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2019 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the National Baseball Hall of Fame for 2019 proceeded according to rules most recently amended in 2016. As in the past, the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from a ballot of recently retired players. The results were announced on January 22, 2019, with the BBWAA electing Mariano Rivera, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martínez and Mike Mussina to the Hall of Fame. Rivera and Halladay were elected in their first year of eligibility, while Martínez was elected in his last year of eligibility. Rivera became the first player to be unanimously elected, appearing on all 425 ballots; he broke Ken Griffey Jr.'s record of 99.32 percent (437 out of 440), set in 2016.[1]

2019 Baseball Hall of Fame inductees

Top row, L-R: Lee Smith, Harold Baines, Mariano Rivera
Bottom row, L-R: Roy Halladay, Edgar Martínez, Mike Mussina

The Today's Game Era Committee, one of four voting panels that since 2016 have taken over the role of the more broadly defined Veterans Committee,[2][3] convened on December 9, 2018 to select from a ballot of retired players and non-playing personnel who made their greatest contributions to the sport after 1987,[3] with Harold Baines and Lee Smith elected by this body.[4] The formal induction ceremony was held at the Hall's facilities in Cooperstown, New York on July 21, 2019.[5]


BBWAA electionEdit

The BBWAA election rules remained identical to those that were in effect for the most recent elections. The most recent rules change, announced in 2015, tightened the qualifications for the BBWAA electorate. Beginning with the 2016 election, eligible voters must not only have 10 years of continuous BBWAA membership, but also be currently active members, or have held active status within the 10 years prior to the election. A BBWAA member who has not been active for more than 10 years can regain voting status by covering MLB in the year preceding the election.[6]

Edgar Martínez and Fred McGriff were on the ballot for their final time; McGriff dropped off the ballot, while Martínez was the sixth player to be elected in his final ballot, after Red Ruffing, Joe Medwick, Ralph Kiner, Jim Rice, and Tim Raines.

The ballot included two categories of players:

  • Candidates from the 2018 ballot who received at least 5% of the vote but were not elected, as long as they first appeared on the BBWAA ballot no earlier than 2009.
  • Selected individuals, chosen by a screening committee, whose last MLB appearance was in 2013.

319 votes were needed for election; a total of 425 ballots were cast, with 3404 votes for individual players, an average of 8.01 names per ballot.

Voting results from 2019:[1]

Players who were eligible for the first time in 2019 but were not on the ballot included Wilson Betemit, Henry Blanco, Tim Byrdak, Jamey Carroll, José Contreras, Jesse Crain, Ryan Dempster, Mark DeRosa, Matt Diaz, Octavio Dotel, Chad Durbin, Chad Gaudin, Édgar González, Mike Gonzalez, Jerry Hairston Jr., Ramón Hernández, Eric Hinske, Brandon Inge, César Izturis, Austin Kearns, Casey Kotchman, Mark Kotsay, Ryan Langerhans, Brandon Lyon, Corky Miller, Brett Myers, Laynce Nix, Ramón Ortiz, Cody Ransom, Jon Rauch, Chris Snyder, Yorvit Torrealba, Jake Westbrook, Ty Wigginton and DeWayne Wise.

Rivera's unanimous election was not the only significant historic milestone from the 2019 BBWAA voting results. Halladay, who died in a plane crash in November 2017, became the first player to have been elected posthumously on the first ballot in a regular BBWAA election since Christy Mathewson in the first BBWAA election of 1936. Roberto Clemente was voted in via a special BBWAA election in 1973, shortly after his death in a plane crash, and before he would have been eligible.[1]

Today's Game Era CommitteeEdit

On July 23, 2016, the Hall of Fame announced changes to the Era Committee system, which had originally been established in 2010. The system's timeframes were restructured to place a greater emphasis on the modern game, and to reduce the frequency at which individuals from the pre-1970 game (including Negro Leagues figures) will have their careers reviewed.[3]

Separate 16-member subcommittees continue to vote on individuals from different eras of baseball, with candidates still being classified by the time periods that cover their greatest contributions:

  • Early Baseball (1871–1949)
  • Golden Days (1950–1969)
  • Modern Baseball (1970–1987)
  • Today's Game (1988 and later)

All committees' ballots include 10 candidates. At least one committee convenes every December, in the calendar year before the induction ceremony in July. The Early Baseball committee will convene decennially in years ending in 0, and the Golden Days committee will convene every five years, in years ending in 0 and 5. The Today's Game and Modern Baseball committees alternate their meetings in that order, skipping years in which the Golden Days and Early Baseball committees meet.[3]

Accordingly, the committees will meet in the following years as part of the elections for the next calendar year:

  • Today's Game – 2021, 2023
  • Modern Baseball – 2022, 2024
  • Golden Days – 2020, 2025
  • Early Baseball – 2020

The criteria for committee eligibility differ for players, managers, and executives.[7]

  • Players: Must be retired for at least 15 seasons. This means that no player will be eligible for committee consideration until a minimum of 10 years after he first becomes eligible to appear on the BBWAA ballot, regardless of whether or not he appears on a ballot.
    • The Hall has not yet established a policy on the timing of eligibility for committee consideration for players who die while active or during the standard 5-year waiting period for BBWAA eligibility. In these instances, the standard waiting period for BBWAA eligibility of 5 years from retirement is shortened to 6 months from death.
  • Managers and umpires: Must have at least 10 years of service in that role, and either be (1) retired for at least 5 years or (2) at least age 65 and retired for 6 months.
  • Executives: Must be retired for at least 5 years, or be at least age 70. Executives who meet the age cutoff will be considered regardless of their positions in an organization or their currently active statuses.

