Friday, July 20, 2012

An Inner Circle for the Hall of Fame

Graham Womack, an internet friend of mine, is a baseball historian and runs a great blog. In June he created a ballot listing every player enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame and invited anyone who wanted to vote for the 50 players they believe were the very best of the bunch and belonged in an "Inner Circle" of the Hall of Fame. I enjoyed choosing my list of 50 players and eagerly anticipated seeing the final results.

The day balloting closed, a few weeks later, I received a message from Graham, inviting me to contribute to the project by writing 200 words or so about one of the "inductees," Negro League legend Josh Gibson. Graham's previous collaborative project included many writers I greatly admire and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of this effort.

Yesterday afternoon Graham posted the results, with 50 brief essays from dozens of wonderful writers, men and women with far more impressive credentials than I can claim. It is a privilege and an honor to be a part of the project, and to have my name listed along with Graham, Jason Wojciechowski (another internet pal of mine), Rob Neyer (who could be considered the godfather of baseball blogging and whose work I've been reading since 1997), as well as writers from Fangraphs, Baseball Prospectus, The Hardball Times, ESPN.com, Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, and may other great outlets.

I hope you will take the time to click on the link and to look through the players who were chosen and read some of what was said about them (my entry can be found by scrolling down to #34). Please pass this link along to any other baseball fans you know who might enjoy it:

An Inner Circle for the Hall of Fame


2 comments:

  1. Would've been very nteresting to see how those stars of the Negro Leagues compared in their day. By the time Satchel Paige made it, he was already past his prime. Josh Gibson, unfortunately, never got even that chance.

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    1. Paige was still able to pitch well in the Majors when he finally debuted at the age of 41, he had a 2.48 ERA that season. He had a 3.53 ERA in his last full season, at the age of 46, and even pitched 3 shutout innings in a final appearance at the age of 58! I have NO DOUBT Paige would have been among the greatest pitchers in Major League history had he been allowed to play his entire career there. The same is true for Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, Buck Leonard, and the other greats of Negro League Baseball.

      As you say, it is unfortunate that most of those players, including Gibson, didn't get the chance. I hope that as time continues, they will gain in stature, so that children know not just Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, and other white stars of the segregated era, but the great black players as well.

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