Hall of Fame Announces Change to BBWAA Voting Electorate

(COOPERSTOWN, NY) – The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Board of Directors today announced a change to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America electorate, requiring potential Hall of Fame voters meet requirements as active members covering the game, while providing a 10-year grace period for those no longer active.

BBWAA members will maintain sole voting privileges for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, an exclusive honor granted to the organization since the inaugural Hall of Fame election in 1936. Moving forward, potential Hall of Fame voters, all of whom must be 10-year BBWAA members, must hold an active BBWAA card or have held active status within the last 10 years. BBWAA members previously holding Hall of Fame voting privileges who are no longer active in the game and are more than 10 years removed from active status will have the opportunity for annual reinstatement, based on their coverage of the game in the preceding year.

Currently, approximately 650 BBWAA members are eligible to participate in the Hall of Fame vote, based on their status as 10-year BBWAA members. A voter registration system and survey will determine each individual member’s eligibility.

“The Board of Directors strongly believes the BBWAA has done an excellent job at reviewing candidates for election each year since 1936,” said Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman of the Board of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “The Board feels that the changes enacted over the last two years ensure that the highest levels of integrity are maintained in the voting process, with the most active electorate possible considering candidates for Hall of Fame election.”

Each BBWAA-Hall of Fame eligible voter will be required to register online, beginning in late August, in order to be considered as a potential voter for 2016. Eligible voters will be notified in August of the new registration and survey procedures. Following the close of the registry at the end of the September, potential voters will be notified of their voting status for 2016. Those eligible to vote will receive their ballots in early November.

Voter eligibility requirements follow previously announced changes by the Board in July 2014, which reduced the length of stay on the ballot for recently retire players from a maximum of 15 to 10 years, while installing a new balloting and registration process for Baseball Writers’ Association of America voting members.

Those changes, implemented in the winter of 2014 and in effect for the 2015 Hall of Fame election, were the first made by the Hall of Fame to the voting process since 1991 and just the second time the Baseball Hall of Fame has amended the rules for election since 1985.

Changes implemented for the 2015 election included that eligible voters be required to complete a registration form and sign a code of conduct. The names of those BBWAA members casting Hall of Fame ballots were first made public with the election results; however, an individual’s ballot is not revealed by the Hall of Fame. Those elements will all remain in the voting procedures moving forward.

Ernst and Young, which has verified the count since 1995, absorbed added responsibilities in verifying the process starting in 2016. The 2016 ballot will be announced by the BBWAA in early November. The 2016 Hall of Fame election results will be announced on January 6, 2016.

BBWAA members earn a Hall of Fame vote from their organization, which is independent of the Hall of Fame, by maintaining 10 consecutive years on a baseball beat.

Of the 215 players in the Hall of Fame, 119 have been elected by the BBWAA, 96 by Veterans Committees. Of the 119 BBWAA electees, 106 (89%) have been elected in years 1-10 and 13 (11%) were elected in years 11-15.

The BBWAA has held the exclusive voting privilege to consider recently retired players for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame since 1936. Since that time, the BBWAA has presided over 71 elections in 80 election years, with no elections being held in 1940, 1941, 1943, 1944, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1963 and 1965.