Color me cynical. When I was at the Hall this summer, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner died (July 13th).
Stunningly, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced two weeks later that they were overhauling the way the Veterans Committee worked. Under the revised procedures, candidates will now be lumped into an era: Pre-integration (pre-1946), Golden (?!?!) 1947-1972, and Expansion (1973-present). This in itself is baffling. What makes the first quarter century after integration Golden? Why does the Expansion Era begin in a year where no expansion took place (expansion took place in 1961, 1962, 1969, 1977, 1993 and 1998). Every year, the Veterans Committee will vote on candidates from a single era.
Any idea which era is up for vote first? I'll give you a hint. George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees on January 3, 1973.
Two weeks after Steinbrenner dies, the rules for election change, a fabricated era is created that just happens to coincide with Steinbrenner's reign, and that era just happens to be the one the voters will vote on first. Surely it is just a coincidence.
Well, the ballot was released today. Sure enough, Steinbrenner is on the ballot. Five-time Yankee manager Billy Martin is also on the list. I can't help but shake the feeling that there will be two members elected this year and that the plaques are already being made.
I just hope that the Hall doesn't follow the Yankees lead and give Steinbrenner a super-sized plaque.