Acronym for the Baseball Writers' Association of America. A group of sportswriters who are responsible for determining who is to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall Of Fame.

They're probably the most qualified to dole out those awards, but that doesn't mean they're not biased. In Hall-Of-Fame balloting, they tend to vote for players who were nice to the media while they were playing, which is one reason why Jim Rice will be waiting for a while. They're also not allowed to vote for people like Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose, so don't blame them because they're not in the Hall.

The BBWAA is not beyond making petty judgements when determining Hall of Fame inductions.

Nolan Ryan is a member of the Hall of Fame, and he was inducted with grand ceremony in 1999. However, he received 98.79% of the vote (491 out of 497 ballots). This is quite spectacular, but was tainted. It was well known at the time that at least two writers did NOT vote for Nolan Ryan because they did not want him to receive 100% of the vote. In fact, it is suspected that the 6 dissenters did not have Ryan on their ballots for that very reason (or had personal grudges against Ryan).

As well, the BBWAA also decides on the season-end awards: Cy Young Award (best pitcher in each league), Most Valuable Player (in each league), Rookie of the Year (in each league) and Manager of the Year (in each league). There are many stories about how a member of the BBWAA has screwed a specific player or pitcher from winning an award (ex: New York writers, Pedro Martinez, 1999 MVP).

Summary

The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) is an insular fraternity of baseball journalists that is responsible for granting most of Major League Baseball's individual honors, such as the Cy Young Award, the Jackie Robinson Award, and the Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award. They are also the primary arbiters of which players are accepted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

History

In 1906, Jack Rider, a writer with the Cincinnati Enquirer, began rallying other baseball journalists to improve working conditions for the people covering the games. Though very few sportswriters travelled with the teams they covered, he managed to enlist the help of Sid Mercer, a writer with the New York Globe, and Ernest Lanigan, who was with the New York Press. Because the Press had the most extensive baseball coverage, Lanigan was the point man.

On August 11, 1908, a formative meeting of a few writers was held in the National League offices in New York City. With the support of league president Harry Pulliam, the BBWAA was christened in Detroit on October 14, 1908.

The New York teams gave the fledgling group a boost in 1910, when they admitted only BBWAA members to the press box during an intracity series. The organization collected a large number of $2 annual dues, which enabled them to begin working towards their goals of better facilities, standardized scoring rules, and a larger say in the evolution of the baseball rulebook.

Membership

The BBWAA consists of 825 reporters, sports editors, columnists and feature reporters who cover baseball. Notably, journalists who work for Internet-only outlets are not permitted to be members. Existing members who have been with the BBWAA for at least 10 years may retain membership cards and Hall of Fame voting privileges if they leave their newspapers, but are still subject to regulations concerning their type of news outlets.

New members may only be nominated by existing members. The nominees are then evaluated by a membership committee, which meets twice a year.

Sources:

  • BaseballLibrary.com
  • Associated Press Sports Editors http://apse.dallasnews.com/

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