The baseball hall of fame functions like all the hall of fames in the four major sports. A potential hall of fame class is announced every year, followed by the whittling down of said class until the you have the finalists who are then voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Here's a more in-depth look at the selection process by the BBWAA courtesy of the all powerful Wikipedia....
Here's the link to the Hall of Fame page
"Players are currently inducted into the Hall of Fame through election by either the Baseball Writers Association of America (or BBWAA), or the Veterans Committee, which now consists of three subcommittees, each of which considers and votes for candidates from a separate era of baseball. Five years after retirement, any player with 10 years of major league experience who passes a screening committee (which removes from consideration players of clearly lesser qualification) is eligible to be elected by BBWAA members with 10 years' membership or more. From a final ballot typically including 25–40 candidates, each writer may vote for up to 10 players. Any player named on 75% or more of all ballots cast is elected. A player who is named on fewer than 5% of ballots is dropped from future elections. A 2001 change in the election procedures restored the eligibility of these dropped players; while their names will not appear on future BBWAA ballots, they may be considered by the Veterans Committee."
Furthermore selection by the Veterans Committee...
"If a player fails to be elected by the BBWAA within 20 years of his retirement from active play, he may be selected by the Veterans Committee. Following the most recent changes to the election process for that body made in 2010, it is now responsible for electing all otherwise eligible candidates who are not eligible for the BBWAA ballot—both long-retired players and non-playing personnel (managers, umpires, and executives). With these changes, each candidate can now be considered once every three years."
Recently MLB has broken up the Veteran Committee into three sub-committees who vote on different eras of baseball. Who makes up the Veterans Committee I believe is the living hall of fame members.
I state the selection process only to prove that I have an understanding of how the whole thing works.
So here's my arguement (you knew it was coming)...
The Hall of Fame representing any sport is supposed to enshrine the absolute very best of their respective sports, the top %1 of everyone who ever put a uniform on. The arguements rage about what the standards are, and of course, over time the standards change. Impact, titles, stats, etc...every sports fan can always point to some reason encompassed by those three things; Impact, titles, stats, as to why a player should or shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame.
My arguement doesn't lie within these three things, it lies within players who are on the ballot for four, five, six, or even ten plus years without ever getting in and then eventually due to media pressure, vocal advocates, or something that player has done recently which softens their image, they are elected; usually to much fanfare.
Give me a break; how do you expect to be respected when first of all, the Hall of Fame has to elect at least one person every year. Why is that? Is it impossible that players already eligible aren't good enough and new players that have become eligible aren't either. It cheapens the honor when someone HAS to get elected every year. Secondly, a 20 year window to get elected!? This is far too long to actually deserve the honor. If a player waits 19 years before being elected it just might be possible he wasn't good enough and doesn't deserve the honor. Of course there is always going to be the cascade of other players who are already in or who have no shot at getting in that will publicly proclaim their aghast that so and so hasn't been elected yet, but who cares. Sometimes people don't derseve things, why should they eventually get the reward just because they waited long enough for it.
Dan Patrick on his radio show on ESPN radio was talking about this same issue today and he thinks Burt Blyleven got into the Hall of Fame because of a sympathy vote of having to wait since 1992 and there was no one else to vote in except Roberto Alomar. Ask yourself is that a good reason to receive baseball's highest honor?
I quote Dan Patrick here "your either a hall of famer or your not." Some writers use this criteria to vote. When you say the players name does Hall of Fame immediately jump into your head. If it does then vote him in and if it doesn't then don't vote him in; simple as that.
No more hemming and hawing for years on end about whether a player deserves the honor or not, 20 years is far too long a window and sometimes players just aren't good enough; what the writers need to realize is that's it's o.k to not vote someone into the hall every year.