The Great Friday Link Out VIII: When it rains in San Francisco, it Snows

We’re going to do things a little different this week. Generally, I provide a brief intro and then link to some posts. My first link, however, requires some back story.

A few weeks ago, I got an email from Daniel Greenia, a reader, occasional commenter, and voter in my project to find the 50 best players not in the Hall of Fame. Daniel told me J.T. Snow wouldn’t be on this year’s Cooperstown ballot despite last playing in 2006 because he signed a ceremonial one-day contract with the Giants in September 2008. In a post for BaseballThinkFactory.org, Daniel offered more details, and while Snow isn’t a serious Hall of Fame candidate now and won’t be whenever he’s on the ballot, what Daniel said bears mention here.

Daniel wrote:

For Snow himself there is a downside to his final bow. He actually last played in a MLB game for Boston on 6/18/06. Normally this would allow him to appear on the HOF ballot in 2012, the upcoming election. However, because his appearance in 2008 is technically a Game, the Hall of Fame has indicated that Snow cannot appear on the ballot until 2014. This decision seems a little at odds with Rule 3.C of the BBWAA Election Rules which says: “Player shall have ceased to be an active player in the Major Leagues at least five (5) calendar years preceding the election….” Snow didn’t try to work himself into game shape in 2008; his intent was never to actually be an “active player”, but to be honored in a Giants uniform.

Rule 10.20 is actually inconsistent with another rule. Rule 10.23(c) tells us that Snow’s Game in 2008 is not sufficient to continue a consecutive-game playing streak. For that he would actually have to play a half-inning on defense or complete a time at bat. Well, why not use that same rule to define what constitutes a continuation of a career? Add this sentence to Rule 3.C of the election rules: Unless a player plays at least one-half inning on defense or completes a time at bat, in the regular season or the post-season, he will not be considered to be an active player in that season for purposes of HOF eligibility.

I also suggest that MLB should modify Rule 10.20 and credit a player with a Game played only if they are in the game when something happens. I think that precipitating a pitching change or some other managerial move by your announced presence does not constitute “being in the game when something happens.” A Game played should be credited when a player is in the game and on the field when either 1) one pitch is thrown, 2) one fielding chance occurs, or 3) a base is gained.

Makes me wonder who else could be effect under current rules….

Other good stuff:

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