The Hall announced the 10 candidates for the Today's Game Era Committee ballot on November 5, 2018,[8] with the committee scheduled to meet and vote at the 2018 winter meetings. Voting results were announced immediately after the committee meeting adjourned on December 9.[4] The cutoff for election and induction remains the standard 75%, or 12 of 16 votes.

All candidates except Steinbrenner were living when the ballot and results were announced. Piniella, Baines, Belle, Clark, Hershiser, Johnson and Steinbrenner were on the previous ballot, but only Baines received the necessary votes for election to the Hall of Fame this year.

Candidate Category Votes Percent Ref
Lee Smith Player 16 100% [4]
Harold Baines Player 12 75% [4]
Lou Piniella Manager 11 68.8% [4]
Albert Belle Player <5 [4]
Joe Carter Player <5 [4]
Will Clark Player <5 [4]
Orel Hershiser Player <5 [4]
Davey Johnson Manager <5 [4]
Charlie Manuel Manager <5 [4]
George Steinbrenner Executive <5 [4]

The committee consisted of the following individuals:[4]

J. G. Taylor Spink AwardEdit

The J. G. Taylor Spink Award has been presented by the BBWAA at the annual summer induction ceremonies since 1962.[9] Through 2010, it was awarded during the main induction ceremony, but is now given the previous day at the Hall of Fame Awards Presentation. It recognizes a sportswriter "for meritorious contributions to baseball writing".[10] The recipients are not members of the Hall of Fame but are featured in a permanent exhibit at the National Baseball Museum.

The three finalists for the 2019 award were announced on July 18, 2018 during the All-Star break:[11]

Stark was announced as the recipient during the 2018 winter meetings on December 11.[12] Stark received 270 of the 463 ballots cast (including 2 blank ballots) to Reeves' 111 and Reusse's 80.

Ford C. Frick AwardEdit

Various changes in July 2016 were also made to the annual Ford C. Frick Award elections, presented annually to a preeminent baseball broadcaster since 1978. According to the Hall, the new criteria for selection are "Commitment to excellence, quality of broadcasting abilities, reverence within the game, popularity with fans, and recognition by peers."

Additionally, a ballot of eight candidates is now set, down from 10 in years past. The three ballot slots previously determined by fan voting on Facebook are now filled by a committee of historians.

A new election cycle has been established, rotating annually between Current Major League Markets (team-specific announcers) with the 2017 Frick Award; National Voices (broadcasters whose contributions were realized on a national level) with the 2018 Frick Award; and Broadcasting Beginnings (early team voices and pioneers of baseball broadcasting) with the 2019 Frick Award. This cycle will repeat every three years.[3]

The Hall announced the following finalists for the 2019 Ford C. Frick Award on October 22, 2018.[13]

All finalists had been deceased for at least 30 years when the ballot was announced, the most recently deceased being Hoyt in 1984. Two finalists, Heilmann and Hoyt, are members of the Hall of Fame as players.[13]

The Hall announced Al Helfer as the recipient on December 12, 2018. Helfer (1911–1975) called games for eight MLB teams in a career that spanned more than 30 years. He was most notable as forming one of MLB's first play-by-play teams in the 1930s alongside fellow Frick Award recipient Red Barber, and also as the lead announcer for the Mutual Broadcasting System's Game of the Day in the 1950s.[14]


  1. ^ a b c Schoenfield, David (January 22, 2019). "Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, Roy Halladay and Mike Mussina joining Hall of Fame". Retrieved January 22, 2019.
  2. ^ "Hall of Fame Board of Directors Restructures Procedures for Consideration of Managers, Umpires, Executives and Long-Retired Players" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. July 26, 2010. Retrieved January 15, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Hall of Fame Makes Series of Announcements" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. July 23, 2016. Retrieved August 14, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Lee Smith, Harold Baines Elected to Hall of Fame by Today's Game Era Committee" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. December 9, 2018. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  5. ^ "2019 BBWAA Hall of Fame Ballot" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  6. ^ "Hall of Fame Announces Change to BBWAA Voting Electorate" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. July 28, 2015. Retrieved July 28, 2015.
  7. ^ "Era Rules for Election". Eras Committees. National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  8. ^ "George Steinbrenner, Lou Piniella part of 10-man ballot for Today's Game Era committee". ESPN. Nov 5, 2018. Retrieved Nov 5, 2018.
  9. ^ "J.G. Taylor Spink Award". Retrieved July 20, 2010.
  10. ^ "Awards: J. G. Taylor Spink". National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  11. ^ "Star Tribune's Patrick Reusse again nominated for MLB's Spink Award". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. July 18, 2018. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  12. ^ "Jayson Stark wins 2019 Spink Award". Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  13. ^ a b "2019 Ford C. Frick Award Ballot" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. October 22, 2018. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  14. ^ "Helfer Named 2019 Ford C. Frick Award Winner" (Press release). National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. December 12, 2018. Retrieved December 13, 2018.

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