The Veterans Committee, officially the Committee on Baseball Veterans, is a committee of the National Baseball Hall of Fame that provides a "second chance" for Hall of Fame election to players passed over in regular Hall of Fame balloting. It also serves as the sole voting body for the election of managers, umpires, and executives.
Originally, the Veterans Committee consisted of 15 members selected by the Hall of Fame for defined terms. A six-man subcommittee of this group met as a screening committee to determine who would be on the ballot. The committee met annually to consider candidates in four separate categories:
The Veterans Committee met behind closed doors, and its ballots and voting results were not revealed. The top candidate in each category was elected to the Hall of Fame if he earned at least 75% of the committee's votes.
In 2001, the Hall of Fame radically changed the composition and election procedures for the Veterans Committee. The Veterans Committee now consists of the following:
- All living members of the Hall of Fame.
- All living recipients of the Ford C. Frick Award for baseball broadcasters.
- All living recipients of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for baseball writers.
- All members of the former Veterans Committee, until the expiration of their terms (only two would still be on the committee in 2003, and only one afterwards; the last member's term expires in 2007).
The differences in election procedures are:
- Elections for players are now held every two years, starting in 2003.
- Managers, umpires, and executives are elected from a single composite ballot every four years, starting in 2003.
- Ballots are compiled by two groups - a 60-member panel drawn from the membership of the Baseball Writers Association of America, and a panel of six living Hall of Famers selected by the Hall of Fame Board. The Hall of Famer panel selects five players for the players' ballot, and the BBWAA panel selects 25 players for the players' ballot, as well as all candidates for the composite ballot.
- The selections of the Hall of Famer and BBWAA panels are then merged, creating a single players' ballot. Players chosen on both ballots will only appear once on this ballot, which now contains a minimum of 25 and a maximum of 30 players.
- The players' ballot and composite ballot (15 candidates) are made public before voting.
- Balloting is held by mail, with a stated deadline.
- The Veterans Committee vote is made public after voting.
- All candidates who receive 75% or more of the vote are elected; election is no longer restricted to only the top vote-getter.
- Every player with 10 or more years of major-league experience who has not been active in the previous 20 years, and is not on Major League Baseball's ineligible list, is eligible for Veterans Committee consideration. In the past, players who did not receive a certain percentage of the votes on a BBWAA ballot were permanently ineligible for Hall of Fame consideration.