FriarBall: Does the Hall of Fame live up to its name?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Does the Hall of Fame live up to its name?

With the hot stove cooling off, it seems the media has turned its attention to the Hall of Fame. And while you will find countless articles debating the Hall of Fame merits of various fan favorites, I have been pondering the importance of the Hall of Fame in general.

Last year's election was great because I saw my childhood hero elected in his first try, looking over the list I know there are those out there hoping their hero will one day get in as well.

Unfortunately, the voting process seems to be bogged down by arbitrarily decided statistical plateaus and many players who had a special role in shaping a particular franchise are left out in the cold and the system is in need of improvement.

While I don't have every single detail of my proposed system completely worked out, I think a change is needed in what the Hall actually represents. In my system, Cooperstown would be the home of and showcase the important moments in baseball history. Whether it is memorabilia from setting a record or some form of plaque for reaching a significant milestone, the Hall of Fame should highlight baseball history, not arbitrarily honor those a group of writers think are worthy to be immortalized in baseball lore.

But before you start firing off mean e-mails saying the players are more important than the milestones they reach, here is my proposal for the players - the honors should be administered by the team. Now many teams already have a team hall of fame or some sort of way to honor special players, but more emphasis should be placed on these honors.

Let it be up to the team to decide how important someone like Andre Dawson was to the Expos or Cubs. If Red Sox Nation feels Jim Rice was one of the most significant players in team history, let the Red Sox dictate so.

The Padres have only retired 5 numbers plus 42 to honor Jackie Robinson, but how many other players that have played for the organization did enough while in SD to merit a special recognition like that?

Is my proposed system perfect? Absolutely not, but would it help a guy like Goose Gossage get the recognition he deserves? Absolutely.

And if worst comes to worst, at least the baseball writers wouldn't have a say anymore.

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