While the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) did not elect a player for the 2013 Hall of Fame class, one player on that ballo (Mike Piazza)t did make a Hall of Fame – the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) Hall of Fame.
What is the IBWAA? Well, here’s the information straight from the IBWAA’s website:
The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) was created July 4, 2009 to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).
The IBWAA seeks neither to replace nor disparage the BBWAA, but does offer distinctions. While the BBWAA requires ten years and thousands of dollars of paid membership for writers to earn a Hall of Fame vote, the IBWAA has no waiting period, with a $10 annual membership fee ($20 lifetime).
In the vast majority of cases, the BBWAA requires the tying of a writer’s online work to a print publication for admission; the IBWAA does not. The IBWAA believes that the hoops an applying writer has to jump through to join the older organization are too many and too narrow, and welcomes all Internet baseball writers. Those with his or her own baseball website of any kind or scope are invited to join, as are those who contribute the written word anywhere within the baseball blogosphere.
The IBWAA votes for Cooperstown in December, and during September of each championship season holds elections for the Most Valuable Player, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year Awards. In 2010, the IBWAA began voting in its own relief pitcher category, establishing the Rollie Fingers American League Relief Pitcher of the Year and the Hoyt Wilhelm National League Relief Pitcher of the Year Awards.
The IBWAA endeavors to be nimble and inclusive, and encourages members to participate as much or as little as they like. All suggestions are welcome always. Group discounts and scholarships are available.
I first heard of the IBWAA the other day while reading David Schoenfield’s SweetSpot Blog on ESPN.com. I decided to check out what the IBWAA was and if I could join it – seeing how I’ve been writing about baseball on the Internet since my days writing for InformativeSports.com. After doing a quick Google search, I was pleased to find the site and even more pleased when I clicked through the different links on the site and saw that it only cost $10 to join for a year or $20 to join for life and that they didn’t have the same strict requirements of writing for an actual publication to join like the BBWAA has.
I know I’ll never be able to join the BBWAA but joining the IBWAA sounds like a great thing to me. After reading several articles this week on the Internet regarding the Hall of Fame, it turns out that people such as David Schoenfield and Jim Caple of ESPN.com are both members along with many other writers. Each December they vote on their own Hall of Fame (using the same ballot as the BBWAA uses) and each September they vote on the MVP, Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year and Relievers of the Year as well so now when I write an article talking about “who I would vote for if I actually had a vote” I will actually have a vote!