Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hall of Famers? (continued)

Yesterday's post about the worthiness, or lack of same, for Hall of Fame enshrinement for two unidentified ballplayers, elicited over 70 responses when I posted it on my Facebook page and the Pirate Chat page.  Interestingly enough, most people, looking at the statistics, said that, given the facts in front of them, they would choose NOT to include either player in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Now, just who were those players?

Player A is Rocky Colavito.

As was obvious from the numbers, Colavito had a good to very good major league career, but he never went beyond single digit percentages when his name came before the Hall of Fame voters, and there is, as near as I can tell, absolutely no grass roots support to get old Rock into Cooperstown.

Player B, as many of you have already guessed, is Gil Hodges.

I have often written and talked about the passion that is ignited among many when the phrases "Gil Hodges" and "Hall of Fame" come up in the same sentence.  There are thousands of people out there who will launch into impassioned arguments stating why Gil belongs in the Hall of Fame.  I have no doubt that when this post hits the cyber-waves, many such arguments will be put forth.  In his years of eligibility, Hodges support among the baseball writers who vote on Hall of Fame membership ranged anywhere from 24% to 63%.

The Hodges supporters will give you reams upon reams of data as to why Gil belongs.  However, many of the arguments always seem to come down to this:

  1. He played most of his career in the greater New York City area, as a beloved member of the legendary Brooklyn Dodgers "Boys of Summer" teams.
  2. He was a really, really nice guy.
  3. He managed the New York Mets to the 1969 World Series title. 
As to Point 1, perhaps Hodges suffers from the same syndrome as does the Steelers L.C. Greenwood - too many guys from the same team already in the HOF.

As to Point 2, doesn't and shouldn't have anything to do with HOF worthiness.

As to Point 3, sorry, but there are a lot of managers who have won one World Series.  This isn't what should get Gil into Cooperstown, if he ever does get there.

My question always has been, would the passion to get Hodges into Cooperstown be the same had he played his entire career in, say, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, or Milwaukee, rather than in New York City/Brooklyn?  We'll never know the answer to that particular question.

I mentioned in my post yesterday that I have no emotional connection here, one way or the other.  If Hodges ever gets voted in by whatever they are calling the Veteran's Committee these days, more power to him.  I would be happy for his family and all those many, many people who love him.  And if he never gets in, I am okay with that, too, because if that happens, what about Colavito and all those other "similar" players (Greg Luzinski, Willie Horton, Jack Clark, Frank Howard et al) that I mentioned in yesterday's post?  That, I realize, opens up an entirely new and different HOF can of worms.  

Anyway, this is just the kind of fun stuff that we baseball fans love to debate, isn't it?

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