As the Hall of Fame readied for its big day on Sunday, officially inducting Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey, Jr. into their ranks, Hall of Fame officials made an announcement regarding their Veterans Committees and changes regarding their annual Ford C. Frick Award.
They are now separating the various eras of baseball into categories that will be voted upon in future assemblies of the Veterans Committees in the search for any former player, executive or pioneer who may have been overlooked by the writers and/or past Veterans Committees.
The period between 1950-1969 has now been labeled The Golden Days – in recent years, they had established the years between 1947-1972 as the Golden Era. From 1871 to 1949 is now Early Baseball. From 1970 to 1987 is now Modern Baseball, and from 1988 to the present is now Today’s Game.
Early Baseball elections will be held once every ten years. Golden Days elections will take place once every five years. Modern Baseball twice every five years. And Today’s Game twice every five years.
This does not affect the annual vote by the writers for recent players under consideration.
As stated in the announcement, this is an avenue to have those major league players, managers, umpires, executives, and Negro League players who excelled before 1950 to have their careers reviewed, but with less frequency.
“Notably,” proclaimed Hall of Fame Chairman of the Board Jane Forbes Clark, “there are twice as many players in the Hall of Fame who debuted before 1950 as compared to afterward, and yet there are nearly double the eligible candidates after 1950 than prior. Those who served the game long ago and have been evaluated many times on past ballots will now be reviewed with less frequently.”
Another tweak to the process raised the age at which active executives can have their careers reviewed and considered for enshrinement. Previously, the age for consideration was 65. It is now 70.
In addition, recent players who had been considered by the writers but who failed to achieve the necessary 75% of ballots submitted for election no longer have to wait to be considered by the Eras Committees. They are now eligible to be considered the following year.
Changes to the Ford C. Frick Award, which recognizes preeminent baseball broadcasters prior to 1978 now will be acknowledged for their “commitment to excellence, quality of broadcasting abilities, reverence within the game, popularity with the fans, and recognition by peers.”
That all translates to now any current or former broadcaster worthy of election, “put him in.”
They also announced that the ballot of broadcasters to be considered has been reduced from ten to eight, but really, what does that matter when you’re only going to elect one guy per year. But the disturbing aspect affecting changes to this award was that the three ballot slots previously determined by fan voting on Facebook will now be filled by a committee of historians.