Tag Archives: National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Baseball Writers ~ Who Cuts the Mustard and Who Cares?

This week the Baseball Writers Association of America has been in the news.  It’s been in the news a lot.   For only the second time in its history the Association has failed to name one eligible baseball player worthy of entering the Hall of Fame.  

So I’m pondering this little ditty thinking about Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens and their alleged partaking of performance enhancing drugs, and thinking about the BBWAA.  Who are these people?  What are their credentials?  Why does it matter what they think?   When I read their membership list I’m surprised that I only recognize a couple dozen or so names.  Most of the names that would have been at the top of my favorite baseball writers list aren’t even listed as members of  this association.  

The primary purpose of the BBWAA  is to assure clubhouse and press-box access, and to elect players to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  That’s it, at least according to Wikipedia.  All writers with 10 years membership in the BBWAA are eligible to vote for the Hall of Fame.   It was founded in 1908 and as far as the baseball world is concerned, the sun rises and sets with this organization, and my question is “why”?

I compiled a list of  a few of my favorite baseball writers and tried to give a reason why, though sometimes it’s not apparent even to me.   These are good writers because what they write makes me want to read more, even after I’ve finished reading their articles.   Note that none of these have BBWAA associated with their names.  They might be a member, but it’s not known to me and honestly I could care less whether they’re a member or not.  

JON STEINER.  I discovered Jon back in April, 2011, while researching a piece I was doing on the Cleveland Indians and the lack of attendance at their beautiful ballpark.   His blog, “Waiting for Next Year” was written like I talk so it was an easy read and I was sorry when it ended.  I don’t know a thing about this guy, just that I’d buy his book if I ever found out he wrote one.   Here’s the April 5, 2011 article that made Jon the ultimate writer in my mind.  “Some Thoughts on the Indians’ Record Setting Attendance.” 

ALEX PAVLOVIC.  I’ve been following this writer for the past several years as he stood in the shadows of Andrew Baggarly at the San Jose Mercury News.  When Baggs left last year to join the ComCast News Group, Alex stepped up big-time.   I like writers who are  up-front, in your face, and don’t try to sugar coat interviews and the news.  You know, just put it out there and let me decide what my opinion is about the subject.   That’s what this guy’s about.  He writes a blog, “Giants Extra“, that I read on a regular basis and always look forward to his meanderings. 

BRYAN O’CONNOR.  My acquaintance with Bryan began when he made some astute comments on one of my blogs a few years ago, so I checked him out and my mind’s still whirling.  His blog is “Replacement Level Baseball” and I’m not sure why he doesn’t write professionally for the main stream media, but goodie for us that he doesn’t.  It gives him more time to overwhelm us with his baseball knowledge.  Warning:  He’s a Bill James sabremetrics fan and goes way over my head on occasion.   But here’s a recent analysis of his personal “Hall of Fame Ballot” vote, if he had one, that was especially entertaining.   

JONATHAN HACOHEN.  But of course Jonathan’s one of my favorite writers.  He was very generous with his review of my book “Garlic Fries and Baseball” and I’ve been reeling ever since.  But before the review I had already subscribed to “MLB Reports” that Jonathan founded in 2010.  He’s been writing baseball for over twenty years and if he had a specialty I’d have to say it was his in-depth interviews, done only as he can do them.  His website is growing leaps and bounds and I rather miss that he doesn’t personally write as often now, but I latch onto whatever he does write as soon as it’s posted to my “Inbox”.  

CRAIG CALCATERRA.   I really hate to admit that I like this guy’s writings so much because, to tell you the truth,  a lot of what he writes irritates the socks off me.   I rarely agree with anything he says.  But it’s the way in which he says it that kind of grabs you, hooks you and draws you in.   Usually when I read one of his articles I find myself running to Wikipedia or other resource material just so I can prove him wrong, which I rarely do, because most of what he writes is opinion as he’s quick to point out.  Craig writes for NBC Sports HardBall Talk  and I guess the reason he’s on my favorite baseball writers list is because, whether we agree or not,  I always look forward to reading whatever little morsel he decides to throw my way for the day.

HENRY SCHULMAN.   Hank Schulman writes “The Splash” for the San Francisco Chronicle.  He’s a full-fledged newspaperman, sports reporter and columnist, with sports jacket and everything.  When he starts off with “I just talked with Bruce Bochy “or whoever it might be that morning, it grabs my attention and I latch on to every word.  He’s that “if it’s written it’s real”  type of writer.   He’s one of those guys you’d most like to have dinner with, have a conversation with.  You know what I mean.  There’s a thousand stories in there somewhere and I’d like to hear them all.  But in the meantime I’m content with reading the morning paper with my morning coffee and telling my hubby, “Guess what Hank Schulman said today?”  My husband gets it. 

