So, the 2010 Hall of Fame voting is behind us and the Hall will only be welcoming one newcomer: Andre "Hawk" Dawson.
Now, some will wonder and argue why he should be in the Hall, if it took him this long just to get in (this was his ninth appearance afterall), while others will argue he should have been in long ago (like, say, his first ballot).
I would be one of the voices screaming: YOU SHOULDA PUT HIM IN ON HIS FIRST TRY!@#!@#@!!
Why, you ask, should the Hawk have made the Hall of FAME on his first attempt? Well, here are the numbers: eight gold gloves, four silver sluggers, one of three members of the 400 HR/300 SB club (the other two: Willie Mays, Barry Bonds), one MVP, ROY and seven all stars. He is also 25th on the career list for total bases, 45th overall in hits, 34th in games played, 24th in RBI and he has the 24th most extra base hits. Not to mention he hit 13 or more home runs for 18 straight seasons.
That, to me, is a Hall of Famer.
The top two who just missed, ol' Bert Blyleven and Robbie Alomar, deserve to get in. Blyleven, because the numbers don't lie (over 3,000 strikeouts, a ridiculous amount of shutouts and 9th most shuouts) and Alomar because he was one of the greatest offensive second basemen ever (him and Craig Biggio ran neck and neck for 10 full seasons beginning in 1990).
As for the others, take'em off the ballot.
I really believe you should only have like 3 or 4 chances to get in, then you get taken off. As others have argued, what makes you more fit for the Hall of Fame on your 8th try then on your 1st or 2nd? If their is any doubt in someone's mind that you shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame and many, many others agree on that opinion, then you don't belong. It is the Hall of Very Good or the Hall of Durbaility & Longevity (i'm looking at you Julio Franco), it's the Hall of Fame (though, fame is used in such a way that people can sway it to mean more than just stats, like say, how FAMous a player was, made them a better ball player....ask Roger Maris about that). You can be quietly a Hall of Famer (little fame out side of your own city) and loudly a Hall of Famer (Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan, etc) and no one would blink an eye.
If I could, I would blow up the Hall of Fame and start completely over.* Go back through all the 200+ members of the Hall of Fame and designate them to a different level of Hall of Fame-ness. Say, 12 levels (or stories), with the 12th level being the "Epic" Hall of Famers. Those guys who just come through the league and blow through ridiculously and leave no mind that they are the best damn player. People like Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds (pre-steroids and with steroids), Roger Clemens (the same) and soon to be joining them Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols (and others). The guys at the bottom are the barely in, but posted good career guys (Jim Rice) and so on from there. We would set a "level player", if you will, which would be the player you use to gauge a player's worthiness for that level. Say level 9 was Duke Snider, he would be the bare minimum for that level. A player to be on that level would have to have been at least as successful as Duke, if not more. but if you weren't as good as Duke? Drop a level please, unless you are just visiting (take a step back Cal Ripken Jr., your floor is two floors down). As for commissioners, umpires, announcers, owners, managers and coaches, they would get their own wing in the Hall of Fame. As well as players who had legendary performances, but just weren't Hall of Fame worthy (Roger Maris, anyone who has thrown a no hitter or perfect game that isn't in the Hall of fame, players who hit for the cycle or had four homer games, Fernando Tatis' two grand slams in one inning, etc.). As well as actually having the museum still attached and an area for the lighter side of baseball: baseball cards, video games, apparel, autograph signings, book releases, etc.
Plus, you gotta have a baseball themed restaurant. Maybe something like Charlie's Hustle or the Mad Dog Grill.
And, by the way, Shoeless Joe and Charlie Hustle himself would find a place in that Hall of Fame. Their accomplishments were not hindered by their gambling (or perceived gambling). Their stats (and stature off the field) spak for themselves.
So what does this mean for the future? This means 1) my dream will never happen & 2) mroe and more less qualified players will be getting into the hall of fame.
David Cone and Kenny Rogers? Sure, why not, you guys threw no-hitters, didn't ya?
*This was "borrowed" from Bill Simmons, ESPN's Sports Guy, in his new book "The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy". Go out, pick it up and read it. 700 pages of basketball greatness. (I am receiving no compensation for this...though I should ask for some.....)
P.S. If you have a ballot and vote for no one, then one of the bad ass hall of famers (Reggie Jackson or Nolan Ryan probably) will come to yoru house, take your ballot and kick you in the nuts for being a ninnie.