NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- One thing that makes the Baseball Hall of Fame so baffling is that, through the years, there have been several different ways for someone to get inducted. There's the front door, of course, which has been guarded by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Everybody who cares knows those rules: To be inducted, a player needs 75% of the BBWAA vote. This is straightforward, and it's a very high standard, and the vast majority of talk and arguing about the Hall of Fame builds around that vote.
But here's something pretty amazing: Of the 298 people in the Baseball Hall of Fame, only 113 were voted in by the BBWAA. That's quite striking, if you think about it. That's less than 40%. There are only 113 players in baseball history who received 75% of the writer's vote; but those 113 -- and those alone -- are what most people consider when they think about the standards of the Hall of Fame. They think the Hall of Fame is Willie Mays … and not George Kelly. They think the Hall of Fame is Sandy Koufax … and not Amos Rusie. They think the Hall of Fame is Babe Ruth … and not Ross Youngs.