Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Three Left Turns Make a Right


The more I think about the special election for the Negro Leagues, the more troubling it is to me. They actually elected four owners to the HOF yesterday. Looking over the current inductees, I can only count three whose sole position was as an owner (Comisky, Veeck and Yawkey). Yawkey, (who was the owner of the Red Sox for over 40 years) was an avowed racist (thankfully he passed on Hank Aaron and Willie Mays) who bought his way into the HOF by paying for a major addition to the building. Connie Mack is also in the HOF, but as a manager, even though he was the owner of the team for 50 years.

Once again, I think the voters are trying to make up for an injustice by including people who do not stack up to the standards that the HOF has set. This can only serve as a means to further diminish this once exclusive institution. Why isn't Colonel Ruppert or Walter O'Malley in the hall? Who knows, but the voters have not seen fit to include them. Colonel Ruppert created the New York Yankees dynasty, O'Malley oversaw the dismantling of the color line, the move of Baseball to the west coast, the rise of the Dodgers from laughing stock to perennial contender, and yet they haven't been voted in. My point here is not to argue for their inclusion, but to point out just how hard it is for an owner to get into the HOF. It is very clear that a different standard was used in this election.

Given the new lower standard that has been established with this election, I don't see why an argument can't be made for Charley Finley or George Steinbrenner along with Ruppert and O'Malley. It's true that an injustice was done to most of these people (one of the owners inducted was white, so his association with the league was by choice, not necessity), but it's just as true that two wrongs do not make a right.

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