cares to remember (see or The Yankee Princess..Why dad and I were in a League of our Own released this month…) With over 500 trades, he was a pioneer. I am tooting his horn, but only because if you really study his contribution to the game, he has an unbelievable record. He put the first black players in a multitude of cities..he was in both The American and National Leagues. Staying in the background was harder than you think as others stole the credit.
    HE PUT STEINBRENNER WHERE HE WAS when he put him in the group to buy the NY Yankees in 1973. So what comes first…the chicken or the egg….He won Executive of the Year twice and broke many barriers. He was in the Expansion era, the Golden era and in this era he belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
    Jennie Paul
    The Yankee

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