Thursday, January 10, 2013

Changing the HOF – No One Left Behind

The 2013 Hall of Fame class has been released and for only the 8th time since its inception, no one was elected.  This has caused much controversy among the blog-o-sphere that the HOF has become a joke, either because the “clean” players of Edgar Martinez, Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio have been undeservingly punished or because some of the statistically best players of all time in Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens should be included, despite the steroid controversy.  There were no winners this year; the “steroid era” has caused everyone to lose.

This has caused many people to create their own ideal HOF that includes only the players that fit in their ideal world.  One of the biggest complaints is that the HOF is a museum and shouldn’t ignore an entire era.  Cheating to gain a competitive advantage has always been a part of the game and steroid users shouldn’t be ignored, even if it’s the worst kind of cheating one can do.

Redoing the HOF has been questioned by ESPN and done by FanGraphs (as well as many other places).  The conclusion is always the same: what we currently have right now isn’t working.  My solution is to include everyone.  No, not literally everyone, the player would still have to do something special in order to gain entry.  However, it wouldn’t take much to get in.  All the prominent players would be in – and then some.

The Elites:

These are the ones we typically think of when we hear of Hall of Fame players.  These are the statistically best players of all-time.  As such, the stats will determine who gets in this wing.  Whether it’s by sabermetically by using a stat like WAR or traditionally by using wins and RBI (or some combination of the two), there is no voting process.  The stats will speak for themselves.

The Special Accomplishments:

All the player has to do is something rare and extraordinaire and he’s in.  Every pitcher that has a no-hitter and perfect game is in, including Philip Humber.  Every hitter who has hit 4 HR in one game is in, including Shawn Green. Every player to have an unassisted triple play will be in, including Eric BruntlettBert Campaneris, Cesar Tovar and Shane Halter are the only players who have played all nine positions in one game, so they are in.  Jack Morris will get in for being the most winningest pitcher of the ‘80s and Roger Maris will be in for beating a then home run record.

In fact, all players that have a record will be in, including Placido Polanco, who has a record of playing the most consecutive games at 2B without committing an error.

The Historically Bad:

Baseball has been filled with historically great players…and also historically bad players.  Every die-hard baseball fan is aware of how historically bad Bill Bergen was at hitting a baseball.  Now it’s time to make it official.

The Tarnish:

This is where we’ll recognize the steroid users.  Jose Canseco can get a special recognition for helping expose steroid users for his book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got BigHank Aaron might have to be in this wing for admitting to use amphetamines as well as Gaylord Perry for using an illegal spitball.  

This is also where Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson will get recognized for being historically great players, but are banned from baseball for gambling-related incidents.          

It’ll no longer be a place to celebrate the best baseball players.  It’ll be a place to recognize baseball history, the good, the bad and the ugly.

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