Baseball writers each have their own style of writing; some you like and some you don’t.  And that’s okay.   This year the BBWAA decided to make the Hall of Fame vote into a popularity contest and that’s okay too.  I mean if they want to tell us which players cut the mustard and which ones don’t, who the hell cares? 

Really, who cares, because baseball fans have always made up their own mind on this type of thing and, after all, in the court of public opinion, isn’t that what really matters?

UPDATE:  “Get the Media out of the Honoring Business” New York Times 1/15/13   http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/11/get-the-media-out-of-the-honoring-business/?smid=fb-share

“Who’s On First” ….. Classic Baseball Video

I intended to blog about the Texas Rangers job opening for an “accountability partner” for Josh Hamilton but had second thoughts.  It seems a little heartless to  talk about it, maybe even a little sad, so when I found this little ditty out there in YouTube land it was an easy change-over.  This is light-hearted good stuff!

So in case you’ve never seen it and even if you have here’s a wonderful version of one of Abbott & Costello’s finest routines.  Abbott and Costello performed this classic “Who’s on first?” baseball sketch in their 1945 film “The Naughty Nineties” first performed as part of their stage act.   This video now plays continuously on screens at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

In 1999, Time Magazine named the routine the “Best Comedy Sketch of the 20th century.    And who’s to argue with them?   No matter how many times I’ve seen it, it’s a classic that never gets old.

You can read all about it at Wikipedia, but not on Wednesday, January 21, as they’re having a “black-out” to protest the Freedom of Information Act being proposed in Congress.

“Who’s on First”  YouTube Video courtesy of, and uploaded by, on Feb 16, 2007.

Veterans in the Baseball Hall of Fame …..God Bless America!

I’m currently on vacation in Central America but didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to salute our Veterans, and especially those Veterans who were named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.   We know that freedom isn’t free and we’re privileged to honor all Veterans everywhere, on this your special day!Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans

Listed below in alphabetical order by conflict are members / inductees (including non-players) of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown who are officially classified as Veterans – each having served in the United States Armed Services during wartime.

 

  “But the mainstay of the big leagues was the reservoir of 4-Fs – males of draft age who had been rejected on physical grounds by the Armed Forces. Not since harem attendants had gone out of style were men’s physical deficiencies so highly prized. Ulcers, hearing defects, and torn cartilages were coveted by team owners.” – Frank Graham, Jr. in Farewell to Heroes (1981)

 

 
Hall Of Fame Veterans Members Who Served in the U.S. Armed Forces
Name [Link to Stats] Branch of the Service
The Civil War
Morgan Bulkeley United States Army
World War I
Grover Alexander (bio) United States Army
Happy Chandler United States Army
Oscar Charleston United States Army
Ty Cobb United States Army
Eddie Collins United States Marines
Jocko Conlan United States Navy
Red Faber United States Navy
Warren Giles United States Army
Burleigh Grimes United States Navy
Harry Heilmann United States Navy
Waite Hoyt United States Army
George Kelly United States Army
Larry MacPhail United States Army
Rabbit Maranville United States Navy
Rube Marquard United States Navy
Christy Mathewson United States Army
Herb Pennock United States Navy
Sam Rice United States Army
Branch Rickey United States Army
Eppa Rixey United States Army
Bullet Rogan United States Army
Joe Sewell United States Army
George Sisler United States Army
Tris Speaker United States Navy
Casey Stengel United States Navy
World War II
Luke Appling (bio) United States Army
Al Barlick United States Coast Guard
Yogi Berra United States Navy
Nestor Chylak United States Army
Mickey Cochrane United States Navy
Leon Day United States Army
Bill Dickey United States Navy
Joe DiMaggio United States Army
Larry Doby United States Navy
Bobby Doerr United States Army
Bob Feller United States Navy
Charlie Gehringer United States Navy
Hank Greenberg United States Army
Billy Herman United States Navy
Monte Irvin United States Army
Ralph Kiner United States Navy
Bob Lemon United States Navy
Ted Lyons United States Marines
Larry MacPhail United States Army
Lee MacPhail United States Navy
Johnny Mize United States Navy
Stan Musial United States Navy
Pee Wee Reese United States Navy
Phil Rizzuto United States Navy
Robin Roberts United States Army
Jackie Robinson United States Army
Red Ruffing United States Army
Red Schoendienst United States Army
Enos Slaughter United States Army
Duke Snider United States Navy
Warren Spahn United States Army
Bill Veeck United States Marines
Ted Williams United States Marines
Early Wynn United States Army
Korean War
Ernie Banks United States Army
Whitey Ford United States Army
Eddie Mathews United States Navy
Willie Mays United States Army
Ted Williams United States Marines
Name [Link to Stats] Branch of the Service