Every year, around this time, we discuss the Baseball Hall of Fame’s policies and how badly written they are. It seems like every year approaching the Super Bowl, we discuss the Professional Football’s Hall of Fame, and why they need to revamp their policies. In both cases, the policies are strict and rigid in terms of their entrance, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, they definitely need to be reviewed and adjusted for modern times.
Mike Schmidt, on MLB Network, recently discussed that the Baseball HOF needs to review its policies, something expanded upon on ESPN.com. I personally think that the Football Hall of Fame needs to expand its inductions so as to include more veterans. So here’s what I’m going to do; I’m going to discuss how we revamp the HOFs to prevent them from becoming less relevant.
1. Before we get anywhere, let me be blunt: no fan voting. I know that a lot of fans complain about sports writers making the calls on things like this, but I would rather fans vote on All-Star games. I don’t think the writers get it perfect every time, but at least they know what they’re talking about. Which brings me to number 2…
2. Any voter must have at least seven to ten’s years experience covering their respective sport; how do you judge that? Well, let’s start out by saying that they cover that one sport predominantly, with perhaps a little interest given elsewhere. Additionally, there must be a variety of ages amongst the voters, with a minimum age of 30, and a maximum of 75. All voting in committees must be secret ballot, so as to prevent factions from making power plays during the actual voting.
3. The process of getting to the final committee may vary. For baseball, it may include the current player ballot, with a certain percentage getting a certain tier of players to the final committee, and a veteran’s committee nominating a few others. For football, the process largely works, but, well, that’s the next step.
4. Candidates emerging out of the veteran’s committees work as such: the committee submits two to four candidates to the final committee, which then selects at least one for induction as a veteran’s candidate. The others then join the other candidates, who have either entered via ballot or preliminary committees, for consideration. The committee will select a minimum of four out of this group, and a maximum of eight, meaning the total number of inductees will be between five and nine.
The veteran’s slot may be reviewed as more and more veterans are either denied entrance on a permanent basis, concurrent with more of them being inducted. Additionally, the final committee may, if they so chose, designate unofficial slots for executives, referees, and other contributors to the game (such as what happened when Ed Sabol, founder of NFL films, was inducted).
I suppose the main problem, though, is something that fixing the technical process itself can’t solve. You need the Halls themselves to start handing out additional guidelines. I’m sick of this idea of “the eye test”; or this idea that if you have to think about it, it’s an automatic “no.” These ideas work great, when there’s parameters in place. For instance, Terrell Owens deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his talent and numbers, but may be denied the first ballot for his antics and attitude; don’t think it’ll happen, just ask Art Modell’s family, who are still waiting for their father to be inducted after he left Cleveland.
Let’s say the Baseball Hall of Fame states that on-field performance should trump the steroids era cloud; conversely, they could say that suspicion of PED use could justification for giving a “no” vote. In either case, it would allow the voters to be more specific in their approach.
However, the HOFs are proud institutions and won’t likely listen to anybody, one reason why many people, even if only for a time, may turn their backs on them. So, we can hope, and let us hope, but not raise expectations too high.