NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Former Commissioner Bud Selig said this week that he's "superstitious" about his pending candidacy for the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Major League Baseball's ninth Commissioner is one of 10 greats on the ballot under consideration Sunday by the 16-person Today's Game Era Committee -- the latest iteration of the Veterans Committee format.
An announcement of any electees will come tonight at 6 p.m. ET on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com. They would be inducted in the Class of 2017 on July 30 in Cooperstown, N.Y., along with anyone elected from the annual ballot sent last month to eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
MLB.com and MLB Network will have wall-to-wall coverage of the 2016 Winter Meetings from the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center outside Washington, D.C. Fans can watch live streaming of all news conferences and manager availability on MLB.com, including the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday at 9 a.m. ET.
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As in any Hall process, it will take 75 percent of the vote to be elected by the Today's Game Committee. In this case, that's at least 12 votes on the 16 ballots cast. No one has been elected by the Committee the past two years.
"You know, I'm superstitious, so I'm not talking about it," said Selig when reached by phone in his Milwaukee office. "You'll understand that, obviously."
Selig is on a ballot that includes five players, two managers and three executives.
Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser and Mark McGwire are the players, all of whom are no longer eligible for the BBWAA ballot. The managers are Lou Piniella and Davey Johnson. The executives include Braves president John Schuerholz, late Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner, and Selig, who retired after 23 years on Jan. 24, 2015.
The Committee format is the only way into the Hall for managers, umpires and executives. Steinbrenner is on the ballot for the third time since 2010, and he is the only one among this year's group who has passed away. The Yanks won seven World Series and 11 American League pennants, during the 37 years of his ownership.
Video: 2008 ASG: Steinbrenner delivers first-pitch baseballs
Just four of the 10 Commissioners have plaques in the Hall: Kenesaw Mountain Landis, Happy Chandler, Ford Frick and Bowie Kuhn, who was elected posthumously in 2009 -- a year after his death. Kuhn is the only Commissioner to have been inducted in the past 25 years.
Schuerholz, as the general manager of the Braves, oversaw one of the greatest eras in baseball history, with his club winning a record 14 division titles in a row from 1991-2005 (sans the '94 strike year), including five National League pennants and the 1995 World Series championship.
Piniella and Johnson are being considered three years after the Expansion Era Committee voted fellow skippers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa to a 2014 class for the ages that also included Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas -- all first-ballot selections by the BBWAA.
Video: Former Mariners congratulate Sweet Lou
For players, it's another bite of the apple after 15 years of eligibility on the writers' ballot.
McGwire, the first player to hit 70 homers in 1998 when he outdistanced Sammy Sosa in a race then heralded for its pace and drama, finished 16th on the most recent BBWAA ballot with 12.3 percent of the vote. His admission that he took performance-enhancing drugs had a telling effect on his candidacy.
Baines, Belle, Clark and Hershiser were all stars in their era, but none were selected by the BBWAA, which has chosen only 121 players since the first election of 1936.
Hershiser had one of the best seasons ever for a starting pitcher for the Dodgers in 1988 -- the most recent time that club won the World Series. The right-hander nicknamed "Bulldog" by his Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, was 23-8 with a 2.26 ERA and broke Don Drysdale's record by tossing 59 consecutive scoreless innings. Yet, Hershiser remained on the BBWAA ballot for only two years.
Will "The Thrill" batted .303 in 15 seasons, his first eight as the Giants' first baseman. In the 1989 postseason, Clark batted .650 with two homers and eight RBIs in a five-game NL Championship Series victory over the Cubs, sending the Giants to the World Series for the first time since 1962. For that, Clark was named the series MVP Award winner. In 2006 -- his one year on the BBWAA ballot -- Clark didn't crack the 5 percent minimum vote needed to carry him over for the next year.
Baines played 22 seasons for five AL teams, 14 of those years in three stints with the White Sox. He spent 18 seasons and 1,643 of his 2,830 games as a designated hitter, overall batting .289 with 2,866 hits. Still, he fell prey to the writer's history of disdain of the DH, barely remaining on the ballot for five years.
Belle played a key role on the great Indians teams of the 1990s, along with Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome and Sandy Alomar Jr. Belle batted .295 with a .949 OPS in eight seasons for a Cleveland team that lost twice in the World Series -- to the Braves in 1995 and the Marlins in '97. Yet, after leaving Cleveland, his career ended prematurely after 12 seasons at age 34 because of a hip injury. Belle lasted two years on the writers' ballot.
Video: Belle enters Tribe HOF
The BBWAA has elected nine players since that group voted for no one in the Class of 2013, seven on the first ballot. Ken Griffey Jr., who was elected to the Class of '16, along with Mike Piazza, had the highest percentage vote of any player in history, finishing with 99.3 percent. He missed on only three of the 440 ballots cast.
The Veterans Committee, in contrast, rarely results in the induction of players. In recent years, the only players elected by the various Committees were Joe Gordon in 2009, Ron Santo in '12, and Deacon White, a 19th century catcher, in '13.
None of them were alive when honored.
The sparsity of players elected by the Committees forced the Hall's board of directors to make changes again in the Veterans Committee format this past July during induction weekend. It was the second time there were wholesale changes since 2010.
The new rules place an emphasis on players whose careers began since 1950. The Today's Game Era Committee, which judges the most recent players, will meet twice every five years, including again in 2018. The Early Baseball Committee, which ponders players from 1871-1949, will meet in 2020, then not again for another 10 years.
"I guess analytics have affected the Hall of Fame, too," Hall president Jeff Idelson said when the rules were changed last summer. "You start looking at the fact that pre-1950, the number of electees as compared to post-1950 was massively different.
"It's because these guys have had so many chances for so many years. With expansion in the game from 16 to 30 teams, there are so many more players now. But when you look at the numbers, there are twice as many Hall of Famers elected before 1950 as players after 1950."
The rules governing the ballot and voting haven't changed, though, and that's what makes electing anybody so difficult.
Ten people are placed on the ballot by a separate nominating committee, and each of the 16-member voting block can select a maximum of five. That means there are only 80 votes to divvy around, and the more stocked the ballot is with good candidates, the less likely it is that anyone will be elected.
That's exactly what happened two years ago, when the former Golden Era Committee missed electing Dick Allen and Tony Oliva by one vote each. Jim Kaat received 10 votes, Maury Wills nine and Minnie Minoso eight.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.