Tougher now than ever to enter HOF

 * Eligible players now only have 10 years to be voted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, rather than the customary 15 after a board decision made on the weekend. ...   2014 Canadians drafted … Canadians in Minors … Canadians in college summer ball …. Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent

From Beach to HOF .... Smoltz on deck? …. Eric Nadel …. Tony La Russa …. Joe Torre …. Bobby Cox …. Frank Thomas …. Greg Maddux …. Tom Glavine …. A Hall of a Class


By Bob Elliott

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. _ It is now even more difficult to be elected to the Hall of Fame.

No one bumped the usual standards of 3,000 hits or 300 wins which usually means induction, but the Hall’s board of directors has changed the election process reducing the time a player can be on a ballot.

In the past if a player had 5% of the ballots cast by voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, and maintained that total, he had 15 years of eligibility.

That number has been reduced to 10 years by the Hall’s board which includes Blue Jays president Paul Beeston.

Big deal?

Sure is when you consider that 13 players have been elected in their 11th-to-15th year on the ballot, most recently Bert Blyleven elected in his 14th in 2011.

Plus the likes of Duke Snider named in his 11th year in 1980, Bob Lemon, 12th in 1976, Bruce Sutter in 2006 and Ralph Kiner in 1975, both in their 13th year, and Jim Rice in his 15th and final year in 2009.

Only three players since 1980 have been inducted in their 11th-to-15th year of the ballot, so players pretty much have get in their first 10 years or not at all.

Of the 211 players in the Hall of Fame, 115 have been elected by the BBWAA, 96 by Veterans Committees. Of the 115 BBWAA electees, 102 (89%) have been elected in years 1-10 of eligibility.

“The Board is committed to keeping the policies and voting procedures of the Hall of Fame relevant,” said Jane Forbes Clark, chairman of the board. “We believe the BBWAA has done an excellent job of honoring the criteria advanced by the Hall of Fame -- player’s record, contributions to the teams on which the player played, character, sportsmanship and integrity -- to determine individuals who belong in the Hall of Fame by the highest threshold, a 75% majority. The Board believes these changes are necessary to ensure the integrity of the voting process moving forward.”

This change narrows the window of opportunity for seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens and seven-time MVP Barry Bonds, both on the ballot for a second time this year. Clemens had 35.4%, down from 37.6% while Bonds received 34.7% down from 36.2%).

Some Hall of Famers have said if any players who used performance enhancing drugs were elected they would not return to the ceremonies. The 15-person HOF board includes Joe Morgan, Phil Niekro, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson and Tom Seaver.

The change will not affect three players currently on the ballot: Don Mattingly (15th year in 2015), Alan Trammell (14th year) and Lee Smith (13th).

Players falling off the ballot will be considered by the expansion era committee, a 16-man group of Hall of Famers, owners and writers. That group elected former Blue Jays general manager Pat Gillick in 2011 and in its next sitting managers Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox, who will be inducted Sunday. It sits every three years, so Jack Morris next shot will be in 2017.

Another change will see voters filling out a registration form on line and signing a code of conduct and names of the voters will be released, but not ballots. Many write columns explaining which player they voted for and why.

An ESPN host gave his ballot to a web site allowing readers to pick his ballot.


6-for-6: Ozzie Guillen played for Bobby Cox and with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine with Atlanta. He played for manager Tony La Russa and alongside Frank Thomas with the White Sox. But never was in the same dugout as Joe Torre.

Did anyone go 6-for-6 with this year’s induction class.

Yep. Former Blue Jays No. 1 pick Steve Karsay -- thanks to Steve Hirdt of the Elias Sports Bureau -- played with or for, all six of this Sunday’s inductees:

_ Making 38 starts for La Russa’s Oakland A’s in 1993-97, after the Jays dealt him at the 1993 deadline for Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson.

_ Appearing in 43 games with Cox’s 2001 Braves going 4-3 with seven saves behind Maddux and Glavine. The Braves won 90 games beat the Houston Astros and lost the National League Championship Series to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

_ Working out of Torre’s bullpen with 2002, 2004-05 Yankees he appeared in 91 games picking up 12 saves. The Yanks were eliminated in the first round of 2002 by the Los Angeles Angels, lost the 2004 ALCS to the Boston Red Sox and lost to the Angels in the first round of 2005.

_ Pitching in nine games with the Thomas and the 2006 A’s, who lost the ALCS to the Detroit Tigers.