This is from Houston Mitchell, who is my leading adviser on the Hall of Fame, and just wondering what people think of this suggestion:
Was thinking about your Hall of Fame last night and looking at the tremendous number of names on the ballot.
The Baseball Hall of Fame, which I consider the finest and most well thought-out sports Hall of Fame in the world, has the following rule: IF you are on the ballot for 15 years and don’t get elected, you drop off the ballot. One of the things this does is open up the ballot, clearing it of deadwood, guys like Dick Murdoch, who is probably never going to get elected and who isn’t going to add anything to his Hall of Fame credentials, since he has passed away.
Since most people don’t like to turn in blank ballots, or, if they voted for five people last year, they will want to vote for five the next, if Murdoch isn’t on, then that person is going to give more consideration to CM Punk next year, because suddenly, in the voter’s mind, he has an open spot on his ballot since he can’t vote for Murdoch. (I use those two names just as an example). The 15 years and out rule also helps the older candidates, because the other thing this rule does is force people who would never really think hard about Murdoch to give him more serious consideration if he knows this is the last year he will be on the ballot. Sort of a “What, this is his last year of eligibility? Let me go over his credentials again.” That is basically put Jim Rice in the baseball Hall of Fame. He was elected in his 15th and final year of eligibility in 2009, because many voters took a closer look at his candidacy, knowing it was the last time they could vote for him.
I would recommend you consider doing something like this, especially now that you have more than 10 years of voting. Next year, you announce that people who have been on the ballot 15 years will drop off the ballot.
As always, just a recommendation. Any decision you make I totally support. Just wanted to bring this to your attention. Don’t know why I never thought about it before now.