Monday, February 27, 2006

Chicken Stanley for the HOF

The Baseball Hall of Fame is trying to make up for past ills by inducting a group of Negro Leaguers into the HOF. Now, I'm all for putting deserving players in the HOF and obviously the Negro League players have been under represented. I do not however agree with putting players in based on anecdotal evidence. The HOF has made mistakes based on actual statistics, so how on earth are they going to sort through anecdotes to figure out who deserves to be in the HOF. Jay Buhner hit one of the longest home runs I have ever seen. Should that be enough to get him into the HOF? Of course not, so why on earth would the HOF rely on such "evidence" to put Negro Leaguers in? It's clearly an injustice that they were not allowed to play in the Major Leagues, but is the wholesale induction of players really the way to provide redress to those players? I don't think so. If MLB is in such a giving mood, why don't they provide a good pension to the living Negro Leaguers or provide the families of all the former Negro Leaguers with a one-time payment to make up for the denial of the opportunity to play in the Majors.

The Hall of Fame has already been cheapened by the old Veterans Committee (The new Veterans Committee made of the living HOFers has yet to induct a candidate). There really doesn't need to be any more damage done. Seriously, were Honus Wagner and Phil Rizzuto even playing the same game? Yet they are honored by baseball in the same way. At this point there is no way for baseball to honor its truly great players. The honor has been so watered down, that the great, good and sometimes just the lucky now share the same hallowed ground. Rizzuto and Reese were good players, but were they any better than Bowa and Concepcion? I don't think so, but the fact that the first two have gotten in, leaves the latter two feeling like they have a beef when they are not voted in.

I understand the fact that Negro Leaguers got a raw deal. I understand that they have not gotten their just due from the HOF. But to induct a group of players into the Hall based on flimsy statistics and hearsay, is just as wrong.



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