Hall-of-Fame Incentives

In his very good baseball Q&A the other day, Buster Olney didn’t address the questions some of you asked about how sportswriters vote for the Hall of Fame.

For what it’s worth, however, Zev Chafets, author of the recent book Cooperstown Confidential: Heroes, Rogues, and the Baseball Hall of Fame, recently wrote an interesting piece for the Wall Street Journal about how much players benefit financially once they are elected to the Hall, especially if they are only marginally famous. Chafets includes a note on how players are elected to the Hall — although he’s talking about the former players who get to vote, not the sportswriters:

In recent years the money pot has grown as the Hall of Fame, which produces and markets its own line of merchandise, has been forced to give 30 percent of the profits to its inductees. According to Marvin Miller, very likely the world’s greatest expert on baseball economics, this helps explain why the Veterans Committee, composed of Hall of Famers, consistently refuses to exercise its mandate to elect previously overlooked old-timers. “Nobody wants to dilute the value of his stock,” Mr. Miller told me.

I’m sure that Chafets, a longtime journalist who is not known for shying away from an argument, has made some veteran players unhappy by this accusation. But with the incentives as strong as they are, it is not at all hard to believe he is right.

Johnny E

When will Gil Hodges get elected?!!!

chris markl

Right after I read this, I watched sportscenter and all the HOF players were talking about how Pete Rose should be in the HOF....


The real question is the idea of a "first ballot hall of famer." Either someone is good enough for the hall of fame or is not.


I missed the question phase with Olney.

What I would have asked, and what now makes more sense to me, is what about Ron Santo!!??

I am so sick of Joe Morgan dissing him!! His stats make him one of the top 5 3rd basemen to ever play, yet he remains on the outside looking in.

Joe's just trying to keep his slice of the pie as big as possible.....

holly loudly

Yes! Yes! Yes! Pete Rose belongs in the HOF.


Dale Murphy belongs in the HOF. How is he overlooked?


The hall of fame is a private enterprise, as such they act in accordance with their will. There seems to be a sense by baseball fans that the hall should represent their interest. Sorry, get over it. If you want your own hall of fame then open one. If you don't like the Hall's policies, don't patronize it.

I am as big a fan of the game as anyone, but that does not give me any authority over the Hall.

Dale Murphy is overlooked because the voters don't think he is worthy- that's it, simple. They don't have to prove the negative to me, you or anyone.


Could there be a similar explanation for why Rush isn't in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yet?


Ah, but IMHO Dale Murphy IS HOF worthy. Two time MVP, 5 golden gloves, not to mention what kind of PERSON he was (is).

Garry Kanter

The veterans committee is only concerned about *living* players diluting their shares. The late Joe Gordon was inducted last week.


David: How are things in Georgia?

(That would be the only place where people think a .265 lifetime hitter is being screwed out of his rightful place in the Hall of Fame. No, being a good guy isn't enough.)