Baseball Primer Newsblog
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Friday, January 10, 2014
I’m amused to find that a guy named Bill White wrote about Huckleberry.
(Not the Rizzuto version, of course; the version idolized by Bill James…)
How about Bill White for the Hall? Very good player, great broadcaster, NL president and baseball disciplinarian.
Maybe we should poll the allegation that he was a great broadcaster; I’m not sure that’s a winner. Intuitively, when a player of that stature later goes on to serve as the League President, that’s probably somebody that the powers will select for Hall of Fame inclusion.
Hey Bill….As I understand the rules, the HOF electors can vote for no more than 10 candidates per year. Looking at this year’s HOF ballot it certainly looks like more than 10 could have been elected (for the sake of my question let’s presume PEDs never existed). Is there any inherent reason to place a 10 player limit per year, such as concerns that electing more than 10 might somehow dilute the honor, or is there some kind of mathemagic reason to limit it to no more than 10? Or is it that the Hall never expected to have such a strong ballot so that a 10 player limit seemed sufficient? Or is the 10 player limit the least of the HOF voting “problems?” Thanks.
Yes, it is the least of the Hall of Fame’s voting problems. I’m sure that the 10-man limit was put in place to discourage indiscriminate voting leading to lax standards, although indiscriminate voting BY THE BBWAA leading to lax standards has never been a real issue. (Indiscriminate voting leading to lax standards has been a problem, but by the Veteran’s Committee and the special committees, not the BBWAA.) Throughout almost all of the Hall’s history, there have not been 10 reasonable candidates on the BBWAA ballot. This year, because of the Expansion Time Bomb and the lack of consensus about the steroid users, there were (as you note) more than 10 people there who were worthy of selection.
Hey Bill: There is a rather breathless CNN expose that just hit on illiteracy among college athletes: http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2014/01/us/college-scores/index.html Aside from the cautionary tale of Shoeless Joe, I don’t believe I have heard of any baseball greats who could not read or write, although I would suspect anyone nicknamed “Country.” Any thoughts on this? Would an illiterate player be drafted by a club today?
Many of the Dominican players and those from other parts of Latin American have extremely limited educational backgrounds, and it is more than a remote possibility that there could be a player included there somewhere who could not read or write. There was an American player about 20 years ago who was illiterate; he had a strong rookie year, but then faded. It is likely that Rube Waddell was illiterate. . .well, certainly in 1900, and as late as 1940, levels of literacy in America were not what they are now. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a good many illiterate players in that era. On the general issue. ..if a team thought a player could play, they would draft him and address this concern just as they would address any other. If you find a player who has ability but no teeth, you draft him and get him to a dentist. If you find a player who has ability but a terrible swing, you draft him and try to fix his swing. Same thing here. There are no perfect players to draft; the last perfect player to draft was Tom Seaver. Otherwise, everybody has issues. You draft them and deal with the issues.
Late to the party regarding the CEOs-Athletes-Actors salary debate: I don’t think we’re approaching that sea change (society actively trying to limit income among these groups) for a while, if not ever. These people are paid insane amounts because of the insane amounts of wealth/revenue they generate for their employers due to their own unique talents.
Well, you can believe that if you want to, but there are other ways to look at it. There are other people who have unique and valuable talents who aren’t compensated at a comparable level. If all of the players playing major league baseball suddenly retired and a new generation appeared, each player making no more than $100,000 a year, the game would go on just as before. If movie stars were not paid $20 million a movie, there would still be movies. If CEOs were not paid very large salaries, there would still be company presidents and, I suspect, equally competent or more competent business management.
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