First off, know that there is no longer a “Veterans Committee” for the Hall of Fame. It is now called the “Eras Committees.” As before, the Eras Committees considers retired players no longer eligible for election by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, along with managers, umpires and executives. The Eras are broken into three different categories and are each considered every three years.
This year the “Today’s Era” Eras Committee, covering 1988-present, will vote on candidates for the Hall of Fame. And this year’s ballot is stacked:
- Bud Selig;
- George Steinbrenner;
- Harold Baines;
- Albert Belle;
- Will Clark;
- Orel Hershiser;
- Mark McGwire;
- Davey Johnson;
- Lou Piniella; and
- John Schuerholz
Selig will likely get in easily because (a) he is baseball’s best commissioner of all time; (b) commissioners who have not literally broken the law, lasted in office only five minutes or weren’t removed by an angry coup tend to get in regardless; and (c) nearly every influential person in the game today owes one to Selig for one thing or another, including, quite likely, their position on the Eras Committee. So there’s that. I assume he’s unanimous. Despite the fact that he’s got some serious personal responsibility for the PED era, his leadership led to the cancellation of a World Series and was at least part of a group of people who broke the law.
I’ve argued in the past for George Steinbrenner being in the Hall of Fame. He was a major historical figure in baseball, even if you didn’t like him. He certainly set the tone for the free agency era which emerged in the mid-70s. Whether that gets him support, I have no idea.
I’ve argued in favor of McGwire and Schuerholz in the past. I think the former won’t make it due to the PED stuff and the latter will, if not now, then eventually. He’s probably the most successful baseball executive in the past 50 years. I’ve argued in favor of Belle in the past, but I can’t remember where I came down on him. I think I leaned yes, despite the short career. I’m sure the Eras Committee will say no to him and all of the other players on it. They don’t elect a lot of folks.
We’ll certainly have more coverage of this in December when the Eras Committee meets at the Winter Meetings to consider their candidacy.