The Hall of Fame Does Not Matter

Earlier today Baseball Hall of Fame voting was announced.  As expected, Rickey Henderson is in and Jim Rice is too.  Good for both of them.  I love baseball but I’m not going to spend much time talking about Henderson or Rice.  I do have one thing to say about the Baseball Hall of Fame though:

The Baseball Hall of Fame does not matter in the least.

Let me clarify that.  There are some fantastic reasons to travel to Cooperstown, New York to visit The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum but the Hall of Fame itself is the least of them.  The museum is a priceless collection of memorabilia and exhibits commemorating a game that means a lot to millions of people.  The Hall of Fame is a single sterile portion of the building filled with plaques commemorating those who have been deemed worthy of admission.  These players may be the best who have ever played baseball but since Hall of Fame voting is largely subjective, frequently politicized and often times inexplicable we can’t say for sure if this is true.  For example:

  • 28 voters DID NOT vote for Rickey Henderson this year.
  • Nearly 80% did not vote for Tim Raines, who is statistically the second best lead-off hitter and base stealer to ever set foot on a baseball field.
  • Willie Mays, arguably the greatest all around player the game has ever seen, did not get voted elected to the Hall in his first year of eligibility.
  • Phil Rizzuto is in the Hall of Fame.

I could list 50 more oddities in the voting but you get the point, the Hall of Fame voting makes no sense so it’s hard to take the results of their voting too seriously.  Furthermore these are just plaques hanging on a wall (and ugly ones at that) that have no real connection to the players they represent and memorialize.  I’ve been to the Cooperstown and the Hall has never held my attention for long.

On the other hand, the museum portion of the building is fantastic.  The history of the game is not told only by the small handful of players voted into the Hall of Fame.  Furthermore it’s the museum that contains the actual uniforms and equipment used by the players.  I’d rather look at Babe Ruth’s uniform then a bronze plaque with his name on it.  The last time I was at the National Hall of Fame and Museum I arrived when it opened and stayed until it closed.  I spent about 30 minutes in the Hall of Fame and the other seven and a half hours in the museum.  For my next visit I hope to get the Hall portion down to 15 minutes or less so I can spend more time on the important stuff.

Just for fun I’ve added a poll on this subject:



Filed under General Tomfoolery

10 responses to “The Hall of Fame Does Not Matter

  1. ty

    I’m holding out for Jesse Orosco.

  2. Joseph Finn

    Yes, it does, and 84.1 percent of the voters missed the boat on Harold Baines.

  3. betheboy

    Ty – That might be a long, long wait.

    Joseph Finn – About Baines, I think Baines deserves more respect but at the same time I wouldn’t vote for him if I cared about who got in. I guess I’m a small, very exclusive Hall guy so no Rice, no Rizzuto, and sadly no Harold Baines. Of course I don’t have a vote but if I did I’d be all for blowing the Hall part up and just having an inclusive museum.

  4. Edley

    Rizzuto’s inclusion has less to do with his baseball prowess, and more to do with his color commentary at the end of “Paradise By the Dashboard Light.”

    Or perhaps his shilling for The Money Store.

  5. pacolongisland

    That’s the same way I feel about the so called “Rock & Roll” Hall of Fame. There are way too many people inducted who did not or do not play anything that can remotely be called Rock & Roll, but bands that made either a significant contribution to Rock & Roll or were just extremely influential are not in the hall.
    P.S. Phil Rizzuto is in primarily because his numbers are very similar to Pee Wee Reese, although though he did win an MVP award. According to my father, which I agree with, neither one belongs.

  6. I still hold out hope that the Hall will wake up and recognize the greatness of Harold Baines.

  7. Goiter Guy

    I can’t believe I haven’t been to Cooperstown. Someday. The Hall is a human institution; it is going to be messy. I can deal with messy. One must.

    I am happy for Rice as a BoSox Fan.

    I would like to see an exhibit there of the top ten Ricky Henderson stories, urban myth or not. The Olerud one just makes me smile.

  8. betheboy

    Cooperstown is worth a trip for the Museum I can’t stress that enough, it’s amazing but the Hall itself is not much to speak of.

  9. Dara Yastrzemski

    I live in Cooperstown. I’ve been to the Hall twice. I too am a fan of the museum, but the plaques are very disappointing. For the life of me, I don’t get the voting process either.

    The village of Cooperstown is quite beautiful and holds so much more than baseball.

    I love living here about 80% of the time. It’s the winter that’s a killer….that and Wal-Mart being the only shopping option in a 50 mile radius.

  10. betheboy

    Dara I can’t argue that Cooperstown is a beautiful place. Try to say warm till spring time.

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