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Just Get Rid of Hall of Fame Veterans Committee?

In the wake of what many of us feel is the continuing injustice of leaving Gil Hodges out of the Hall of Fame, a Facebook group called Something Needs to Change in Cooperstown has emerged. It is dedicated to changing the way the Veterans Committee votes. While I agree the Committee needs some kind of overhaul, here’s my suggest — just get rid of it entirely.

Well, not entirely. It should still exist, but only to vote on managers, umpires and executives. They never had the opportunity to be elected by the usual voting body. But players had 15 years (now 10) to be considered. Perhaps that is long enough.

As evidence, 78 of the 240 players currently in the Hall of Fame were voted in by the Veterans Committee. Here are those players (starting with the most recently elected):

Deacon White, Ron Santo, Joe Gordon, Bill Mazeroski, Hilton Smith, Bid McPhee, Turkey Stearnes, Orlando Cepeda, Smokey Joe Williams, George Davis, Larry Doby, Bullet Rogin, Nellie Fox, Willie Wells, Jim Bunning, Bill Foster, Richie Ashburn, Leon Day, Vic Wills, Phil Rizzuto, Hal Newhouser, Tony Lazzeri, Red Schoendienst, Ray Dandridge, Bobby Doerr, Ernie Lombardi, Enos Slaughter, Arky Vaughn, Rick Ferrell, Pee Wee Reese, George Kell, Travis Jackson, Johnny Mize, Chuck Klein, Hack Wilson, Addie Joss, Amos Rusie, Joe Sewell, Roger Connor, Freddie Lindstrom, Earl Averill, Billy Herman, Jim Bottomley, Sam Thompson, High Pockets Kelly, Mickey Welch, Ross Young, Dave Bancroft, Jake Beckley, Chick Hafey, Harry Hooper, Joe Kelley, Rube Marguard, Earle Combs, Jesse Haines, Stan Coveleski, Waite Hoyt, Kiki Cuyler, Goose Goslin, Lloyd Waner, Pud Galvin, Burleigh Grimes, Tim Keefe, Heinie Manush, Monte Ward, John Clarkson, Elmer Flick, Sam Rice, Eppa Rixey, Edd Roush, Max Carey, Billy Hamilton, Zack Wheat, Sam Crawford, Home Run Baker, Ray Schalk, Chief Bender, Bobby Wallace.

You probably do not recognize most of these names because they played 100 or so years ago. The Veterans Committee was necessary back then to weed out those players, who were forgotten even then. It is impossible to say whether they truly deserve to be enshrined. But look at the more modern names: the Santos, Mazeroskis and Bunnings of the world. With all due respect, would the Hall of Fame be diminished if none of them had plaques in Cooperstown?

So maybe the writers should have the final say on players. If they can’t make it on that vote, perhaps we have to accept that they just do not deserve it.

So here’s what should happen — just like a special committee was drawn up to close the books on Negro League players in 2006, another committee should be assembled to consider every old-timer. Those deemed worthy would be enshrined, and the book would be closed forever on those players, thus ending the Veterans Committee’s players vote.

The Hall of Fame Veterans Committee has become a joke. Maybe the only way to stop the laughter is just to put it out of business.

2 thoughts on “Just Get Rid of Hall of Fame Veterans Committee?

  • So you want to eliminate the Veteran’s Committee and leave everything up to the writers. Are you out of your mind. The purpose of the Veteran’s Committee may have been years ago to let the forgotten players in. Now it’s for players who may had had an issue with a writer. If a player is worthy ,but doesn’t speak to the media he will not get the votes. The BBWAA have too much power right now. It’s all about their ego’s. WE SAY WHO IS IN AND WHO IS OUT. Let me tell you something. I have been in press boxes all across the country where the writers sit. Half the damn time they are writing a story or just chatting and not even paying attention to the game. Why the hell can’t the Radio and TV people vote. They are observing pitch by pitch and really have no need to go to the clubhouse after a game and be turned off by a player. Yes their should be a Veteran’s Committee and this new one is messed up again. Why, because here again are the writers who nominate the candidates and also some are on the voting committee. That’s a joke. I read somewhere, and it made the most sense. The Voters for the Veteran’s Committee should consist of Players, Executive’s, Historians and Stat people sprinkled in with some media people including TV people. There should be an open discussion on each candidate and with the diversity of the voters they would be rather interesting discussions. However, before they leave that room there should be at least one player elected to the HOF . I believe the HOF consist of one percent of all players who ever played the game. By putting one additional player in that percentage would be just 1.5 %. That still is a very exclusive club.

  • Mark Berman

    Yes, that’s basically what I’m saying. The writers get it right almost all the time. And the whole ‘issue with a writer’ is overblown, in my opinion. Even if a few writers hated a player, there are more than 500 voters. Their non-votes would be canceled out.

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