I think you will see this scenario present itself over the next 5-10 years.
A "suspected" HOF candidate will not receive 5% of votes one year. Let's use Rafael Palmeiro. If that happens that Player is FOREVER ineliligible for the HOF. Many people think that they can still be elected later by the Veterans Committee. WRONG. Only players who go 15 years and don't get elected go to the Veterans Committe. Once a player fails to receive 5% of the vote they are PERMANENTLY removed from the list.
Why is this such an issue now? It's because SO many steroid-era players are just now becoming eligible. Combine that with the true superstars that are bonafide HOF-caliber players and there might be too many votes to go around for everyone to receive 5%.
I don't have the numbers (or current names) with me now. But let's say in an upcoming year there are 30 players on a list (last year there were 33). Each Voter can ONLY list a MAX of 10 as their nominations. That don't have to list 10, that is just the max. Many may only nominate 2 or 3.
With the limited number of 10 nominations and say 15 potential HOF players how many Voters will select Rafael Palmeiro? What about Mark McGwire?
A lot of Voters have said they won't put Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens on their Ballot. Is it possibly the won't get 5% of the vote in their first year because a lot of voters don't want to put them on their first ballot but might be willing to wait 5 years. What if those 5 years never come for that player?
Now let's fast-forward a couple years and say that Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa didn't make the 5% cut one year and are now all permanently ineligible because Voters wanted to make a statement. But somehow Mark McGwire, Andy Pettitte, and a few other happen to get 6% each year and lo and behold McGwire finally gets in, the Palmeiro gets in, then Pettitte gets in (not sure he ever will just using an example).
Now you have a situation where some seemingly obvious steroid users are in the Hall of Fame, say yet others are permanently ineligible. See it used to be that players that didn't get 5% were obviously nowhere near HOF-caliber. Last year Kirk Rueter, Lenny Harris, Bobby Higginson, Carlos Baerga, Raul Modesi and Charles Johnson didn't receive any votes.
That can't be said anymore.
And that begs the question if say Ivan Rodriguez and Mark McGwire get in one year and Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa didn't receive 5% of the vote one year and are permanently ineligible will that rule, and should that rule, ever be revisited.
Don't be too surprised if Palmeiro is facing that exact scenario this year.
For the record Palmeiro received 11% of the vote last year.
McGwire - 19.8%
and Juan Gonzalez........434 hr, 1404 rbi, .295 avg, 2 MVPs
-- he received 5.2% (he will almost certainly be removed from the list permanently).
5% of the 581 Votes would be exactly 29.05 votes --
- Gonzalez received 30 votes (the absolute minimum)
Harold Baines received 28 votes and John Franco received 27 votes - they are now permanently ineligible.