Baseball Hall of Fame balloting, 1948
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1948 followed the same procedures as 1947. The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from players retired less than 25 years, with provision for a runoff in case of no winner. It elected two people on the first ballot, Herb Pennock and Pie Traynor.
Meanwhile, the Old Timers Committee, with jurisdiction over earlier players, met on no schedule and not this year. Criticism continued that earlier players, as well as managers and other non-playing candidates, were being overlooked.
The 10-year members of the BBWAA had the authority to select any players active in 1923 or later, provided they had been retired since 1946. Voters were instructed to cast votes for 10 candidates; any candidate receiving votes on at least 75% of the ballots would be honored with induction to the Hall. If no candidate received votes on 75% of the ballots, the top 20 candidates would advance to a runoff election, with the vote totals from the first ballot not being revealed until the runoff was over.
A total of 121 ballots were cast - the lowest total for any BBWAA election - with 1,036 individual votes for 106 specific candidates, an average of 8.56 per ballot; 91 votes were required for election. The results were announced on February 27, 1948. The election was a success for the second year in a row following the most recent format change, with two more inductees to the Hall being selected; again, no runoff was necessary. Herb Pennock, who received the most votes and was elected, had died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage just weeks earlier on January 30; however, he had done increasingly well in previous elections, and many ballots had already been cast, making it unlikely that his election was primarily due to sentiment.
The number of players receiving votes (106) was a significant increase over the previous year's total of 39, and the highest number since the 1939 election. After the 1947 election in which voters had just a few weeks to select candidates following the disqualification of players retired over 25 years, voters in 1948 had a full year in which to look for candidates who had retired between 1923 and 1946, and a wide variety of new candidates drew votes. 80 of those named received votes on less than 5% of the ballots, with 36 receiving only a single vote; 45 players were named for the first time, although all had been eligible at some point in the past - for some, the 1936 election in which active players were eligible. All but 3 of the eligible candidates who received any votes in the 1947 election were again named in the voting.
As had been the case in 1947, the focus was now on the most recent players; those who retired in the 1920s generally saw their vote totals decrease from the previous year, while more recent players advanced even further in the voting. Due to the scarcity of precise historical records, some voters may have refrained from voting for players of the 1920s due to uncertainty as to their eligibility. Only 5 of the top 30 candidates, and none of the top 14, had retired before 1931. Of the 106 players named, 29 retired before 1930; they received only 12% of the vote. These totals include eight ineligible players who retired before 1923 - including Johnny Kling, retired since 1913 - who nevertheless received 2 votes; this may have been due to uncertainty as to their retirement date, or perhaps as a voter response to the lack of any selections by the Old-Timers Committee the previous year. Votes for notable managers such as Miller Huggins increased, perhaps also in response to the lack of 1947 honors in that area.
Chief Bender, who last played regularly in 1917, received 5 votes; he was technically eligible due to a single inning pitched in 1925, but the drop from his 1947 total of 72 votes suggests either that most voters were unaware of that fact or that they viewed it as irrelevant regarding the spirit of the rules. Dizzy Dean, who finished 8th in the 1947 balloting with 88 votes, had come out of retirement to start one game in 1947; nevertheless, 40 votes were cast for him by those who felt that this single appearance should not affect his retired status and eligibility. Four other players who made their last major league appearances in 1947, including Red Ruffing and Stan Hack, got a handful of votes; Joe Medwick, still active, received one vote.
The two candidates who received at least 75% of the vote and were elected are indicated in bold italics; candidates who have since been selected in subsequent elections are indicated in italics:
|Elected to the Hall. These individuals are also indicated in bold italics.|
|Players who were elected in future elections. These individuals are also indicated in plain italics.|
- 1948 Election at www.baseballhalloffame.org