December 4, 2012
Could We See a Blank Hall of Fame Ballot in 2013?
Before thinking about the awkwardness that the next Hall of Fame ceremony could unleash on the baseball world, we’ll think first of Sal’s Pizzeria and Nicoletta’s, the Cooperstown haunts that need that weekend a lot more than we do.
They won’t be ruined by an induction weekend where a steroid user gets a key to the somewhat sacrosanct halls of 25 Main Street. What will hurt them is the lack of visitors that would follow the very realistic scenario of the BBWAA turning in a collectively blank ballot with none of the 37 candidates reaching 75 percent of the votes on the individual ballot.
It would lead to a type of induction ceremony not seen since 1965, when Pud Galvin was a class unto himself and also 63 years grave-bound. Though three worthy candidates were granted admission by the Veterans Committee on Monday, all three of them have been deceased since the 1930s, meaning that a blank BBWAA ballot would make for the first induction weekend since Galvin’s without a living inductee.
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum president Jeff Idelson acknowledged that this was a possibility but not a devastating one to him.
“At the end of the day you want your election process to be that: an election process and not an appointment,” Idelson said. “What’s most important to us is the integrity of the process.”
It’s a two-part process that began Monday with the election of three figures from the pre-integration era. With 12 votes necessary for induction, Jacob Ruppert received 15 of 16 votes on the strength of his tenure as Yankees owner that featured the acquisition of Babe Ruth and the building of the real Yankee Stadium. Long-serving National League umpire Hank O’Day also received 15 votes, while (notably barehanded) catcher and third baseman Deacon White, who played from 1871-90, received 14.