The Hall of Fame announces its non-player candidates

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Most of the Hall of Fame arguing this winter will be over Edgar Martinez, Fred McGriff, Barry Larkin and Robby Alomar.  But there are managers and executives to be considered as well:

Twenty former major league managers, umpires and executives will be
considered for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame for
induction in 2010 by two Veterans Committees, with results of a Dec. 6
vote to be announced Dec. 7 at baseball’s Winter Meetings, it was
announced today . . .The 10 managers and umpires eligible for election consideration to the
National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010: managers Charlie Grimm, Whitey
Herzog, Davey Johnson, Tom Kelly, Billy Martin, Gene Mauch, Danny
Murtaugh and Steve O’Neill; umpires Doug Harvey and Hank O’Day.

The 10 executives eligible for election consideration to the
National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010: Gene Autry, Sam Breadon, John
Fetzer, Bob Howsam, Ewing Kauffman, John McHale, Marvin Miller, Gabe
Paul, Jacob Ruppert and Bill White.

Picking managers for the Hall of Fame is an exercise in subjectivity (at least until this book comes out, anyway). Yes, at some point a handful of rings trumps everything else, but how does one really distinguish between Tom Kelly and Davey Johnson?  Between Whitey Herzog and Billy Martin?  I think objective cases can be made for all of those guys, but the “fame” part of “Hall of Fame” may count for more in the case of these guys.  If I had to pick I’d say yes to Herzog and probably Martin and no to the other ones mentioned, but I’ll be honest and say that a lot of that has to do with me simply liking them more than the other candidates.  Your counterarguments are welcome.

As for the executives, it has long been and remains a total disgrace that Marvin Miller is not in the Hall of Fame. Love him or hate him, his impact on baseball is undeniable. After Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson, I’d have a hard time saying anyone did more to revolutionize the game of baseball than did Miller. Maybe Branch Rickey, but that’s about it.  The Veterans’ Committee is still comprised of a ton of old-timers and company men, however, many if not most of whom didn’t receive the benefits — or were cost money directly — by the changes Miller wrought.  I’d like to think people would set aside nearly forty year-old grudges, but I’m not optimistic. And it’s worth mentioning that he doesn’t want to be inducted anyway.

I’ll be at the Winter Meetings this year, however, so at least I’ll get to complain to people about Miller’s exclusion in person.  I’ll be the angry bald guy being escorted out of the convention center by security. 

The other owners and executives don’t impress me all that much.  Great, you were rich enough to buy a team and lived long enough for people to forget that you were a sonofabitch when you were younger. That’s not Hall of Fame worthy in my opinion.

Kris Bryant wants to be Cubs’ player rep, vows to “fight” for next collective bargaining agreement

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Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was one of the most prominent examples of service time manipulation in recent memory. He was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in baseball going into the 2015 season by Baseball America. He then had an incredible spring, batting .425 with a spring-high nine home runs and 15 RBI. The Cubs, however, didn’t add him to the Opening Day roster, instead keeping him in Triple-A for the first two weeks of the season, ensuring the club would get another year of control over Bryant because he wouldn’t accrue enough service time. He made his debut on April 17 and the rest was history. Bryant won the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year Award.

While the MLB Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf, Bryant didn’t say anything. But it was a learning moment for him. The same is true of the past offseason, which Bryant says “opened my eyes,” as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. He now considers labor issues a priority, saying, “I need to study up, have my voice heard, continue to learn, because this is going to affect us for years to come. And I’d be foolish not to kind of offer myself out there.”

As Wittenmyer notes, Bryant hopes to replace Jake Arrieta as the Cubs’ player reprensentative. The players make that decision later this month. Bryant also vowed to fight for the next collective bargaining agreement. He said, “Maybe the focus was on other things rather than some of the more important things. But I think with this next one things are definitely going to change, and there’ll definitely be more fight on our side just because we’re going to get the chance to experience the effects of some of the things we agreed to. The only way to get what you want here is to fight for it. And I think you’re going to see a lot of that.”

It’s good to see Bryant motivated by recent economic developments in baseball. Hopefully more players take his lead and become more informed, arming themselves with all of the tools they need to create a better situation for themselves when the current CBA expires.