Phillies great Richie Ashburn died in 1997. Until now he has been resting in peace. Some, as Victor Fiorillo of the Philly Post repots, are worried that won’t be the case for long:
His family buried him in the cemetery outside of Gladwyne Methodist Church, where all was quiet until some developers announced plans to turn the church into condos and put a parking lot next to the cemetery. Ashburn’s widow, Herberta, is calling foul.
It’s a story about suburban development, really, and the specifics of all of that kind of thing are always murky and complicated and not all of them are explained too well in the linked story. But it’s interesting anyway.
As are humanity’s customs about how we handle the dead. Sorry if it’s morbid, but I’m fascinated by that stuff. Personally I want to be cremated. Or shot into space or something. But I think more people are pro-burial. Makes me wonder what’ll happen as the land fills up with condos and strip malls and stuff. There’s a lot of room in South Dakota, but I don’t feel like anyone wants to go visit grandpa’s grave there.
Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera deservingly became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously, receiving votes from all 425 writers who submitted ballots. Previously, the closest players to unanimous induction were Ken Griffey, Jr. (99.32% in 2016), Tom Seaver (98.84% in 1992), Nolan Ryan (98.79% in 1999), Cal Ripken, Jr. (98.53%), Ty Cobb (98.23% in 1936), and George Brett (98.19% in 1999).
Because so many greats were not enshrined in Cooperstown unanimously, many voters in the past argued against other players getting inducted unanimously, withholding their votes for otherwise deserving players. That Griffey — both one of the greatest outfielders of all time and one of the most popular players of all time — wasn’t voted in unanimously in 2016, for example, seemed to signal that no player ever would. Now that Rivera has been, this tired argument about voting unanimity can be laid to rest.
Derek Jeter will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year. He may become the second player ever to be elected unanimously. David Ortiz appears on the 2022 ballot and could be No. 3. Now that Rivera has broken through, these are possibilities whereas before they might not have been.
Another tired argument around Hall of Fame voting concerns whether or not a player is a “first ballot” Hall of Famer. Some voters think getting enshrined in a player’s first year of eligibility is a greater honor than getting in any subsequent year. I’m not sure what it will take to get rid of this argument — other than the electorate getting younger and more open-minded — but at least we have made progress on at least one bad Hall of Fame take.