Originally Posted by Brian26
I have no doubt he won't get elected unanimously. Unfortunately, in today's environment, there's more incentive for a writer to not vote him in to get that heel recognition rather than to do the correct and proper thing the first time.
I don't believe that is a big part of it, although it may be for a few who write about their contrarian ballots.
The threshold is set at 75 percent. Leaving a player off of a ballot is not a no vote to keep someone out of the Hall of Fame. No one has a veto. A voter can vote for up to 10 candidates. Add up the numbers when the votes are released and divide by 10 and you'll see that very few do. There was a year when there was a movement among friends of Pete Rose to turn in blank ballots to bring attention to what they believed to be the injustice of prohibiting someone who brought shame to the game from being enshrined in its Hall of Fame.
The year Carlton Fisk became eligible, George Brett, Nolan Ryan and Robin Yount were elected. Fisk was only named on 66 percent of the ballots and didn't get in until 2000. Eight of the top 10 in 1999 actually would end up eventually getting the 75 percent, but Gary Carter was only named on about half as many ballots as Fisk. Bert Blyleven only picked up about 14 percent in his second year of eligibility, finishing behind Tommy John in his fifth.
The vote isn't so much a referendum on who voters want to see in the Hall of Fame as it is a spotlight to recognize and honor players. There are voters who believe this guy should be in already and shouldn't have to wait for that guy. If there is a player you believe isn't getting the attention he deserves, or several who are running out of eligibility, voters can vote for them to give them more attention knowing that these others who should be elected will get far more than 75 percent. Even if you believe both Carlton Fisk and Gary Carter belong in the Hall of Fame, you aren't going to vote for them both if you have strong feelings for one or the other catchers. Many believe it was Brett, Ryan and Yount that cost Fisk his first-ballot status, but I think Carter had something to do with it. Fisk was probably the reason Carter lost votes from 1998 to 1999.
There are writers who say they don't believe a player is first-ballot eligible. There certainly were voters who weren't going to vote for Henry Aaron, no way, no how, for obvious reasons. But for the most part, it isn't voters snubbing players so much as voters lobbying for players they believe deserve to be there and won't vote for players to get in ahead of them. Frankly, if I had a vote, it would upset me that I couldn't vote for Harold Baines, especially knowing that there are voters voting for only two or three of the biggest vote-getters. While I don't always agree with the way some writers vote, I really couldn't demand their union cards. If the threshold were 80 percent instead of 75 percent, I think, I would hope you would see more voters using up more of their ballot lines.
It's the writers who didn't vote for Nellie Fox in his last year of BBWAA eligibility that bother me.