Here are thoughts on the Early Baseball Era Committee. Similar thoughts apply to the Early Baseball Historical Committee that generated the ballot of 10 candidates.
The 16-member Early Baseball Era committed elected two former Negro League players into the Hall of Fame last Sunday, and while Bud Fowler and Buck O’Neil are certainly worthy of the honor, five other candidates were left on the outside looking in. One of the 42 for 21 committee members that Jay Jaffe spoke to in Friday’s episode of FanGraphs Audio offered a blunt appraisal of the process when addressing SABR’s Southwest Michigan chapter on Saturday morning. Gary Gillette shared that he’s spoken to two people who were on the Early Baseball Era committee, and both told him that there “wasn’t a lot of knowledge in the room amongst the non-Negro League scholars.” That they were receptive to what the scholars had to say wasn’t enough in the opinion of the Detroit-based historian.
“To me, that’s a bad election,” opined Gillette. “Half your electorate is dependent on the other half to tell them how to vote… They’re not saying, ‘vote for this guy,’ but that’s really what it is. By the way you shape the debate, and by the statistics you quote, and by the emphasis you put on different players, you are recommending to them who they should vote for. Because they don’t know. And if they don’t know, they shouldn’t be on the committee.”
A certain amount of bias is inherent in any, and all, Hall of Fame-voting decision(s). That said, putting together as-unbiased-as-possible committees should be a priority in any election. It’s common sense.FanGraphs