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Should Bill James be in the Baseball Hall of Fame?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Pringle, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. Pringle

    Pringle Active Member

    The Hall of Fame is one of James' favorite subjects - and one he's best at writing about ("The Politics of Glory"/"Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?" is a masterpiece).

    I guess James has been stigmatized through the years because of all the unyielding numbers geeks his work has spawned - but he constantly argues for what he calls a "democratic" evaluation of players and statistics, not a toletarian one.

    Anyway, with the BBWAA having the firm grip it does on the selection process, it would be difficult to imagine a non-BBWAA guy, a guy who's never covered a daily beat or worked a clubhouse, getting in. But I guess I would make an exception - James ushered in the objective measuring of player performance, rather than the schmaltzy, romanticized evaluation that had been going on for a century.
  2. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

  3. PopeDirkBenedict

    PopeDirkBenedict Active Member

  4. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    These people say hell no:

  5. busuncle

    busuncle Member

  6. Pringle

    Pringle Active Member

    OK, but do you think he ever will be? Why or why not? (And I'm no "sabermetrician").
  7. PopeDirkBenedict

    PopeDirkBenedict Active Member

    James should be inducted in the pioneer category. While most pioneers are either team or league executives/owners, there is a good comparison to be made between James and Henry Chadwick (although James would probably blanch being compared to a guy who thought that a walk didn't reflect on the hitter). Chadwick was a writer who invented stats like ERA and batting average and created the modern boxscore. He had no official involvement with any team and wrote several books about the game. Whether or not you agree with sabermetrics, it would be myopic to deny its influence on the game. James is the logical descendant of Chadwick.
  8. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    You can argue that in some ways he changed the game, but it's open for much debate whether it's been positive. I don't know that I'd go so far as to say he should be in the HOF.
  9. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Hell, on semantics alone, Bill James himself would tell you that he could never be "in" the Hall of Fame. Writers (and broadcasters, for that matter) cannot be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and cannot be enshrined as Hall of Famers -- only players, managers, umpires and executives can be Hall of Famers and James is none of those (his Red Sox "advisor's" stint notwithstanding.) ... (EDIT: I failed to mention that "pioneers" are eligible as well, and one could argue that James is eligible for that. While his impact on the game as a sabermetric pioneer cannot be understated, I'd still be hesitant to induct him as a Hall of Fame Pioneer. That would set a strange precedent, based on who else is in as a pioneer)

    James could be eligible to be honored with the Spink Award, as Tracy Ringolsby was this year. Talking heads can refer to Peter Gammons and his ilk by some such designation as ESPN's own Hall of Famer Peter Gammons ... but that doesn't make him a Hall of Famer. He's a Spink Award honoree, nothing more. Not to say that's any less of an honor -- but there is a difference (as, IMO, there should be.)

    So my answer, based on that, is: No. Bill James should not "be in the Baseball Hall of Fame." He's not eligible.

    Should he get the Spink Award? Perhaps.

    I would rather propose some kind of Commissioner's Lifetime Achievement/Ambassador's Award, for those unfortunate souls who don't really meet the qualifications to "be" Hall of Famers, but who have served the game with such tremendous passion and devotion that they deserve to be honored somehow.

    The list starts and ends with Buck O'Neil -- who, contrary to popular opinion, does not deserve to "be" a Hall of Famer, either. But he damn sure does deserve something, and that's what a Lifetime Achievement is for. Bill James would absolutely qualify for an honor like this, as well. And that's more fitting for a man of his particular career achievement, not the Spink Award, IMO.
  10. suburbanite

    suburbanite Active Member

    Not before the great NEYER gets in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  11. PopeDirkBenedict

    PopeDirkBenedict Active Member

    If Chadwick, who never held an executive position, can be inducted as a pioneer, why can't James?
  12. buckweaver

    buckweaver Active Member

    Unfortunately, that's like asking "If Chick Hafey can be inducted as a player, why can't Steve Finley?" Hell, Finley's a better player than Hafey, no doubt. But arguing for one man's induction based on who else is already in is a flawed argument, because the standards have changed so much over the years.

    Chadwick -- who you can make a case for -- and Candy Cummings -- who you absolutely cannot -- are two 19th-century "pioneers" who would never get in now, and probably shouldn't be in at all.
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