The JoeBlogs Hall of Fame Criteria
OK, before we get into the first class of the JoeBlogs Hall of Fame, let me talk for a minute about the criteria, because I’ve been thinking a lot about that.
As you probably know, the voting criteria for the Baseball Hall of fame is a pretty famous 23 words: Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.
I’m not sure how many people through the years have broken this down, but I would suppose that those words mean something like this:
Player’s record: Stats.
Playing ability: How skillful was the player? Was he a joy to watch? Did he inspire awe? Did others consider him the best at any particular aspect of the game?
Integrity: Did he play the game honestly?
Sportsmanship: Was the player generous in the way he treated others in victory and defeat?
Character: Did the player’s good qualities outweigh his flaws?
Contributions to the teams on which he played: Was the player a leader? A role model? A good teammate? Did he represent the organization well? Did he perform well in the biggest moments?
I don’t know how many voters actually use the criteria as written. I mean, everyone uses the stats, and integrity became a bigger deal after the PED era, and every now and again character is considered. But I suspect most voters do not use a checklist.
For the JoeBlogs Hall of Fame, I’m trying to use a checklist. I could be wrong, but I do have this feeling, and it has been building lately, that Hall of Fame voting has become just a little bit too pat, too much of a one-note process. I’d like to see the JoeBlogs Hall of Fame blend subjective and objective examination. I don’t at all mind there being a little bit of gut feeling involved, as well as a detailed statistical analysis.
Point being, I’m considering all of the Hall of Fame things1 while adding a couple more standards:
Contributions to baseball. You could argue that this is already built into the Hall of Fame criteria, but I want to make it plainer. For each person — not just players but people — I will ask the question, “If you were telling the story of baseball, would this person be in the index? Would he or she be a whole chapter? Would they be multiple chapters?” This, in many ways, is my most important standard.
Span of greatness. How many years was this player at the top of the game?
For this second one, I have been playing around with the idea of a Koufax to Sutton scale.