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Ozzie Smith named to BB Hall of Fame board of directors

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COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith has been named to the board of directors of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame made the announcement Saturday, along with a restructuring of the Era Committee's elections and changes to the Ford C. Frick Award balloting and election processes. Effective immediately, the board restructured the time frames to be considered, with a much greater emphasis on modern eras.

The Era Committee provides an avenue for Hall of Fame consideration to managers, umpires and executives, as well as players retired for more than 15 seasons. Umpires and executives who excelled before 1950, as well Negro Leagues stars, will still have an opportunity to have their careers reviewed, but with less frequency.

The board also modified the criteria for which active executives can be considered for enshrinement. All age 70 or older may now have their careers reviewed, regardless of the position they hold in an organization and regardless of whether their body of work has been completed. Previously, active executives 65 years or older were eligible for consideration.

New criteria for selection for the Frick Award, presented annually since 1978 to a pre-eminent baseball broadcaster, will include commitment to excellence, quality of broadcasting abilities, reverence within the game, popularity with fans, and recognition by peers. Only eight candidates will be on ballots, down from 10 in past years, and the three ballot slots previously determined by fan voting on Facebook will now be filled by a committee of historians.

A new election cycle also was established for the award, rotating annually between current major league markets (2017), broadcasters whose contributions were realized on a national level (2018), and early team voices and pioneers of baseball broadcasting (2019). This cycle will repeat every three years.

Also on Saturday at Doubleday Field, long-time Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy was presented with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for writers and the late Graham McNamee received the Frick Award posthumously.

Shaughnessy, with several Hall of Famers sitting behind him, soaked up the moment.

''Writing about baseball is the most fun you can have in the world of journalism,'' Shaughnessy said. ''Baseball connects us to the past and the future. I love the fact that my soon-to-be-born grandchild will someday sit in an obstructed view seat at ancient Fenway (Park) - his or her view practically blocked by the same green pole that blocked the views of my grandfather back in 1912.''