On a weekend where Cooperstown got to enshrine six more of the games best in history, MLB came out and made news by announcing the time players can stay on ballot will shorten from 15 years to 10 years. That is a smart decision.
Many know what players are going to get a plaque with their name and face engraved on it when they announce that their playing days are done. Some of the best are yet to come including Ken Griffey Jr, Randy Johnson, Chipper Jones and Mariano Rivera. The writers know who they are voting for, and assuming nothing goes wrong in the five years the player has to wait before being placed on the ballot, there is no need for a player to wait and see if he will get the call for 15 years.
Baseball is arguably the hardest hall to get into out of the four major sports, and to be a first ballot Hall-of-Famer is something you are not given. You have to be recognized as one of the best to ever play the game and be at the top of the game for a decade or longer while being a great example on and off the field. That’s not very easy to do. Players with over 3,000 hits have not be elected in on the first time, and longtime Houston Astro Craig Biggio is the latest example of someone who was not inducted first ballot, regardless having a stellar career. With that said, if a player is capable of doing such a thing, the waiting process is still not long. Biggio should not be waiting much longer to be getting his own plaque in Cooperstown.
If voters are unsure about players or they do not hold them on the same level of the changing list of others, then they should not be on the ballot for such a long time. Ten years could still be a little too long for many, but that is a step in the right direction. Baseball knows who is going in and who is not going in. Do not make them wait so long because so much can happen to a person in a decade. What if the voters wanted to get someone in, but did not see them as a first ballot and instead kept putting it off because other greats kept getting on the list? That person would feel disrespected for his longtime contributions to the game, and for many, they may not even be there for their own induction. That is something nobody wants to see.