Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Genius Idea

So I was talking to a friend of mine today about the Hall of Fame in baseball and how its a shame Pete Rose isn't in there and eventually the conversation turns into a debate over current players and whether or not they should get in the hall.

So as the discussion goes on he tells me about this pyramid idea Bill Simmons has for the Hall of Fame in baseball. Since I have a huge crush on Simmons I check it out and it turns out to be a sheer brilliant idea. I dare anyone to look at this idea and find a hole in it.

The following is taken verbatim from a Simmons article published in 2002:

"Here's the premise: In an ideal world, the Hall of Fame should be a place where someone could stroll in, spend weeks walking around, absorb everything about the game ... by the time they departed, they would know everything there is to know about professional baseball. Well, the way the place is presently constructed, all the Hall of Famers are sort of lumped together. It's like having a Hall of Fame for models and putting Cindy Crawford's plaque next to the girl who modeled as the "Before" picture in the original "Weight Watchers" ad.

So why couldn't we transform it into a five-level pyramid -- seriously, an actual pyramid, like a replica of the Luxor casino in Las Vegas -- where elected players are assigned to different levels?

Bear with me ...

Level 1

Ground floor of The Pyramid ... designated for marginal guys who were considered "Borderline Hall of Famers," either because of the Rice Factor (great career, not long enough) or the Sutton Factor (very good for a long time, rarely great) ... anyone voted in simply because they reached a benchmark (400 homers, 300 wins, etc.) would be thrown in here ... you could even include players who broke significant individual records (Don Larsen, Roger Maris, Johnny Vander Meer, etc. -- though, personally, I say no).

Modern "L1" examples: Carter, Sutton, Phil Niekro, Gaylord Perry, Gossage, Rice, Morris, Catfish Hunter, Wade Boggs, Tony Perez, Lee Smith, Rollie Fingers, Tom Glavine (if he keeps going strong). You get the idea.

Level 2

Second floor of The Pyramid ... not quite as cluttered, not as much space ... reserved for guys who were definitely Hall of Famers, but didn't quite possess a Level 3 résumé for one or more of the following reasons:

Their team never won a World Series.

Something was missing from their career totals.

They never enjoyed an outrageously good single season.

Somebody else played their position during their time who was better.

Their career was shortened by injury and/or rapidly declining skills.

Modern "L2" examples: Robin Yount, Carlton Fisk, Dave Winfield, Willie Stargell, Rod Carew, Jim Palmer, Ryne Sandberg, Kirby Puckett, Carl Yastrzemski, Paul Molitor.

Level 3

Reserved for the "No-Doubt-About-It" Hall of Famers ... these guys were undoubtedly the best at their position for years and years, with all the requisite "résumé" stats to match ... unfortunately, there's a distinct, crucial difference between Level 3 and Level 4 (explanation coming).

Modern "L3" examples: Joe Morgan, Ozzie Smith (more on him later), George Brett, Roberto Clemente, Brooks Robinson, Rickey Henderson, Tony Gwynn, Robbie Alomar, Eddie Murray, Greg Maddux (assuming he keeps cruising along), Randy Johnson (ditto), Dennis Eckersley (a unique case, but definitely).

Level 4

These are basically "L3" guys, only there's something just inherently "greater" about them. Some possible indications:

Do you have to consider them in any "best of all-time" discussions?

Did they have transcendent games or memorable moments?

Did they hit 500 homers, get 3,000 hits or win 300 games?

Were they just dominant at times?

Will you always remember watching them play, even when you're 80 years old and peeing on yourself?

Modern "L4" examples: Reggie Jackson, Steve Carlton, Sandy Koufax, Tom Seaver, Bob Gibson, Cal Ripken Jr., Nolan Ryan (a great argument here -- some don't even consider him a Hall of Famer), Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds (maybe even a little low for him, as scary as that sounds), Roger Clemens (it hurts, but it's true).

(Note: Pete Rose should be an "L4 guy," Dwight Gooden should have been an "L4 guy," and Darryl Strawberry could have been an "L4 guy." None of them make it ... although Rose should be here eventually because Ty Cobb's in here, and Rose couldn't have been more of a jerk then Cobb. Also, other than Clemens and Bonds, out of the veterans playing right now, Junior Griffey, Maddux and maybe Randy Johnson have the best shots at Level Four. It's too early to tell about anyone else.)

Level 5

Take a deep breath. Level 5 is the top of the pyramid, literally and figuratively. You can rattle the L5 guys off the top of your head: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Joe DiMaggio, Grover Alexander, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Rogers Hornsby, Stan Musial, Walter Johnson, Cy Young, Christy Mathewson and Honus Wagner.

Sixteen in all. That's it. That's Level 5. The best of the best."


Someone honestly sit there and tell me this is a bad idea. I think it is pure genius and needs to be implemented immediately. The very idea that Pete Rose the man who has more hits in professional baseball than any other man ever is not in the Hall of Fame is laughable. This system would fix many issues with the current HOF and would allow fans to debate endlessly over who belongs on which level.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very informative 2nd part of the draft