This is wonderful news, and well overdue:
Hall of Fame decides BBWAA members more than 10 years removed from actively covering the game can no longer vote for Hall of Fame.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) July 28, 2015
As it stands, once you are eligible to vote for the Hall of Fame, you get that vote for life, which means that a great many voters who are no longer covering baseball — including many who never really covered baseball in a meaningful way — get a vote. Editors who oversaw baseball writers for a time. People who covered baseball for a few minutes during the Carter Administration but later went on to do other things. At the moment, the BBWAA will take away everyday credentials from a member if he or she is not affiliated with a BBWAA-approved outlet for two years, yet it will not take away a Hall of Fame vote from someone who has had no professional need to pay attention to baseball for decades. There are hundreds and hundreds of BBWAA members now, and I’d guess less than half of them actually cover baseball for a living.
At the same time, there are dozens if not more competent baseball writers who don’t get a Hall of Fame vote at all because they haven’t been doing it for a decade. This despite the fact that they know a ton more than a bunch of those legacy members do. It’s just a club, really, out of which you can never be kicked despite your lack of engagement with the game. All the while getting to make baseball’s most important historic calls. No organization I know of outside of baseball — including historically-minded organizations — would continue to grant special and influential status to people who have no reason to keep up with advances in the field while eschewing fresher voices, yet the BBWAA does this with the Hall of Fame.
That is, it did until now. Now the dead wood is out. Which should make a pretty significant difference when it comes to voting time going forward.
Here’s the official press release, which sets forth how eligibility will be determined:
Hall of Fame voter roll purge … pic.twitter.com/VeKTyEnizr
— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) July 28, 2015