One of the 571 ballots cast in the Hall of Fame election this year was filled out not by the intended voter, Miami Herald columnist and ESPN personality Dan Le Batard, but by the website Deadspin, a form of protest against the system that has prevented players linked to steroids from being enshrined, Le Batard said Wednesday.
“I don’t want to be part of the present climate without reform anyway,” wrote Le Batard. “Given that climate, doing THIS has more impact than my next 20 years of votes as sanctimony bars the HOF door on the steroid guys.”
Le Batard and Deadspin, which in November offered to buy a Hall of Fame vote, said Le Batard was not paid or compensated in any way for turning over his ballot to the website, which conducted an online poll to choose the 10 players it voted for. But Le Batard may have violated the Baseball Writers’ Association of America constitution and Hall of Fame voting rules with his action.
Star Tribune baseball writer La Velle E. Neal III will be involved in discussions over how to respond to Le Batard’s action. Neal, elected president of the BBWAA at the World Series in October, said the organization is still gathering information. “While I cannot discuss details of what action we might take,” Neal said, “the board of directors is examining our options.”
ESPN said it had no idea that Le Batard had given away his ballot. “We respect and appreciate Dan’s opinions and passion about Hall of Fame voting,” ESPN said in a statement released by spokesman Josh Krulewitz. “He received his vote while at the Miami Herald. We wouldn’t have advocated his voting approach, which we were just made aware of today.”
Deadspin’s story on Le Batard said the website has found a voter willing to sell his ballot next year. The players named on Le Batard’s ballot on Wednesday were Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas, each of whom was elected to the Hall, along with Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Edgar Martinez, Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling.