I didn't want to start using the L-word, I really didn't.
The L-word is logjam.
But that's where the BBWAA was at with Hall of Fame voting in recent years. And that's why I'm typing a big BRAVO to the voting body today for sending the largest class to The Hall since 1955.
The logjam is beginning to break up.
Hall of Fame voting has been under increased scrutiny in recent years as members of the BBWAA (who have been a member for at least 10 consecutive years) have struggled with how to treat players from the so-called steroid era. That, plus archaic views like separating first-ballot HOFers from `regular' HOFers - or withholding a vote for other reasons - has created a traffic jam toward the exit to Cooperstown.
The logjam was never more evident than 2013, when 75 percent of us could not reach an agreement on anyone on that ballot.
Predictably, there was blowback. I will defend the BBWAA to the end of time. We want to get this right. And, I argue, that we have gotten it right for the most part.
But we're aren't afraid of change. That's why a committee was formed a year ago to examine Hall of Fame voting and make recommendations to the folks in Cooperstown. I personally contacted several people to be on the committee (I was the president at the time) while others eagerly volunteered. It was an opportunity to meet people like Jay Jaffe, who does fascinating work on Hall of Fame candidates for Sports Illustrated.
Our reccomendation: Expand the ballot to allow voters to select up to 12 candidates, up from 10. I can tell you now that the BBWAA would prefer the limit be pushed to 15, but we were given signals that there was a munch better chance to get it moved to 12 than 15. We can only make recommendations to The Hall. The Hall makes the final decisions,
And I hope the Hall agrees with us and raises the limit.
But the best way to ease this logjam is for voters to get off their keisters and fill in more squares on the ballot. If you feel someone should be in The Hall, don't hold back the vote. For that matter, don't hold back your ballot.
This year's four-man class makes it easier for candidates like Mike Piazza and Jeff Bagwell to get voted in next year. They will be the two leading returning vote-getters from this year. And the class of new candidates in 2016 doesn't looking strong, with Ken Griffey, Jr and Trevor Hoffman the best ones.
This year's vote was a big step toward breaking up the logjam and getting more deserving players into the Hall.
On Thursday, the BBWAA will post ballots from voters who agreed to have theirs presented online. I leave you with my ballot: