Baseball Hall revamps structure, could help chances of Tigers’ Whitaker

Detroit News
News staff and wire services

Cooperstown, N.Y. — Baseball’s Hall of Fame is restructuring its veterans committees for the third time in 12 years.

The Hall said Friday it is revamping the panels into the Contemporary Baseball Era from 1980 on and Classic Baseball Era for before 1980. The Contemporary Baseball Era will hold a separate ballot for players and another for managers, executives and umpires.

Each ballot will include eight candidates to be considered by 16 voters, down from 10 candidates previously. A vote of at least 75% remains necessary for election.

The move could help former Tigers second baseman Lou Whitaker, who had a career .276 batting average from 1977-95 and made five All-Star teams, won three Gold Gloves, and one Silver Slugger.

In 2001 when a crowd of first-time stars hit the ballot, Whitaker got only 2.9% of the vote when 5% was required to return to the ballot.

In 2017, he failed to make a 10-player list by the Modern Era committee, which awarded teammates Alan Trammell and Jack Morris plaques in Cooperstown.

In 2019, Whitaker made the Modern Era committee’s list of seven nominees but when 12 votes from the panel of 17 voters were needed for induction, Whitaker gained only six.

The inductees were Ted Simmons, an ex-Southfield High star and long-time MLB catcher, as well as Marvin Miller, who headed the players’ union during an early ’70s economic realignment that changed MLB’s owners-players landscape.

Starting next January, the player ballot will include candidates who have been retired for 16 seasons – one year after exhausting eligibility for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America ballot.

Each committee will meet every three years, starting with Contemporary Baseball/Players this December, Contemporary Baseball/Managers-Umpires-Executives in December 2023 and Classic Baseball in December 2024.

In 2010 the Hall established three committees: Pre-Integration (1871-1946), Golden (1947-72) and Expansion (starting in 1973). That was changed in 2016 to four committees: Golden Days (1950-69), Modern Baseball (1970-87), Today’s Game (1988-2016) and Early Baseball (1871-1949).

Will Tigers’ ‘Sweet Lou’ Whitaker finally get good news from Hall of Fame?

The Ford C. Frick Award for a preeminent baseball broadcaster will have 10 candidates, up from eight, with at least one required to be a foreign language broadcaster. Local and national broadcasters will be considered in four consecutive years, from the 2023-26 awards, followed by a pre-wild card era (1994) ballot in 2027, with the cycle to repeat.

Since 2016, the Frick Award ballot had rotated among Major League Markets (team-specific announcers); National Voices (broadcasters whose contributions were realized on a national level); and Broadcasting Beginnings (early team voices and pioneers of baseball broadcasting).

With files from Associated Press.

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