Read Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame? Baseball, Cooperstown, and the Politics of Glory by Bill James Free Online
Book Title: Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame? Baseball, Cooperstown, and the Politics of Glory|
The author of the book: Bill James
ISBN 13: 9780684800882
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 324 KB
Edition: Free Press
Date of issue: April 6th 1995
Read full description of the books:Whatever happened to the Hall of Fame? According to Bill James, not much. Essentially, the Hall of Fame is the same as it ever was--a foggy, undefined collection of players, many whom deserve recognition, and many whom coasted in due to politics, cronyism, or the simple fact that they outlived their better contemporaries (I'm lookin' at you, Rizzuto!)
Bill James always comes off as a bit of a pedantic dick, but it works here, as he truly knows what he's talking about, and he has the knowledge to back up what he's saying with facts instead of opinion.
The book itself tries (and largely succeeds) to define what makes a true "hall of famer." There are a number of different statistics and methods used by James, who essentially argues that all must be taken into account when determining whether someone is worthy of the honor.
Bill James' methods are so good, in fact, that at one point he predicts HOF elections (BBWAA choices, not Veterans Committee choices) for the next 25 years (from '95 through '19), and his predictions are frighteningly good: Of the 50 men he predicts, 26 have already been elected. One incorrect guess is Pete Rose (James incorrectly guessed that Rose would be reinstated and admitted--something that didn't happen.) He also predicted that players such as Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds would be admitted--obviously in question now, given what we know of their "enhancements" (though not impossible). The other players he predicted would be in that are not are Steve Garvey, Al Oliver, Dave Parker, Jim Kaat, Ted Simmons, Dale Murphy, Jack Morris, Lee Smith, Tim Raines, Joe Carter, Brett Butler, David Cone, Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Jack McDowell, Fred McGriff, Don Mattingly, Dwight Gooden, Ruben Sierra, Ken Griffey, Jeff Bagwell, and Juan Gonzalez. At least one of those players--Griffey--is a sure thing when he becomes eligible in 2016. Many of the others (Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Alan Trammell, Fred McGriff, Lee Smith) have been garnering votes, but not enough to be enshrined (although Bagwell and Raines appear to be possibilities). Some others (including Trammell, Mattingly, and Jack Morris) will likely come in as Veterans Committee selections.
As far as his correct predictions, sure he had a couple of years incorrect. He predicted Don Sutton would be elected in '96, but that didn't happen until '98. He said Yount would be elected in 2000, but that honor occurred in '99. He predicted Dawson would be elected in 2001 an Sandberg would be elected in 2010, but the Hawk wasn't in until 2010, and the Ryno came in much earlier, in '05. Some people James assumed would have a longer playing career--he must have assumed Kirby Puckett would not have retired until about 2003, as he predicted Kirby's induction occurring in '08. Or course, Kirby only played one more year after the publication of James' book.
Still, that's some pretty impressive guess work.
(It's interesting to see who was elected that was not predicted by James. That list includes only Tony Perez (in 2000), Bruce Sutter (in 2006), Bert Blyleven (in 2011), Barry Larkin (in 2012), Tom Glavine (in 2014), Craig Biggeio, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz (all in 2015). Mostly pitchers, which is interesting.)
Although hundreds of players are discussed at length, the book uses primarily two when examining hall of fame worthiness--Don Drysdale and Phil Rizzuto--both "bubble" candidates who eventually found their way into Cooperstown.
But did they deserve the honor? I must say, James is a very persuasive pedantic dick. After reading the book, my determination (along with James's) is that in no way is Don Drysdale a worthy candidate. Rizzuto--maybe it's arguable, but he is very, very low on the qualifications.
So persuasive is James, in fact, that I have personally re-evaluated my beliefs regarding whether Pete Rose and Joe Jackson belong in Cooperstown. No way in hell, I now think.
Of course, my favorite part of the book--likely the favorite part for all Cubs fans--is James' assertion that if he were running the HOF, his FIRST act would be to enshrine Ron Santo.
Read information about the authorGeorge William “Bill” James (born October 5, 1949, in Holton, Kansas) is a baseball writer, historian, and statistician whose work has been widely influential. Since 1977, James has written more than two dozen books devoted to baseball history and statistics. His approach, which he termed sabermetrics in reference to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), scientifically analyzes and studies baseball, often through the use of statistical data, in an attempt to determine why teams win and lose. His Baseball Abstract books in the 1980s are the modern predecessor to websites using sabermetrics such as Baseball Prospectus and Baseball Primer (now Baseball Think Factory).
In 2006, Time named him in the Time 100 as one of the most influential people in the world. He is currently a Senior Advisor on Baseball Operations for the Boston Red Sox. In 2010, Bill James was inducted into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame.
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