2017 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting
|2017 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees|
|Top row, L-R: Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Iván Rodríguez.|
Bottom row, L-R: John Schuerholz and Bud Selig
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 2017 proceeded according to rules most recently amended in 2016. As in the past, the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from a ballot of recently retired players, with results announced on January 18, 2017. The BBWAA elected Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Iván Rodríguez to the Hall of Fame.
The three voting panels that replaced the more broadly defined Veterans Committee following a July 2010 rules change were replaced by a new set of four panels in July 2016. The newly created Today's Game Committee convened early in December 2016 to select from a ballot of retired players and non-playing personnel who made their greatest contributions to the sport after 1987. John Schuerholz and Bud Selig were elected by this committee.
On July 26, 2014, the Hall announced changes to the rules for election for recently retired players, reducing the number of years a player will be eligible to be on the ballot from fifteen years to ten. One candidate presently on the BBWAA ballot (Lee Smith) in years 10-15 was grandfathered into this system and retained his previous 15 years of eligibility. In addition, BBWAA members who were otherwise eligible to cast ballots were required to complete a registration form and sign a code of conduct before receiving their ballots, and the Hall made public the names of all members who cast ballots (but not their individual votes) when it announced the election results. The code of conduct specifically states that the ballot is non-transferable, a direct reaction to Dan Le Batard turning his 2014 Hall of Fame ballot over to the sports website Deadspin and allowing the site's readers to make his Hall votes (an act that drew him a lifetime ban from future Hall voting). Violation of the code of conduct will result in a lifetime ban from BBWAA voting.
A more recent rules change, announced on July 28, 2015, tightened the qualifications for the BBWAA electorate. Beginning with the 2016 election, eligible voters must not only have 10 years of continuous BBWAA membership, but also be currently active members, or have held active status within the 10 years prior to the election. A BBWAA member who has not been active for more than 10 years can regain voting status by covering MLB in the year preceding the election. As a result of the new rule, the vote total in 2016 decreased by 109 from the previous year, to 440.
The ballot included two categories of players:
- Candidates from the 2016 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 2003.
- Selected individuals, chosen by a screening committee, whose last MLB appearance was in 2011.
Players who were eligible for the first time who were not included on the ballot were: Josh Bard, Danys Báez, Milton Bradley, Russell Branyan, Juan Castro, Ramón Castro, Alex Cora, Craig Counsell, Jack Cust, Doug Davis, Adam Everett, Ryan Franklin, Ross Gload, Wes Helms, Mark Hendrickson, Scott Linebrink, Felipe López, Julio Lugo, Jason Michaels, Trever Miller, Corey Patterson, Joel Piñeiro, Dennys Reyes, Aaron Rowand, Marcus Thames, Brett Tomko, Javier Vázquez, and Chris Woodward.
442 ballots were cast, 2 more than in 2016.
Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Iván Rodríguez were elected. Raines and Lee Smith were on the ballot for their final time; Smith dropped off the ballot, while Raines was the fifth player to be elected in his final ballot, after Red Ruffing, Joe Medwick, Ralph Kiner, and Jim Rice. Rodríguez was elected in his first year of eligibility.
Voting results from 2017:
Today's Game Committee
On July 23, 2016, the Hall of Fame announced changes to the Era Committee system. The system's timeframes were restructured to place a greater emphasis on the modern game, and to reduce the frequency at which individuals from the pre-1970 game (including Negro Leagues figures) will have their careers reviewed.
Separate 16-member subcommittees will continue to vote on individuals from different eras of baseball, with candidates still being classified by the time periods that cover their greatest contributions:
- Early Baseball (1871–1949)
- Golden Days (1950–1969)
- Modern Baseball (1970–1987)
- Today's Game (1988 and later)
All committees' ballots will include 10 candidates. While there was previously a one-year waiting period after elimination from annual BBWAA consideration, there will now be no waiting period. At least one committee will convene every December, in the calendar year before the induction ceremony in July. The Early Baseball committee will convene only in years ending in 0, and the Golden Days committee will convene in years ending in 0 and 5. The Today's Game and Modern Baseball committees will alternate their meetings in that order, skipping years in which the Golden Days and Early Baseball committees meet.
Accordingly, the committees will meet in the following years as part of the elections for the next calendar year:
- Today's Game – 2016, 2018, 2021, 2023
- Modern Baseball – 2017, 2019, 2022, 2024
- Golden Days – 2020, 2025
- Early Baseball – 2020, 2030
Additionally, the Hall of Fame has modified the criteria for consideration of active executives. Previously, active executives 65 or older were eligible for consideration by era-based committees; the lower age limit has now been raised to 70. The new criteria explicitly state that for those who meet the age cutoff, neither their positions in an organization nor their currently active status will affect their election.
On October 3, 2016, the Hall announced the 10 candidates to be considered when the Today's Game Committee met at the 2016 winter meetings in National Harbor, Maryland on December 4; the voting results were announced immediately after the committee met. The cutoff for election and induction remained the standard 75%, or 12 of 16 votes.
