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Mike Schmidt has a horrible, horrible idea for changing the Hall of Fame voting

Nov 30, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT


I missed this before, but Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt was on SiriusXm the other day talking about Hall of Fame voting. He thinks it’s time to change the voting procedures. You can hear his whole idea here. It won’t blockquote it because it’s kind of rambling, but here is the upshot of his comments:

  • Getting voted in to the Hall of Fame is not just an honor, but it’s important to some players in terms of “subsidizing their current income.” This, I presume, refers to the very real notion that guys who are inducted can command much, much higher fees for autographed merch and appearances at baseball card shows and the like;
  • The more recent players really don’t need the money like some of the other ones do;
  • Writers often have personal grudges against players, have big problems with PEDs, etc., so maybe they shouldn’t vote on these guys;
  • Instead, have the writers come up with a list of finalists for voting and then let a committee of current Hall of Famers make the final call.

Setting aside the idea that allowing current Hall of Famers vote is the reason why the old version of the Veterans Committee never elected anyone, does Schmidt not realize that his idea comes with an extreme conflict of interest?

Sure, the writers may have grudges and irrational ideas on some matters, but if you’re a current Hall of Famer, and you make a LOT of money selling yourself as a Hall of Famer — and notice that Schmidt says that before anything else — is it not in your best interest to ensure that there are far fewer Hall of Famers who might compete with you on the autograph circuit? Indeed, Schmidt’s seemingly random comment about some players not needing the money as much as others suggests that this is at the forefront of his mind.

Maybe he’s right that the voting system should be changed, but between the conflicts, the track record of the old Veteran’s Committee and the calcified “things were better in MY day” reasoning of a lot of former ballplayers, I think having them play a part in elections is the worst idea imaginable.

  1. danaking - Nov 30, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    I read the headline and thought, “How could what he suggests possibly be worse than the current system?” So I read the article.

    He managed.

  2. b453841l - Nov 30, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    Mr. Schmidt, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    • Glenn - Nov 30, 2012 at 6:51 PM

      I loved watching Schmidt play and he is the greatest third baseman ever, but I have never heard him say an intelligent thing. Usually he comes off as baseball’s Grumpy Old Man.

  3. temporarilyexiled - Nov 30, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    Have to disagree with you here. I heard the whole interview, not just this particular part near the end, where he was trying to come up with an answer to repeated questioning.

    And while it’s not the most cohesive thing you’ve ever heard, I’ve heard far worse. When you hear the whole interview, context and perspective give a different picture. I was very impressed with that interview.

    I seriously doubt ulterior motives. That he came up with an idea that’s different – but no better – and maybe worse – than what’s in place now doesn’t surprise me.

    Craig, do YOU have a solid idea of the who, what, when, where, how, and why of how the Hall of Fame should conduct all of its various elections? And if you’ve already posted it, my bad.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Nov 30, 2012 at 11:49 AM

      I think what we have now is as good as we can probably do among many flawed ideas. If I could change one thing, though, is that I would require the BBWAA to only allow active baseball writers vote. As of now there are scores — maybe hundreds — of voters who have not covered baseball for many years, and some who never really covered baseball in any substantial way at all. The BBWAA does good with this for postseason awards — it’s active voters — but this Hall of Fame voter for life thing is silly.

      Another possibility is some panel of experts thing, but I have no idea how such a thing could ever be workable because, dude, you gotta pick experts and that’s a fight in and of itself.

      • temporarilyexiled - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:21 PM

        Sounds like a good start.

        There were tons of comments about your great piece about Bonds and Clemens needing to go in right away. Mine basically stated that I was in full agreement with it.

        That said, one aspect that needs to be dealt with is how the current Hall of Famers feel about PED users, even if that feeling is totally simplistic, omits what THEY did, and is unworkable.

        The many loser writers who vote with delusions of grandeur are just another of the many groups that make it difficult to do a good job.

