On Saturday, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced some important changes to the election process. To wit:
• Eligible players who are named on least 5.0 percent of BBWAA ballots in a given year will now remain on the ballot for a maximum of 10 years, as opposed to 15 years, which was the previous rule. Grandfathered in will be three candidates who presently have between 10 and 15 years on the ballot: Don Mattingly, Alan Trammel and Lee Smith.
• BBWAA Hall of Fame voters will be required to complete a registration form and sign a code of conduct.
• The names of BBWAA voters will be released with the results of each election. Individual ballots will not be released by the Hall of Fame, although many voters choose to make public their ballots each year.
• Ernst and Young, the firm responsible for the vote count, will have "added responsibilities in verifying the process."
All of the above decisions were made by the Hall of Fame, which controls the voting process, and not the BBWAA, the eligible members of which vote each year.
The changes, which are the first to the balloting process since 1991, take effect immediately.