The committee consisted of the following individuals:
- Hall of Famers: Roberto Alomar, Bobby Cox, Andre Dawson, Dennis Eckersley, Pat Gillick, Ozzie Smith, Don Sutton and Frank Thomas
- Executives: Paul Beeston, Bill DeWitt, David Glass, Andy MacPhail and Kevin Towers
- Media and historians: Bill Center, Steve Hirdt, and Tim Kurkjian
- Non-voting committee chair: Jane Forbes Clark (Hall of Fame chairman)
All candidates except for Steinbrenner were alive when the ballot and the voting results were announced.
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.
- Jim Reeves
- Claire Smith
- Juan Vene
On December 6, during the 2016 winter meetings, Smith was named as the 2017 recipient. She received 272 of a possible 449 votes (with three ballots left blank). At the time of announcement, Smith was ESPN's news editor for remote production, with chief responsibility for incorporating news and analysis in the network's MLB-related broadcasts, as well as SportsCenter. She became the first African-American woman, and the first woman of any ethnicity, to regularly cover MLB for a newspaper when she began covering the New York Yankees for The Hartford Courant in 1983. Smith went from there to The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer before joining ESPN.
Ford C. Frick Award
Various changes in July 2016 were also made to the annual Ford C. Frick Award elections, presented annually to a preeminent baseball broadcaster since 1978. According to the Hall, the new criteria for selection are "Commitment to excellence, quality of broadcasting abilities, reverence within the game, popularity with fans, and recognition by peers."
Additionally, a ballot of eight candidates will now be set, down from 10 in years past. The three ballot slots previously determined by fan voting on Facebook will now be filled by a committee of historians.
A new election cycle has been established, rotating annually between Current Major League Markets (team-specific announcers) with the 2017 Frick Award; National Voices (broadcasters whose contributions were realized on a national level) with the 2018 Frick Award; and Broadcasting Beginnings (early team voices and pioneers of baseball broadcasting) with the 2019 Frick Award. This cycle will repeat every three years.
The Hall announced the ballot for the 2017 award on November 7, 2016, with voting to take place at the 2016 winter meetings on December 7. On December 7, it was announced that Bill King was the winner of the award.
At the time the ballot was announced, all candidates were living except King and Martin.
Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award
Another Hall of Fame honor, the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award, was also presented at the 2017 Awards Presentation. The award was created in 2008 in honor of Buck O'Neil, a Negro leagues star who went on to become one of baseball's leading ambassadors until his death in 2006. The first award was presented posthumously to O'Neil at the 2008 induction ceremony, and prior to 2017 had been presented two additional times. According to the Hall,
The Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award is presented by the Hall of Fame's Board of Directors not more than once every three years to honor an individual whose extraordinary efforts enhanced baseball's positive impact on society, broadened the game's appeal, and whose character, integrity and dignity are comparable to the qualities exhibited by O'Neil.
As with the media awards, recipients are not members of the Hall of Fame but are permanently recognized by the Hall. In this case, the recipients are listed alongside a life-size statue of O'Neil that stands at the entrance to the museum. Written nominations for the award are accepted by mail at any time; the nomination must specifically state how the nominee meets the traits exemplified by O'Neil.
On May 25, 2017, the Hall announced that Rachel Robinson, widow of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, would be the 2017 recipient. Before Jackie's passing in 1972, the couple established the Jackie Robinson Development Corporation, which builds and manages affordable housing. The following year, she established the Jackie Robinson Foundation to provide college scholarships and leadership training. In announcing the award, Hall of Fame chair Jane Forbes Clark said, "Rachel Robinson has worked tirelessly to raise the level of equality not only in baseball, but throughout society."
Notes and references
- "2017 Hall of Fame ballot". Baseball Writers' Association of America. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
- "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.
- "Hall of Fame Makes Series of Announcements" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. July 23, 2016. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
- "Hall of Fame Announces Changes to Voting Process for Recently Retired Players, Effective Immediately" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. July 26, 2014. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- Bloom, Barry M. (July 26, 2014). "Hall reduces eligibility from 15 years to 10". MLB.com. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- "Hall of Fame Announces Change to BBWAA Voting Electorate" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. July 28, 2015. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
- "Ken Griffey Jr. (99 percent of vote), Mike Piazza head to Cooperstown". ESPN. January 6, 2016. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
- Schonefield, David (January 18, 2017). "Who won and lost on Hall of Fame election night?". ESPN. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
- Baseball Hall of Fame. "Hall of Fame Class of 2017".
- "2017 Today's Game Era Ballot Released" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. October 3, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- "John Schuerholz, Bud Selig Elected to National Baseball Hall of Fame by Today's Game Committee" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. December 4, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
- Waldstein, David (December 4, 2016). "Bud Selig, an Apostle for Equity, Reaches Hall of Fame". The New York Times. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
- "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.
- "Claire Smith, Jim Reeves, Juan Vene finalists for Spink Award". ESPN. July 13, 2016. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
- "Claire Smith 1st Female Spink Award Winner" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. December 6, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
- "2017 Ford C. Frick Award Ballot" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. November 7, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- "Awards: Buck O'Neil". National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved July 24, 2011.
- Macklin, Oliver (May 25, 2017). "Robinson honored as Buck O'Neil recipient". MLB.com. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
- "2017 Buck O'Neil Award Winner Rachel Robinson". National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved July 30, 2017.