BBWAA’s anonymous ballot issue nears resolution

According to FanGraphs senior writer Jay Jaffe, the BBWAA has voted to make all Hall of Fame ballots an opt-out disclosure instead of an opt-in. The decision is still implemented to the Hall of Fame’s approval. The BBWAA previously voted to make all votes public in 2016, not taking effect until 2018. The current opt-in system drove ballot disclosure to over 80 percent each year. Vote disclosure for the MLB Hall of Fame has been a major point of contention because of the BBWAA’s fascination with voting percentages. So many players who were obvious Hall of Fame shoo-ins failed to receive votes just to keep up this prestige. Cal Ripken Jr. (537 of 545), Nolan Ryan (491 of 497), and Ken Griffey Jr. (437 of 440) all lost votes from anonymous voters who wanted to keep the mystique of the perfect ballot alive. Even after Mariano Rivera became the first unanimous MLB Hall of Famer in 2019, the problem persisted. The following year, Derek Jeter secured 396 of 397 Hall of Fame votes on the 2020 ballot. The identity of the lone holdout is still unknown. With an opt-out system in place, this unnecessary pageantry around perfect ballots will hopefully come to an end. Writers who continue the practice will either have to put their name to it and stand behind their decision or knowingly and shamefully check the opt-out box.