View Full Version : Reduce MLB HoF eligibility from 20 years to 1?

03-07-2003, 08:33 PM
On the radio today someone mentioned an idea that I recall coming up here a while ago. Namely, why doesn't MLB reduce Hall of Fame eligibility to one year. You either are or are not a Hall of Famer. Makes sense to me.

03-07-2003, 11:02 PM
If you're talking about the non old-timers, I think you become eligible after you're retired 5 years. The theory is that emotion may color a voter's judgment immediately after a beloved player's retirement.

It's probably hogwash. If anything, a retired player's "greatness" seems to increase the longer he's retired. On the other hand, some players get into trouble or have some negative publicity after they've retired (Maury Wills; Steve Garvey), so they might be better off if they get voted on right away.

03-07-2003, 11:28 PM
Clarkmeister isn't referring to the time from retirement to HoF eligibility. I would guess he agrees with the 4- or 5-year gap (I don't recall which offhand). What he was referring to was the fact that players remain eligible for election for 20 years.

He's suggesting that a player retires, waits x years, is eligible on the HoF ballot, and if he gets in, he gets in - if not, he doesn't get in.

I agree 100%. Maintaining the highest possible level of excellence in the Hall of Fame should be the primary goal, and there is NO useful purpose served by allowing a player's name to remain on the ballot for 20 years. If he belongs, he gets voted in. If not, you're basically giving him a slow death for 20 years. Really...the line between Hall of Famers and Not Quite is fairly clear.

03-08-2003, 12:08 AM
Got it. You gotta spell things out for me. And even then . . .

I don't know if it would make things better or not though. Eddie Mathews was first eligible in 1974 and didn't make it in until 1978. At the time, he was the greatest third baseman ever. Mel Ott and Joe DiMaggio didn't make it in their first year of eligibility. Kirby Puckett did.

03-08-2003, 03:15 AM
Hey, a few people around Wrigley tried to give Garvey a bad name before he retired. Some even profited off of it. You will have to buy me a drink for more details. I hate Garvey, even though I did see him get a game winning hit with a 2 strike count at Dodger Stadium one time. But he was a miserable rat *******. Feh. And we haven't talked about his hair yet.

03-08-2003, 06:05 AM

Irish correctly clarified my initial post. Sorry for the confusion.

I just think its silly that (for example) some voters didn't vote for Ryne Sandberg this year, but have every intention of doing so next year. I mean, someone either is or is not a HoFer. Lets force the issue. I understand that in the past truly godlike players had to wait a year or two. Its time that changed. Everyone gets one shot. 5 years of retirement then you get your crack. Didn't get 75%? Sorry, try enrolling in the "Hall of the Very Good".

03-08-2003, 06:14 PM
Well, certainly you'll agree that some Hall Of Famers are 'better' than others. Is Phil Rizzuto on the same level of Hall Of Famer than Babe Ruth? Short of creating, like you said, a 'Hall Of Very Good', I think the first-ballot inductees should reflect the true cream of the crop of the Hall, and then later let everyone else in who was very good, but not quite a Tier 1 Hall Of Famer. Sure, players like Hornsby, DiMaggio, Killebrew, and a bunch of others were not elected on the 1st ballot, while Puckett was, but for the most part, all the truly GREAT players were elected on the first ballot. Aaron. Mays. Ruth. Cobb. Wagner. Mantle. All first-balloters. And surely you'd agree they are a cut above other hall of famers. I think that being a first-ballot inductee carries with it a certain distinction that says, "Hey, I'm not just a 'typical' hall of famer", and I think the system is fine as it is.