Baseball Hall of Fame balloting, 2015
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 2015 will proceed according to rules most recently revised in July 2010. As in the past, the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) will vote by mail to select from a ballot of recently retired players, with results to be announced on January 7, 2015. The Golden Era Committee, one of three voting panels that replaced the more broadly defined Veterans Committee following the July 2010 rules change, will convene early in December 2014 to select from a ballot of retired players and non-playing personnel who made their greatest contributions to the sport between 1947 and 1972.
The induction ceremonies will be held in July 2015 at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. On the day before the actual induction ceremony, the annual Hall of Fame Awards Presentation will take place. At that event, two awards for media excellence will be presented—the Hall's Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasters and the BBWAA's J. G. Taylor Spink Award for writers. The other major Hall of Fame award, the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award, will not be presented again until at least 2017.
The BBWAA ballot will be announced in November 2014. The BBWAA is authorized to elect players active in 1995 or later, but not after 2009; the ballot will include two categories of players:
- Candidates from the 2014 ballot who received at least 5% of the vote but were not elected, as long as they first appeared on the BBWAA ballot no earlier than 2001.
- Selected individuals, chosen by a screening committee, whose last appearance was in 2009.
All 10-year members of the BBWAA will be eligible to vote except for Dan Le Batard, who was suspended from the BBWAA for a year and banned for life from voting in future elections after he revealed that he had turned over his 2014 ballot to Deadspin and allowed the website's readers to make selections.
As in most recent elections, the controversy over use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) is likely to dominate the elections. ESPN.com columnist Jim Caple noted in the days before the announcement of the 2012 results that the PED issue and the BBWAA's limit of 10 votes per ballot was likely to result in a major backlog in upcoming elections:
|“||Due to the steroid issue and a general lack of consensus, the following players will probably be on the ballot in three years: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Sammy Sosa, Jeff Bagwell, John Smoltz, Edgar Martinez, Mark McGwire, Mike Mussina, Jeff Kent, Larry Walker, Alan Trammell, Fred McGriff, Rafael Palmeiro, Lee Smith, Tim Raines, Gary Sheffield, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling and, of course, Bernie [Williams]. That's 21 players who warrant serious consideration. And that's not counting Barry Larkin, who might be [Ed.—and was] elected this year, and also assuming Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Craig Biggio and Frank Thomas make it their first years on the ballot. Finding room for Bonds, Clemens, Pedro, Johnson and others means I'll have to dump more good players from my ballot than the Marlins dumped after winning the 1997 World Series.||”|
Caple's predictions about the players on the 2015 ballot mostly proved accurate, the exceptions being Palmeiro and Williams, who got less than 5% of the vote in prior elections and failed to stay on, and Biggio, who fell short of election in both of his first two years on the ballot.
|“||The next Hall of Fame ballot will include Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Craig Biggio and Curt Schilling. They all have Hall of Fame numbers, some stronger than others, but Bonds, Clemens, Sosa and Piazza certainly are not going to be elected on the first ballot — and in the case of Bonds, Clemens and Sosa, they might not make it to Cooperstown for many, many years to come.||”|
Three players were elected on the 2014 ballot: Maddux, Glavine, and Thomas, with Biggio missing the 75% mark by two votes. Don Mattingly will be on his final eligible ballot.
Players who will be eligible for the first time include: Marlon Anderson, Rich Aurilia, Paul Bako, Michael Barrett, Aaron Boone, Chad Bradford, Doug Brocail, Emil Brown, Paul Byrd, Raul Chavez, Tony Clark, Joe Crede, Carlos Delgado, David Dellucci, Jermaine Dye, Adam Eaton, Alan Embree, Darin Erstad, Kelvim Escobar, Cliff Floyd, Chad Fox, Nomar Garciaparra, Brian Giles, Tony Graffanino, Tom Gordon, Eddie Guardado, Matt Herges, Randy Johnson, Braden Looper, Mark Loretta, Pedro Martínez, Ramón Martínez, Doug Mientkiewicz, Kevin Millar, Eric Milton, Greg Norton, Tomo Ohka, Troy Percival, Sidney Ponson, Glendon Rusch, B.J. Ryan, Jason Schmidt, Gary Sheffield, Brian Shouse, John Smoltz, Justin Speier, Julián Tavárez, Ron Villone, Luis Vizcaino, Jamie Walker, Jarrod Washburn, and David Weathers. 
Golden Era Committee
In keeping with the current Hall of Fame voting procedure, the existing BBWAA-appointed Historical Overview Committee will identify 10 Golden Era candidates who were judged to have made their greatest contributions between 1947 and 1972. Along with the 1947–1972 era, these rules will define the consideration set:
- Players who played in at least 10 major league seasons, who are not on Major League Baseball's ineligible list (e.g., Pete Rose), and have been retired for 21 or more seasons.
- Managers and umpires with 10 or more years in baseball and retired for at least five years. Candidates who are 65 years or older are eligible six months following retirement.
