The Baseball Hall of Fame is certainly a prestigious group, and only the most prestigious sportswriters are allowed to vote for new entrants. At one time, one of those writers was ESPN personality Dan Le Batard.
Le Batard has a radio and TV show on ESPN programming every day. As far as sports knowledge, no one could argue against his credentials. He’s definitely deserving of a having a Baseball Hall of Fame vote. So why is it that he no longer has one?
Dan Le Batard’s career overview
According to ESPN’s Press Room, Le Batard served as a columnist at the Miami Herald from 1990-2016. He joined ESPN the Magazine in 1998. He’d also host a weekly radio show with the Worldwide Leader.
Le Batard also reported for ESPN programming such as College Gameday and Outside the Lines. He’s also written for other prominent magazines like Cosmopolitan and Maxim.
Le Batard has hosted a daily program on ESPN Radio since 2015 called The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. He and cohost Jon “Stugotz” Weiner bring an acerbic blend of sports and pop culture commentary along with a cavalcade of prominent guests.
Le Batard’s daily TV show is called Highly Questionable. On that show, he’s joined by his Dad, Gonzalo “Big Papi” Le Batard to talk sports. Fellow sportswriter Bomani Jones previously appeared on the show as a cohost as well.
How Baseball Hall of Fame voting works
As mentioned above, Le Batard previously had a Hall of Fame vote. Here are the rules for how members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) become eligible to vote on the Hall of Fame, according to the Baseball Hall of Fame website:
“BBWAA members earn a Hall of Fame vote from its organization, which is independent of the Hall of Fame, by maintaining 10 consecutive years on a baseball beat. Those Hall of Fame eligible voters are required to complete a registration form and sign a code of conduct. Potential Hall of Fame voters must meet requirements as active members covering the game, with a 10-year grace period for those no longer active.”
So what exactly did Le Batard do to not only lose his vote but receive a lifetime ban for his trouble?
Why Dan Le Batard can no longer vote for Baseball Hall of Famers
The story of Le Batard’s ban starts with the website Deadspin. After Deadspin attempted for years to essentially buy a Hall of Fame vote from a BBWAA member, Le Batard turned his over to them for no charge, according to ESPN.
Le Batard said he was disenchanted with the voting process as it related to baseball’s steroid users. He referred to the voters as “sanctimonious.” In turn, Deadspin opened up the vote to a reader poll.
When Le Batard publicly announced that he’d given up his vote, the BBWAA suspended him for one year and handed down a lifetime ban on voting for the Hall.
Did Le Batard have a point about BBWAA voters? Probably. The idea that a player like Barry Bonds, warts and all, doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame is laughable on its face.
That said, Le Batard likely wasn’t surprised at the outcome. No one who willingly gives away their vote can expect to keep it for very long.