What If MLB HOF Voting Was Run Like The Electoral College?

On Monday, the Electoral College of the United States will get together in their respective states and vote to officially make Donald J. Trump the president-elect of the United States (barring 38 rogue voters). This increasingly trivial process, created by Constitutional Convention in 1787, has come under fire recently after Hillary Clinton defeated Trump in the popular vote by more than 3 million votes.

Donald Trump pumps his fist after giving his acceptance speech.

Another voting process that is heavily scrutinized is the Pro Baseball Hall of Fame. For a player to be elected, he needs 75 percent of the “popular vote” of BBWAA writers. It seems simple, but writers can only put 10 players on their ballot in any given year. This leads to writers strategizing which players they will put in and led to players like Ken Griffey Jr. not being unanimous selections because a few writers knew he would get in with or without their vote.

How It Would Work

First of all, the number of voters for each election is eerily similar. The Electoral College is made up of 538 electors, while last year, there were 549 votes cast for the Pro Baseball Hall of Fame. However, as mentioned before, players simply need 75 percent of the overall vote in order to be enshrined. This makes it the hardest Hall of Fame to be inducted into of the four major sports.

So, let’s take it a step further.

What if we factored regional importance into it like the Electoral College does? Different players meant different things to different regions of the country, just like different presidential candidates mean different things to separate regions.

States with multiple teams would get the most “electoral votes” to award to players. Since baseball is rooted in history, states with teams that have been around for longer would be awarded more “electoral votes” than those without teams or with relatively new teams.

Thinking of it this way, Ohio would still be a battleground state, with the Reds and Indians both there and rooted in baseball’s rich history. Tim Raines might want to start planning some campaign stops.

Tim Raines celebrates at a celebrity softball game.

Iowa and New Hampshire, on the other hand, probably wouldn’t be as important in the primary process. Sorry.

If a player gets a simple majority of the votes in any state, they get those state’s “electors.” They then still need 75 percent of the overall electors, 412 by 2015’s vote, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. This could make it easier for some to be inducted and harder for others.

But, Edgar Martinez would probably be hurt by it. Consider his case: He would get overwhelming support in Washington state because he was such an integral part of some great Mariners teams. However, writers in metropolitan areas may not be as kind. Once again, though, all he would need is a simple majority in those states.

Edgar Martinez rounds third after a home run.

A problem this process could create is that players from big-market teams and markets would get an advantage in voting. Should a player who played for a more historically-rooted team be given precedence over one who played for a team like the Rockies or Marlins? Probably not, but you would assume great players would get in, anyway.

This set up would only really impact the players on the fringe.

Potential Scenarios

Under this system, which could be as flawed as the country’s electoral system, a player could theoretically gain more support than currently needed and not get in, or gain less support than currently needed and earn enshrinement.

A player could get 80 percent overall support, but not have support in a couple key states and not get to the 75 percent “electoral” support needed to get into the Hall of Fame. On the flip side, you could gain exactly 50 percent of the vote in every single state and get 100 percent of the “electoral” support to be enshrined.

So, would this system be better or worse than the current one in place for the BBWAA? The answer to that question could also answer important questions about the way our presidential elections are still run nearly 250 years after the country was founded.

[Featured Image by Sarah Walsh/AP Images]