        It’s going to take someone able to deal with the crap from ALL of the groups that care about this in order to move towards something that makes sense.

        Writers, Hall of Famers, uber-moralistic commenters, owners, management, current players with no sense of history – these are just some of the various groups that need to be dealt with.

      • skids003 - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:22 PM

        Well worded Craig. While flawed, it could be tweeked and improved, but it’s the best we got?

      • craigisaloser - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:24 PM

        Lets be honest here Craig…the only reason you even talked about this is because you hate JMS and the Phillies. The same can go for why I left you a comment. God I hope you aren’t one of the pencil necks that get a vote for the HOF.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:48 PM

        Well worded Craig. While flawed, it could be tweeked and improved, but it’s the best we got?

        Sounds just like “Democracy is the worst form of gov’t, except for all the others”.

      • DJ MC - Nov 30, 2012 at 1:21 PM

        I would make one small change to your idea.

        The reason the vote-for-life provision is there is so a writer who covered a player could be able to vote on them through their entire time on the ballot, which could (obviously) be 20 years after the player’s retirement. That’s very different than voting on a single-season award for an active player.

        So offer a limit to the amount of time a writer has to vote from the point they stop covering baseball on a regular basis: say, 25 years. That would satisfy the desire of the BBWAA to have the writers who covered those players doing most of the voting while preventing writers from voting many decades beyond their knowledge of the sport.

      • ezthinking - Nov 30, 2012 at 1:28 PM

        The “best we got” is clearly not “the best.”.

        Thin the voting herd. Cap it at 300-400 voters or something based upon some clear criteria. Number of games attended over the last 10 years and last 5 years; articles written; background check (essential if morality/character will be a criteria – cheat on your wife – not fit to judged another’s moral fitness); etc. Come up with 10 or so.

        Then maybe take it to a smaller committee of players, coaches, scouts gm’s and, yes fans. Maybe 50 people total. Require them to elect at least 3. Holdovers with 50% or so come back for five years max. Over 75% you’re in no matter if there are 3 or 10.

        We get a Hall that reflects the game.

      • djpostl - Nov 30, 2012 at 4:40 PM

        @craigisaloser lol, could we be a finer example of a butthurt, paranoid Phillies fan?

        Schmidt is an idiot, Craig had it right in his assessment.

        Get over it.

      • raysfan1 - Nov 30, 2012 at 8:09 PM

        Dj, his delusion of persecution is the only source of fun he has. He doesn’t even realize that his attempt to be a troll and insult Craig with his moniker actually compliments him–having a troll dislike you is a good thing.

  4. kvanhorn87 - Nov 30, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    Only thing I know is that the writers should no longer be voting for the hall of fame. And of course, no writer will ever support losing their privilege. Notice I said privilege not their RIGHT.

  5. kkolchak - Nov 30, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    Boy, it sure is ugly when someone so blatantly advocates for something that is in their own financial self interest and tries to pass it off as principle. I have to admit that before reading this, the financial benefits of being a Hall of Famer had never occurred to me (but it totally makes sense).

    So thank you, Michael Jack. You have managed to surprise even this miserable old cynic.

  6. siriusred67 - Nov 30, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    Schmidt’s proposed changes sound a lot like football’s HOF process… which sucks. Keep baseball’s voting system the way it is.

    • ireportyoudecide - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:22 PM

      I think football’s works better then baseballs. 1 voter per team, ensures active writers. Maybe 20 national writers, all active as well. Committee of 50 voters, I think would be a lot better then the current system. I also think you would see Bonds and Clemons get in this year if that was the case.

      • yahmule - Nov 30, 2012 at 3:12 PM

        The NFL model is terrible, IMO. The format encourages politicking and deal-making among voters. Grudges (or honest misperceptions) held by individuals are no longer limited to that particular voter, but are allowed to snowball in a semi-organized groupthink environment.

  7. 1historian - Nov 30, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Brooks Robinson is the greatest third baseman of all time

    • zzalapski - Nov 30, 2012 at 11:51 AM

      …in Baltimore.

