The Hall of Fame Question
As the cameras scanned the crowd during the Celtics win the other night and gave us glimpses of some of the all time NBA greats, I started thinking….and that’s always a dangerous thing. But I started wondering: what is it that makes a player a hall of famer? We go through this debate every year in every sport as the latest inductees are determined. There always seems to be some controversy as to players that people think should be inducted but haven’t been, as well as the ones that people think shouldn’t have been inducted but were.
Sure the decision on who to induct is easy when it comes to people like Babe Ruth, John Elway, Bill Russell, or Wayne Gretzky. But what about the more “borderline” candidates. What pushes a person from a good player in the league to a hall of famer?
Let’s look at two players. The first is a second basement who played 17 years in the Major Leagues, all with one team. He had a career batting average of .260, and compiled 2016 hits, 138 home runs, and 853 RBIs. He never won an MVP, but had 8 gold gloves and played in 6 All Star Games.
Player B was an outfielder for most of his career. He also played 17 seasons, a .265 career average, 2111 hits, 398 home runs, and 1266 RBIs. He collected 5 gold gloves, won 2 MVPs awards, and played in 7 All Star Games.
One of those players is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. It’s Player A – Bill Mazeroski. Player B is Dale Murphy, and it looks like he may never get to give a speech on the lawns of Cooperstown.
What makes Maz a Hall of Famer and the Murph “just” a great player in his day? What quality or stat is separating them?
I didn’t have the chance to see Mazeroski play, and Dale Murphy’s best years were when I was more concerned with what new useless toy they were selling at the school store. So I realize that there are some intangibles that I’m not able to consider. But based on pure numbers, if Maz was voted in then Murph should be too.
So what are the writers looking at when they cast their ballots? Should they be looking for the players who challenged the records? Or should they also vote for the ones who were premier players in their era even if they didn’t set records?
For my own part, I think it should be both. As I mentioned earlier, certainly there are other factors that must be considered as well.
What do you all think? Is it possible to come up with a check list when voting forms hall of famed? And why do you think the Mazeroskis get in and the Murphys do not?