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Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best
Sunday, June 15, 2003
Balloting for 1903 is open, a little early since a few voters are going on vacation this week . . .
I know the rules allow a Cap Anson no-vote this week. But I don’t encourage that at all. He was a product of his time.
And looking at some other things he did off the field, I found this in the NHBA:
Bill James basically gives him most of the credit for saving the game in the late 1870s. Anson organized the practice of raiding other leagues, not other teams in the league. This forced other teams in the league to follow suit, and the National League rose to the top, becoming the true major league. Also:
“. . . Anson made baseball immensely popular in Chicago, which was the league’s largest and most important city. In the NL’s first years, the schedule was getting shorter, the league was getting smaller, and the cities in the league were growing more remote. The game was dying. Cap Anson is the man who really changed that - not all by himself, but more than anyone else.”
I’m not saying he deserves any ‘extra credit’ for this on a ballot, but it should help to offset any moral issues one might have with him. Paraphrasing what someone said on the 1903 discussion thread, think long and hard before penalizing a Jim Crow from a Jim Crow time.
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