      Of course, that has no bearing on the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of Schmidt’s comments.

    • 18thstreet - Nov 30, 2012 at 3:15 PM

      I’m giving this a thumbs up. Not because I agree, but because it’s nice to see someone start an argument for no good reason whatsoever.

      The earth is 6000 years old.

      • djpostl - Nov 30, 2012 at 4:42 PM

        I’m not a scientist, man…but even Pat Robertson says that’s some horse pucky.

      • ptfu - Nov 30, 2012 at 4:51 PM

        “Let’s fight.”
        “Them’s fightin’ words.”

  8. 12strikes - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Not a big fan of the idea, but it could be tweaked to make it a little more palatable.
    Make it so that the list that is handed to the “HOF” committe is between 50 and 100 names. Pass a rule that 10 percent HAVE to be elected.

    • djpostl - Nov 30, 2012 at 4:43 PM

      “Pass a rule that 10 percent HAVE to be elected”

      You could have found the one dumb ass idea that Schmidt managed to omit.

      Hell no.

      Hell. No.

  9. ryanrockzzz - Nov 30, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    The problem with the HOF isn’t really centered for me around who’s voting, it is the methadology behind the voting process.

    The HOF is nothing more then a post-baseball popularity contest. For players in larger markets who have gotten a ton of press and fanfare in their careers, the argument for them to go into the HOF becomes much easier then someone who played their whole career in Kansas City or out west somewhere like Seattle. The boarderline players who are chummy with the media ALWAYS have a better chance, since they are the only ones who get a vote. Why not have qualified media members who are active baseball experts vote, along with the some retired baseball executives and players? It’s a novel idea, but the system is always bigger with the HOF then the purpose. You have a bunch of old cranky guys carrying voting eligibilty that haven’t covered baseball in years and may know less about things then you or I. It should be about electing the best players the game has ever seen into an a select group.
    There are no defined standards, or voting critera. You’ll see a player almost every year get into the HOF with a million people posting stat lines of players who have no chance of getting into the HOF that are nearly identical.

  10. deathmonkey41 - Nov 30, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Just throwing this out there- have porn stars vote on it.

    • temporarilyexiled - Nov 30, 2012 at 1:13 PM

      Current, former, or both?

      • deathmonkey41 - Nov 30, 2012 at 1:29 PM

        Both- let us not discriminate.

      • temporarilyexiled - Nov 30, 2012 at 1:32 PM


        Submit your suggestion to Hardballs Talk.

      • 18thstreet - Nov 30, 2012 at 3:16 PM

        I don’t want to see that Veterans Committee.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Nov 30, 2012 at 2:20 PM

      OK, but only if the guys set a good example for youngsters by wearing condoms while voting.

  11. xmatt0926x - Nov 30, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    I’ve mentioned this before when a Mike Schmidt post came up about a year ago. If you ever hear many of his interviews they will almost always have two things. His answers will usually end up dealing with money in some way and they will be long and rambling. When I used to listen to Mike and Mike on the drive to work they would have him on occasionally and he would ramble on with every answer he would give. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a Phillies fan and appreciate the guy but he can be tough to listen to. I’m sure he is like a lot of older athletes in different sports in that he can’t help but obsess over what guys from his era made as compared to what they make today. It’s best to just let him say whats on his mind, nod your head and move on.

    • temporarilyexiled - Nov 30, 2012 at 1:17 PM

      If I was the best ever at my position, and watched others – some that make a mockery of the game – make way more than I ever did, I have to confess that I’d be similarly inclined – even if it was bad form.

  12. willclarkgameface - Nov 30, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Where are the Philly fans with their 9 volt batteries when you need them?

  13. mazblast - Dec 1, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Schmidt, who grew up in Dayton, Ohio, idolizes Pete Rose and is just trying to come up with a back-door way to get The Gambler into the HOF. He’s coming off as as big an idiot as ever in the process.

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