KNUCKLEBALLS, By Dave Clark - Knuckleball HQ
Call of the Hall
A discussion on the KnuckleballHQ message board offers various opinions on the elections of three ballplayers yet to make the Baseball Hall Of Fame. While passions run deep on both sides of each of the three, I'll try to place my opinions aside and explain the functional reality of the process, and provide some background information to help you see why things are as they are. I know I've covered this topic before, but until this is an automatic plug-in process (which it never will be) personal human opinion will be the deciding factor on anyone's election, and it takes some dispassionate understanding of the process to fathom why elections occur as they do.
Carefully read over the details behind Shoeless Joe. From what I can gather, Kenesaw Mountain Landis never actually came right out and found him guilty. Shoeless Joe simply walked away from the hearing, in tears, maybe for being accused of throwing a game, which is hard to do when you bat well over .300 and you're perfect in the field. He may have broken down from the overbearing accusation of defiling the game he loved over a few dollars, precious as those dollars may have been to him. His only problem may be that he was too uneducated to be capable of defending himself against an iron-fisted commissioner... and that's where most people find a potentially unjust problem. Landis may have inflated the case somewhat to send a message, which was not outside his own character. History--and baseball--may have fared better if Landis had instead become the dictator of a small South American country. As I recall, Cuba was available at the time.
This isn't the freakin' Hall Of Stats, gentlemen. Inductees make it largely on the basis of character. Pete Rose violated the only rule posted in every MLB clubhouse: Don't bet on the game. Whether it's a stupid rule nowadays or could be replaced by a better one is an idea that has been discussed by many, and I think that's worth considering. I'd like to see Pete make it sometime, within his lifetime; he has 'fessed up and apparently now realizes the harm he's created. I'd like to see the rules changed so perhaps a potential inductee has to wait, say, 40 years after he retires to become eligible... unless there is general agreement that gambling on the game just wouldn't affect anything except give the gambler one more way to go into hock. The key here is, don't go around rules you personally don't happen to like; change the rules themselves. There is also the concept that the rules should be changed to make an exception for Pete Rose or someone in a similar state, but the caretakers of the game bristle at the idea of making a change for one player.
Outside of the clueless confines of SF, many baseball fans feel that Barry Bonds has a huge character problem. Once he retires, voters have to see what ethical issues come up, then decide if it's enough to keep him out. Putting his baseball record aside, he doesn't seem to be scoring high on the likeability scale with many. Not having met the man, I prefer to reserve judgement, as things can be misinterpreted by even the best of us. I know of such a case with a major-league ballplayer, which resulted in his trade, then a later return to his old ballclub once his apparent personality flaw was understood as just a show.
What Barry Bonds has done between the lines is colossal, but what he may have done outside may cause some problems getting in on a first ballot.
I'm sure some writer could assemble an entire book just on the interpretation of the character issue as it applies to HOF members. Hockey fans might know about Alan Eagleson's removal from the Hockey Hall Of Fame for the trouble he got himself into. There may be a time in which this will happen to a major league baseball player.
One more item on character you need to consider if you're still in your youthful years: Players get promoted and get more game time when their appealing character is noticed by coaches who appreciate how that matters to the game. That's also known as "playing the game the right way". This makes a difference at all levels, even when the HOF approaches.
AUTOGRAPH HOUND, By Marc Schoder - Autograph Dog
It has been about 4 years since I last did a card show and now I remember why I stopped doing them. I got older and started having a life.
I've come to realize that shows are meant for older men similar to my father's age (for those keeping track he's 60) who have nothing better to do than sit around and "attempt" to sell cards. During that day I was grateful for the invention of a little website that I like to call eBay and the time and money that it has saved me over the years because I didnt waste my time traveling to shows, such as this one in Colorado, at dead end malls where I know it's a complete black hole of time and money wasted. In this case, this trip to Colorado wasn't completely wasted. All I did was lug my cards 600 miles from my home in New Mexico in order to do this this. I also saw a Rockies game where the Cubs lost... go figure, once again. Not a surprise. I have decided because of this that we will be launching a large amount of eBay auctions this week starting in the next few days so stay tuned to Autographdog.com for more info.
Marc Schoder is a freelance writer and computer consultant in New Mexico. He can be contacted at autographdog.com or usavirtualassistant.com or by e-mail at email@example.com.
The contents of the respective articles represent the opinions of the individual writers and not necessarily those of the editor/owner of The Oddball Mall Sports Cards.
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