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Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1988 followed the system in place since 1978. The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and elected two, Johnny Bench and Carl Yastrzemski. The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider older major league players as well as managers, umpires, executives, and figures from the Negro Leagues. It also selected two people, Al Barlick and Red Schoendienst.

BBWAA election

The BBWAA was authorized to elect players active in 1969 or later, but not after 1983; the ballot included candidates from the 1988 ballot who received at least 5% of the vote but were not elected, along with selected players, chosen by a screening committee, whose last appearance was in 1983. All 10-year members of the BBWAA were eligible to vote.

Voters were instructed to cast votes for up to 10 candidates; any candidate receiving votes on at least 75% of the ballots would be honored with induction to the Hall. The ballot consisted of 41 players; a total of 447 ballots were cast, with 336 votes required for election. Those candidates receiving less than 5% of the vote would not appear on future BBWAA ballots, but could eventually be considered by the Veterans Committee.

Candidates who were eligible for the first time are indicated here with a †. The two candidates who received at least 75% of the vote and were elected are indicated in bold italics; candidates who have since been elected in subsequent elections are indicated in italics. The 20 candidates whoe received less than 5% of the vote, thus becoming ineligible for future BBWAA consideration, are indicated with a *.

Player Votes Percent
Johnny Bench 431 96.4
Carl Yastrzemski 423 94.6
Gaylord Perry 304 68.0
Jim Bunning 283 63.3
Fergie Jenkins 234 52.3
Orlando Cepeda 176 39.4
Tony Oliva 135 30.2
Bill Mazeroski 134 30.0
Harvey Kuenn 115 25.7
Maury Wills 95 21.3
Jim Kaat 87 19.5
Ron Santo 75 16.8
Ken Boyer 62 13.9
Minnie Miñoso 59 13.2
Roy Face 47 10.5
Mickey Lolich 47 10.5
Luis Tiant 47 10.5
Joe Torre 40 8.9
Dick Allen 35 7.8
Vada Pinson 33 7.4
Thurman Munson 31 6.9
Bobby Bonds 29 6.5
Curt Flood 27 6.0
Sparky Lyle 25 5.6
Bert Campaneris* 14 3.1
Wilbur Wood* 14 3.1
Manny Mota* 9 2.0
Bobby Murcer* 3 0.7
Don Money* 1 0.2
Gene Tenace* 1 0.2
Jim Barr* 0 0.0
Terry Crowley* 0 0.0
Joe Ferguson* 0 0.0
Woodie Fryman* 0 0.0
César Gerónimo* 0 0.0
Dave Goltz* 0 0.0
Jon Matlack* 0 0.0
Rudy May* 0 0.0
Bake McBride* 0 0.0
Bill Robinson* 0 0.0
Richie Zisk* 0 0.0

Players eligible for the first time who were not included on the ballot were: Larry Biittner, Doug Bird, Tim Blackwell, Larry Christenson, Bill Fahey, Ed Farmer, Don Hood, Mike Ivie, Dave LaRoche, Randy Moffitt, Jerry Morales, Rowland Office, Mike Phillips, Steve Renko, Aurelio Rodriguez, Elias Sosa, and Otto Velez.

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