Open Letter from Commissioner Chris Gallaway
As I approach retirement, one of the unfinished things I never got checked off my list was inducting players into the Hall of Fame.
We’ve had a Hall of Fame since the league started. Until 2010 it was even a physical location, with display cases of balls, bats, league shirts, and scorecards from important events. Now all those things are in the storage unit, not available for display, but maintained and preserved. But we never had players inducted.
Part of the struggle for me was how to do it. Do we do active players, or only retired players? Finally, a couple of years ago, I just realized we had to do it, and active or inactive was irrelevant. It was fine to still be playing and be in the Hall of Fame. The test should be how long you’ve played, a minimum number, and how well you did, voted for election.
I toyed with some formulas related to the number of players, and I came up with an initial proposal. Obviously, in July when a new Commissioner is elected he can change all of this if he wants. But, this seemed to make sense to me. So this is where we are starting. We might not elect anyone. And maybe no one will even vote, but we have to try a first round, and I wanted to do it before I stepped down.
Here is how it’s going to work:
- There shall be an annual ballot to induct players into the Hall of Fame.
- Any player with a minimum of 200 Plate Appearances shall be eligible for induction into the Hall of Fame
- At no time shall the membership of the players in the Hall of Fame equal more than 10% of the players eligible for induction.
- Any player with a minimum of 100 Plate Appearances shall be eligible to vote on players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
- Each voter shall be entitled to vote for up to two times the number of eligible inductions that could be made on their ballot.
- Players that appear on 75% of the ballots cast, shall be elected for induction into the Hall of Fame, unless the amount of players meeting that criteria would violate the 10% membership cap, in which case the total number of players receiving 75% of the vote shall be elected in order from appearing on most ballots to least amount of ballots until all positions are full.
- Non-Players may be inducted through a special balloting process, separate from the player process.
As of April 1, 2015, there are currently 65 eligible players and 146 eligible voters under these rules.
As a result, a ballot is going out now to those 146 eligible voters, or at least all of them we think we have email addresses for. Each of those voters will get to cast up to 12 votes from among the 65 eligible players. They can vote for any number from 0 to 12. Anyone who votes, even for a single player, will count as a ballot towards the 75% requirement for players to appear.
The ballot is sorted by batting slugging percentage, just because I needed some way to do it. I considered sorting by award nominations, or some other stat. I hate to screw over the pitchers, but I am hopeful people will review the entire ballot. We sort our MVP award by this stat each year, and good or bad, we have to sort it some way.
From this ballot, which obviously covers the first 19 seasons, we could elect as many as 6 players. Obviously, we could also elect 0, depending on how the voting goes. In future seasons, there will be fewer positions open, but hopefully already deserving members will have been elected.
Eligible voters will receive ballots May 17, 2015. Votes are due by Sunday, May 31, 2015. An induction ceremony for those able to attend will be held during this seasons Champion’s Dinner.
I hope this works, and I hope that in the future this is a new tradition that can be continued so that we have formal recognition of the players most deserving in our history.
Yours in wiffleball,