Saturday, January 23, 2010

This Day In Giants History

January 23, 1979

Willie Mays is named on 409 of 432 ballots and elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Twenty-three people thought Willie Mays didn't belong in the HOF?


Bob said...

Mark! Dump this guy!

M.C. O'Connor said...

I'm considering adding a "word verification" step to the comment section. It seems we are getting a LOT more spam. What do you think?

You can still comment anonymously, but it should reduce the automated stuff like the one above I deleted. Blog authors won't have to be "verified" as long as they are logged in.

M.C. O'Connor said...

That 23 sports-writers gave the 'thumbs down' to one of the truly remarkable ballplayers in a HOF vote and weren't called out about it shows us the fruits of the Information Age. Nowadays the sports-writers have to write columns defending their idiocy because fans know who they are and challenge their authority. Their dumb justifications are available to anyone with Google. Perhaps the HOF can be rescued from the self-serving ignoramuses who guard its gates, but I think the dying breed who've run the show have already ruined the institution and their own credibility. Think about the Andre Dawson, Jim Rice, Bert Blyleven and Tim Raines votes--do these guys really know anything more about what makes a great player than the average Joe in the LF bleachers? I'm not so sure. (Read the Jack-Morris-is a-HOFer arguments if you don't believe me.) I've quit reading most of the old-school sport-writers because I can get better insight and analysis from amateur bloggers and (drunks on barstools). I hate to paint with a broad brush as there are many fine and intelligent "old school" baseball guys, but the insular, arrogant, and closed-minded fools who get these votes have obvioulsy been stupid for thirty years. Did you know that NOLAN RYAN got a higher percentage than Mays? So did George Brett (surely a deserving candidate, but more so than Mays?). Ridiculous.

I'm finding it harder and harder to care about the HOF, and when Barry is eligible in a few years it will start a whole new round of spewage and that will be almost impossible to bear.

One of the problems with being a modern fan is that we see EVERYTHING a player does, and the lousy plays and bad stretches and high-stakes failures stick in the mind as much as the accomplishments. It is far easier to wax poetically about the greatness of the bygone "heroes" because we can select (or manufacture) the "memories" that define them. You wouldn't believe the number of people who think Maury Wills should be a HOFer, and their arugment is almost entirely based on "you had to be there to appreciate him" nostalgia!

The Hall set itself up to be EXCLUSIVE rather than INCLUSIVE. Only the "very best" as opposed to the "very good" were supposed to get in. Perhaps it should redefine itself by being more inclusive, and honoring great accomplishments and not necessarily trying to play God and say who are the "all-time" greats. That's a fool's errand, in the end, and I think the composition of the Hall proves it.