To get a vote for the Baseball Hall Of Fame? One must cover baseball for ten consecutive years. But then one can stop covering baseball, watch literally no baseball, and retain membership in the BBWAA and a vote for the Hall of Fame. It’s like being a drug addict, I guess: once you’re a drug addict, you’re always one. Nothing can change it.
That policy of inclusion, though, speaks to something incredibly bizarre. It takes a while for the door to open, and then once a new member has stepped through that door, he can slam it closed, locking himself in.
An example of why this is an outdated and inefficient way to determine voter eligibility is Philip Hersh of the Tribune company. Hersh covered baseball for 10 or more years and acquired a HOF vote. But since 1987 he has exclusively covered the Olympics and other international sports for the Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.
Hersh has not covered baseball for as long as some people who read this have been alive, but he retains a vote. Phil Hersh did not cover most or all of the following careers: Barry Bonds, Cal Ripken, Wade Boggs, Jeff Bagwell, Larry Walker, Barry Larkin, Rafael Palmerio, Tony Gwinn, Kenny Lofton, Edgar Martinez, Roberto Alomar, Craig Biggio, Mark McGwire, Mike Piazza, Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens. All of whom are at present on the Hall Of Fame Ballot. (Also Kevin Brown, who was criminally–criminally I say–excluded from future voting when he received only 2.1% of the vote in 2011.)