How Should the Hall of Fame's Voting Process Change?

Kenny Lofton is probably Hall-worthy. But he won't even see a second ballot. - Ezra Shaw

Today, Dave Studeman of The Hardball Times posted a petition asking for the Hall of Fame to change the voting process it has used throughout the history of the institution. The petition begins:

The Hall of Fame is experiencing a crisis. The current voting procedures are not adequate for the ethical challenges presented by the Steroids Era. Many of the best players in baseball history are receiving 50% of the vote because there is such a wide divergence in interpreting records from the 1990's and early 2000's. This has made a system that was already somewhat flawed a catastrophe for baseball and its fans.

David doesn't recommend a specific way to change the process—he wants the petition to elicit suggestions.

Now, obviously I'm annoyed enough about how the BBWAA has been voting lately to start a separate Hall of Stats. There are at least a couple things I'd change immediately about the current process, such as:

  • The 10-vote limit (there are at least thirteen players on the current ballot that I would vote for).
  • Voting should be public (something that BtB's own Lewie Pollis has called for).
  • Removal or clarification of the character clause (Dale Murphy's son Chad made a great point about how this clause has only been used to hurt people's cases, not to help them).

I could see other changes occurring that are much more drastic, such as relieving the BBWAA of their voting duties and assigning the job to somebody else. I would also figure out a way to make sure players like Kevin Brown, Kenny Lofton, Lou Whitaker, Bobby Grich, Ted Simmons and so many more don't slip off the ballot after one season. I think each of those players is deserving, but we didn't even have time to fight that fight. In the case of Brown, we were too busy fighting for Bert Blyleven to see Kevin Brown slipping. Today, we're fighting so hard for Tim Raines that Lofton will fall by the wayside.

There's also the possibility that we're all over-reacting and the various Veterans Committees exist to right these wrongs (that, in the cases above, they haven't had the chance to make right yet).

What changes would you propose to the Hall of Fame selection process?

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