Hall of Fame’s Early Baseball Era Committee and Golden Days Era Committee to Meet this Winter
(COOPERSTOWN, NY) – The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Early Baseball Era Committee and Golden Days Era Committee will each meet for the first time this winter to consider managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players for election to the Hall of Fame. Those who made their contributions to baseball prior to 1950 will be considered by the Early Baseball Era Committee, and those who made their greatest contributions to the game from 1950-69 will be considered by the Golden Days Era Committee.
As part of the Early Baseball Era Committee process, Negro Leagues and pre-Negro Leagues candidates will be eligible for Hall of Fame consideration for the first time since the landmark 2006 Special Committee on Negro Leagues. That Special Committee election resulted in 17 Negro Leagues and pre-Negro Leagues candidates earning a spot in Cooperstown, bringing the total number of primary Negro Leagues and pre-Negro Leagues legends enshrined at the Hall of Fame to 35.
“The Early Baseball Era Committee ballot will be open to all who made their greatest impact on the game prior to 1950, including both Negro Leaguers and non-Negro Leaguers alike,” said Jane Forbes Clark, Chairman of the Board for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “Since the induction of Satchel Paige in 1971, the Hall of Fame has included Negro Leaguers among the legends of the game celebrated within our Plaque Gallery. In light of Major League Baseball’s decision last December to recognize a number of Negro Leagues as major leagues, it is important that those who were barred from participating in the American and National Leagues be evaluated again for potential Hall of Fame election.”
Due to the inclusion of the Negro Leagues within the Early Baseball Era, the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors has convened a Special Early Baseball Overview Committee of 10 historians to develop its 10-person ballot. The Special Early Baseball Overview Committee consists of five Negro Leagues historians and five veteran members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America who have previously served on the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Historical Overview Committee.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Emeritus Bud Selig, a member of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017, will serve as the non-voting chairman of this Special Early Baseball Overview Committee, and will lead the discussions prior to the vote to create its ballot.
“It is an honor to chair this important committee that will shape the Hall of Fame’s Early Baseball Era ballot,” Selig said. “A number of baseball’s foremost experts on the game’s early history, including historians of Black baseball, will come together to determine which eligible candidates from the pre-1950s era will be considered for the game’s highest honor: Election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The end result will be a 10-person ballot that includes Negro Leaguers, pre-Negro Leaguers and non-Negro Leaguers as eligible candidates.”
The Special Early Baseball Overview Committee includes the following Negro League historians: Gary Ashwill, Adrian Burgos Jr., Phil Dixon, Leslie Heaphy and Claire Smith. They will be joined by Historical Overview Committee members Jim Henneman (formerly Baltimore Sun), Steve Hirdt (Stats Perform), Rick Hummel (St. Louis Post-Dispatch), Jim Reeves (formerly Fort Worth Star-Telegram) and Glenn Schwarz (formerly San Francisco Chronicle).
The Historical Overview Committee, which will develop the Golden Days Era ballot, includes Henneman, Hirdt, Hummel, Reeves and Schwarz, as well as Bob Elliott (Canadian Baseball Network); David O’Brien (The Athletic); Jack O’Connell (BBWAA); Tracy Ringolsby (InsidetheSeams.com); Susan Slusser (San Francisco Chronicle); and Mark Whicker (Los Angeles News Group).
“The BBWAA’s Historical Overview Committee, which has formulated National Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans and Era Committee ballots for 20 years, firmly endorses the inclusion of Negro Leagues historians into the process for the Early Era Committee and that of former commissioner Bud Selig as chair,” said Jack O’Connell, Secretary-Treasurer for the BBWAA. “This effort shall ensure a fair and thorough examination of all candidates from a period in the game’s history when the playing field was divided.”
Clark will serve as the non-voting Chairman of the Golden Days Era Committee, while Clark and Selig will serve as non-voting co-Chairs for the Early Baseball Era Committee meeting. The 16 members of each of these voting Committees will be named later this fall. The Golden Days Era Committee and the Early Baseball Era Committee will both meet on Dec. 5, with the results of the vote announced that evening live on MLB Network.