- Executives retired for at least five years. Active executives age 65 or older are eligible for consideration.
The Historical Overview Committee is expected to consist of 10 to 12 BBWAA members, and will be announced at the same time that the ballot is revealed.
The Golden Era Ballot for election by the Golden Era Committee is expected to be released in November 2014, with the election taking place at the 2014 winter meetings the following month. The committee will consist of 16 members, including Hall of Famers, veteran executives, and media representatives. The threshold for election will be the standard 75% of the vote (12 out of 16).
J. G. Taylor Spink Award
The J. G. Taylor Spink Award has been presented by the BBWAA at the annual summer induction ceremonies since 1962. Through 2010, it was awarded during the main induction ceremony, but is now given the previous day at the Hall of Fame Awards Presentation. It recognizes a sportswriter "for meritorious contributions to baseball writing". The recipients are not members of the Hall of Fame but are featured in a permanent exhibit at the National Baseball Museum.
Assuming the procedure for the selection of the 2014 recipient is followed, a BBWAA committee will select three finalists, who will be announced at the group's annual All-Star Game meeting in July 2014. Under BBWAA rules, the winner is to be announced either during the 2014 World Series or at the 2014 winter meetings; in recent years, the announcement has been made at the winter meetings.
Ford C. Frick Award
The Ford C. Frick Award, honoring excellence in baseball broadcasting, has been presented at the induction ceremonies since 1978. Through 2010, it had been presented at the main induction ceremony, but is now awarded at the Awards Presentation. Recipients are not members of the Hall of Fame but are permanently recognized in an exhibit at the museum. To be eligible, an active or retired broadcaster must have a minimum of 10 years of continuous major league broadcast service with a ball club, a network, or a combination of the two. The honor is based on four criteria: longevity; continuity with a club; honors, including national assignments such as the World Series and All-Star Games; and popularity with fans. Assuming that the procedure for the 2014 award is followed, the 2015 recipient will be announced during the 2014 winter meetings, following a vote by a 20-member committee composed of the living recipients along with broadcasting historians and columnists.
This will be the second Frick Award selection under a process similar to that instituted for Veterans Committee balloting in 2010. Candidates are now considered every third year, based on the era in which they made their most significant contributions:
- "Living Room Era" — Mid-1950s to early 1980s, including the rise of television. Individuals from this era will be considered for the 2015 award.
- "Broadcasting Dawn Era" — 1920s to early 1950s, including the early radio broadcasters. Individuals from this era will be considered for the 2016 award.
- "High Tide Era" — Mid-1980s to present, including the rise of regional cable networks. Individuals from this era were considered for the 2014 award, and will next be considered for the 2017 award.
Also, the committee that selects the final recipient no longer has a role in determining any of the finalists. Before the 2014 selection process, the selection committee also chose seven of the 10 finalists, but that role has now been given to a Hall of Fame research committee.
If the procedure for the 2014 award is followed, 10 finalists from the "Living Room Era" will be announced shortly after the end of the 2014 regular season. In accord with the new guidelines, at least seven will be chosen by a Hall of Fame research committee. For awards in recent years, including 2014, three have been selected by fan voting on the Hall's Facebook page in September; the Hall has not yet announced whether it will use fan voting to determine any finalists for the "Living Room Era" or "Broadcasting Dawn Era".
Notes and references
- "Hall of Fame Board of Directors Restructures Procedures for Consideration of Managers, Umpires, Executives and Long-Retired Players" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. July 26, 2010. Retrieved January 15, 2011.
- "Rules for Election for Managers, Umpires, Executives and Players for Golden Era Candidates to the National Baseball Hall of Fame". National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
- "Awards: Buck O'Neil". National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- "Dan Le Batard barred from Hall vote". ESPN.com. January 10, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- Caple, Jim (December 22, 2010). "The Hall of Fame ballot runneth over". Page 2. ESPN.com. Retrieved January 15, 2011.
- Caple, Jim (January 4, 2013). "Too many good Hall candidates for limit". Page 2. ESPN.com. Retrieved January 9, 2013.
- Kurkjian, Tim (January 9, 2013). "Whopper of a list of names await in 2014". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 10, 2013.
- "Ten Named To Golden Era Ballot for Baseball Hall of Fame Election" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. November 3, 2011. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
- "J.G. Taylor Spink Award". baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved July 20, 2010.
- "Awards: J. G. Taylor Spink". National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
- Rogers, Carroll (July 16, 2013). "AJC’s Furman Bisher among Baseball Hall of Fame finalists". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
- "Roger Angell Wins Spink Award" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. December 10, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
- "Ford Frick Award". baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved 2010-07-20.
- "2014 Ford C. Frick Award Ballot Finalized" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. October 2, 2013. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
- "Baseball Hall of Fame Restructures Frick Award Selection Process" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. September 4, 2013. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
- "Fan Voting for 2014 Frick Award Ballot Concludes Monday at Hall of Fame’s Facebook Page" (Press release). September 25, 2013. Retrieved October 20, 2013.