Howard Cole, the director of the new Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA), for which I am a member, posted this note on his site, Baseball Savvy, this afternoon (linked here):
On the morning of July 14, 2009, the Base Ball Writers Association of America (BBWAA ), in its infinite wisdom, voted against forming a committee to establish guidelines for Hall of Fame voting regarding players of the steroid era.
By 3:00 p.m. PST the same day, the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA), of which I am the acting queso grande of, had formed a committee to develop guidelines on the matter for the association’s members. Results are as follows:
1. IBWAA steroid era Hall of Fame guidelines have been established for IBWAA voting purposes only. It is neither our intention to tell the BBWAA how to run its business, nor to criticize the Hall in any way, shape or form. We do, however, think the BBWAA’s decision not to form a committee was silly.
2. Our performance-enhancing drug ( PED ) guidelines are subject to addendum. It is the expressed intention of the IBWAA to change on the fly, to be inclusive, and to incorporate new members’ thoughts into existing policies and procedures.
3. Hall of Fame voting is to be, first and foremost, a democratic process. One person, one vote, with voting by secret ballot, and every vote counting equally.
4. Individual members are free to share his or her votes publicly, and in any form of media available, but are under no obligation to do so. Members choosing to discuss his or her votes publicly do not speak for the IBWAA as a group in so doing.
5. Voters may consider a player’s performance-enhancing drug use as part of the selection process. While there is to be no suggestion by the IBWAA to its members that a player’s name appearing in the Mitchell Report be considered with any particular degree of severity in the selection process, a member may consider such an appearance as part of his or her thinking.
6. Similarly, voters may consider a player’s suspension by Major League Baseball for having tested positive for a banned substance during his career, but are not required to do so.
7. The IBWAA strongly suggests that while qualities of sportsmanship and character be considered as part of the equation, members should endeavor not to be influenced by rumors, hearsay, unsubstantiated items found to be in publication, a player’s ethnic background or physical appearance as voting criteria.
How complicated was that?
The IBBWAA is 17 strong, with newest member Peter Golenbock, author of “George: The Poor Little Rich Boy who Built the Yankee Empire.”