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Hall of Fame Voting Procedures

BBWAA

General Summary: Each voting cycle, qualified members of the BBWAA name no more than 10 eligible players whom they consider worthy of Hall of Fame honors. To be enshrined, a player must be named on at least 75% of the voters' ballots. Currently, players are removed from the ballot if they are named on fewer than 5% of ballots or have been on the ballot 15 times without election.

1967-present: Votes are cast annually by BBWAA members with 10 or more years of membership. Each qualified BBWAA member may select no more than 10 names from a pre-screened ballot of players who played in MLB for at least 10 seasons and had been retired for at least 5; players whose names are cast on at least 75% of the ballots are elected to the HoF, while players named on fewer than 5% of ballots are dropped from future ballots. In addition, if a player has been on the ballot 15 times without being elected, he is also dropped from future ballots.

1962-66: Votes were cast in even-numbered years by BBWAA members with 10 or more years of membership. Each qualified BBWAA member may select no more than 10 names from a pre-screened ballot of players who played in MLB for at least 10 seasons and had been retired for at least 5; players whose names were cast on at least 75% of the ballots were elected to the HoF, while players named on fewer than 5% of ballots were dropped from future ballots. In addition, if a player had been on the ballot 15 times without being elected, he was also dropped from future ballots.

1958-60: Votes were cast in even-numbered years by BBWAA members with 10 or more years of membership. Each qualified BBWAA member may select no more than 10 names from a pre-screened ballot of players who played in MLB for at least 10 seasons and had been retired for at least 5; players whose names were cast on at least 75% of the ballots were elected to the HoF, while players named on fewer than 5% of ballots were dropped from future ballots.

1954-56: Votes were cast annually by BBWAA members, each of whom selected exactly 10 names from a pre-screened ballot of recent players who played in MLB for at least 10 seasons and had been retired for at least 5; players whose names were cast on at least 75% of the ballots were elected to the HoF.

1946-54: Votes were cast annually by BBWAA members, each of whom selected exactly 10 names from a pre-screened ballot of recent players who played in MLB for at least 10 seasons and had been retired for at least 1; players whose names were cast on at least 75% of the ballots were elected to the HoF.

1939-45: Votes were cast every three years by BBWAA members, each of whom selected exactly 10 20th-century players who played in MLB for at least 10 seasons and were retired; players whose names were cast on at least 75% of the ballots were elected to the HoF.

1937-38: Votes were cast by BBWAA members, each of whom selected exactly 10 20th-century players who played in MLB for at least 10 seasons. Voters were discouraged from voting for active players. Players whose names were cast on at least 75% of the ballots were elected to the HoF.

1936: Votes were cast by BBWAA members, each of whom selected exactly 10 20th-century players who played in MLB for at least 10 seasons; players whose names were cast on at least 75% of the ballots were elected to the HoF.

Runoffs: In 1949, 1964, and 1967, no players were elected in the initial BBWAA ballot, so a runoff ballot was presented to the voters.

Veterans Committee

General Summary: A group of Hall of Fame members and others charged with the induction of players who were not voted in by the BBWAA, as well as Negro League players and non-playing personnel (including managers, owners, and executives). To be enshrined, players must be named on at least 75% of the Committee members' ballots.

2007-present: The Veterans Committee is a group composed of all living Hall of Fame members. Votes are cast every odd-numbered year on a smaller ballot of players who had been eligible for BBWAA election but were not elected within either 15 voting cycles or 21 years of their retirement; players have to be named on 75% of ballots to earn Hall of Fame honors.

2003-2005: The Veterans Committee was a group composed of all living Hall of Fame members and honorees. Votes were cast every odd-numbered year on a smaller ballot of players who had been eligible for BBWAA election but were not elected within either 15 voting cycles or 23 years of their retirement; players had to be named on 75% of ballots to earn Hall of Fame honors.

1978-2001: The Veterans Committee was a group composed of 15 Hall of Fame members (5 players, 5 owners/executives, & 5 sportswriters) selected by the Hall of Fame for undefined terms. Votes were cast annually on a smaller ballot of players who had been eligible for BBWAA election and stayed on the ballot every eligible season within 20 years of their retirement, but were still not elected. They would induct no more than one player from a ballot that was pre-screened by a 6-man subcommittee; the leading vote-getter had to be named on 75% of ballots to earn Hall of Fame honors.

1962-1977: The Veterans Committee was a group composed of 11 Hall of Fame members selected by the Hall of Fame for undefined terms. Votes were cast annually on a smaller ballot of players who had been eligible for BBWAA election and stayed on the ballot every eligible season within 20 years of their retirement, but were still not elected. They would induct up to two players from a ballot that was pre-screened by a 6-man subcommittee; players had to be named on 75% of ballots to earn Hall of Fame honors.

1954-1960: The Veterans Committee was a group composed of 11 Hall of Fame members selected by the Hall of Fame for undefined terms. Votes were cast every odd-numbered year on a smaller ballot of players who had been eligible for BBWAA election and stayed on the ballot every eligible season within 20 years of their retirement, but were still not elected. They would induct up to two players from a ballot that was pre-screened by a 6-man subcommittee; players had to be named on 75% of ballots to earn Hall of Fame honors.

1953: The Committee on Baseball Veterans was a group composed of 11 Hall of Fame members selected by the Hall of Fame for undefined terms. Votes were cast a smaller ballot of players who had been eligible for BBWAA election and stayed on the ballot every eligible season within 20 years of their retirement, but were still not elected. Players had to be named on 75% of ballots to earn Hall of Fame honors.

Other Special Committees

Negro League Committee (1971-77): A special committee formed in 1971 to give Negro League players equal Hall of Fame treatment as Major Leaguers. They elected one or two players per year for 7 years before the Veterans Committee became responsible for the induction of Negro Leaguers in 1978.

Committee on African-American Baseball (2005-06): A special committee of 12 baseball historians formed to honor contributions to the game by African-Americans. The committee considered almost 100 Negro League and pre-Negro League players, managers, & executives before narrowing the list of eligible candidates to 39; in February 2006, the committee elected 17 of those 39 individuals to the Hall of Fame.

Old-Timers Committee (1939-49): A small committee of high-ranking MLB executives and, later, veteran sportswriters as well, charged with electing 19th-century players, managers, and executives. Sporadically voting over an 11-year period, they inducted nearly 30 individuals into the Hall of Fame (including recently-deceased Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis in 1944) before disbanding, leading to the formation of the Veterans Committee in 1953.

Centennial Commission (1937-38): A committee of high-ranking baseball officials charged with the selection of inductees "for outstanding service to base ball apart from playing the game." Seven individuals were elected via the Centennial Commission, most of whom were inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously.

Veterans Vote (1936): For the inaugural Baseball Hall of Fame voting cycle, 78 players, writers, managers and officials who had first-hand familiarity with 19th century baseball were instructed to cast ballots on potential inductees from that era. They awarded 371 votes to 57 individuals (the leading vote-getters of which were Cap Anson & Buck Ewing with 39.5 votes apiece), but since 59 votes were required for election, no one was selected to the Hall of Fame via this process. The 1936 Veterans Vote was largely marred by confusion and disagreement among voters about who they were to consider on the ballot, eventually leading to the establishment of the much smaller Old-Timers Committee in 1939.