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Joe Posnanski creates a passive-aggressive masterpiece

Jan 6, 2011, 5:00 PM EDT


Joe Posnanski’s latest post is brilliant. It’s about an imaginary “Willie Mays Hall of Fame” in which only the truly elite of the elite should be enshrined. Many people talk about such a thing, and today he envisions it. The post is long, and if you take it at face value you might get mad at the reasoning he uses in eliminating players from the platonic ideal of the Hall of Fame. But look deeper: he’s simply taking the reasoning of current Hall of Fame voters to its logical conclusion.

There are people who only want a small Hall of elite players. OK.  There are some who vote now who want to keep out the cheaters. OK. Some won’t vote for guys on the first ballot. OK.  Some won’t vote for guys who didn’t “feel” like Hall of Famers at the time. Others won’t vote for guys who are roughly comparable to players who aren’t already in. There are a dozen reasons for these kinds of votes. We’ve seen them all in the past few weeks alone.

Joe runs down the entire Hall of Fame roster and eliminates guys one by one who, if up for election today, wouldn’t be voted for by some people if they remained consistent with their currently-stated standards.  At the end, he has a Hall of Fame on which everyone can agree. Read his post to see what it looks like.  You can probably guess the size of its membership before you click through.

Joe is way too nice to say “F-You” to the Hall of Fame electorate in so many words.  But in this brilliant passive-aggressive post he does so in 4000 words.

  1. jkcalhoun - Jan 6, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    A very modest proposal.

  2. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jan 6, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    I meet all criteria except one; I never played professional baseball. I think I should be in before these jerks like Mays and the rest. So if you want to see the Willie Mays HOF, come to MY office.

    • Utley's Hair - Jan 6, 2011 at 5:34 PM

      So you’re the only one in the Willie Mays Hall of Fame? That’s quite a feat.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jan 6, 2011 at 5:44 PM

        That’s right, my friend. You can send Willie and myself your credentials and we’ll see what we can do.

      • Utley's Hair - Jan 6, 2011 at 5:57 PM

        I’ll bring the cake.

  3. wonkypenguin - Jan 6, 2011 at 5:31 PM

    Brilliant. As usual.

  4. Jeremy T - Jan 6, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    Absolutely incredible, I just found another blog to subscribe to.

  5. ta192 - Jan 6, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    I’m the curator of the “Ted Williams Hittin’ Hall of Fame”…

  6. stevejeltzjehricurl - Jan 6, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    That was spectacular. Can we have someone email that to every hall of Fame voter? And for the non-tech folks, can someone print and mail them a copy?

  7. motherscratcher23 - Jan 6, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    “Joe Posnanski’s latest post is brilliant.”

    You could set that as a headline and set it to run every morning with a link to his site. No other explanation would be needed.

  8. clydeserra - Jan 6, 2011 at 10:22 PM

    I love how a quarter of the comments don’t get it.

    • JM Lattanzi - Jan 6, 2011 at 10:49 PM

      It took me about halfway down to finally get it. It’s been that kind of a day.

      • clydeserra - Jan 6, 2011 at 11:51 PM

        It took me that long to fully realize that too, although I did know it was a gag.

  9. cjvirnig - Jan 6, 2011 at 11:02 PM

    Hall of Fame voters are far too cautious. Many of the HOF voters complain about how difficult it is to determine whether or not to vote for a “steroid guy.” In reality, it’s not difficult at all. Voting NO to these players is easy, safe, and probably politically expedient. Voting YES, however, takes guts.

    My theory is that steroid guys will not get into the HOF not because of internal pressure from the folks who run Cooperstown, but because a majority of the writers will unwittingly back themselves into a corner. McGwire isn’t getting in, but when these writers hide behind their NO votes until 2013, my guess is, they’ll have become accustomed to the safety of voting no and won’t summon the courage to vote YES, even to Barry Bonds (who should be in the Willie Mays HOF). In other words, their malaise will become permanent. Think of it like a guy who works out every day when he’s in his mid 20’s. By 32 he gets a good paying job and a good looking wife. Next comes a baby. Pretty soon, our guy no longer has the energy to work out every day. In fact, he probably ceases to work out at all by 34 or 35.

    So it is with the HOF voters. When Big Mac first appeared on the ballot last year, they never INTENDED to keep out ALL of the steroid guys. But it’s just too easy and safe to vote NO. After voting NO from 2009-2012, they’re all of a sudden going to vote YES to Bonds, Clemens, or Sosa?

    Not likely.

    • jkcalhoun - Jan 6, 2011 at 11:10 PM

      So they have the courage of their inertia.

      And certainly they do. However, in large bodies of individuals there are often mavericks or alpha dogs or strange attractors whatever you want to call them that have the propensity for initiating changes in direction, changes in attitude. I think Neyer’s right: someone (or something) will light a new fire under this crowd eventually, and it will scurry otherwards.

  10. Chris Fiorentino - Jan 6, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    I never in a million years thought I would say this but I am sick and tired of the Hall of Fame.

    Maybe, I just want baseball to begin again. Doc, Lee, Roy, and Cole. Holy crap.

    • paperlions - Jan 7, 2011 at 7:50 AM

      I’m not sick of the HOF or the debates, per se….but I am weary of intellectual dishonesty, bias, and inconsistency by voters in applying their own stated standards. The sad thing is that I actually do think these guys are trying, but many are simply incapable of viewing a body of evidence and drawing logically consistent conclusions from it….then again, maybe not, maybe they decide what they think a priori and just search for reasons/excuses for how they want to vote.

  11. cjvirnig - Jan 7, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    Why doesn’t the Hall of Fame simply reorganize the plaque’s by era? Most HOF’ers have long careers spanning 15-20 years, so why not make 20 years constitute an “era?”

    True, it would be unfortunate for guys like Jeter and Griffey to have their names next to Bonds and Clemens, but they’ll still be in Cooperstown, so what’s the big deal? These guys all know each other and have played with or against each other.

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