I’ve written a lot about the Hall of Fame and my personal Hall on this site. My first pass at a “personal Hall of Fame” was smaller than the actual Hall yielding 174 players compared to the Hall’s 208. My Hall was roughly 17% smaller. I see the appeal to a smaller Hall of Fame but I also realize that no such thing actually exists, in any sport.
If the Hall of Fame was real small, say around 100 players deep, it would likely go out of business. It’s good for the Hall to have a steady flow of players going in. Plus a bigger Hall makes exercises like this a lot more fun.
So I wondered what if the Hall was bigger instead of smaller. My second pass at a personal Hall had 263 major league players in it. That’s an increase of 21%. I prefer that bigger Hall to the actual Hall, however, it always felt too inclusive for me.
So what’s the right number? I think the best number for my personal Hall of Fame is 208. The same number represented by the actual Hall. That doesn’t mean I think the Hall is perfect, far from it. I still removed 62 players who are enshrined in the actual Hall while making my personal Hall. However, I added 62 players as well.
I’m a big Hall guy, and the actual Hall is plenty big. The 208 number allows room for the all-time greats (Ruth, Williams, Mays, Aaron,) a second tier of obvious Hall of Famers (Jackson, Carlton, Palmer, Gwynn), and a significant third group of accomplished but borderline players (Sutton, Aparicio, Puckett, Medwick) as well. That’s what the Hall should be. Ideally, there would be no mistakes. Tier 1 & 2 players cruise in, and we debate about the borderline guys.
Unfortunately, that’s not what the Hall is.
The Hall is littered with mistakes, several inductees fall well below any reasonable borderline, it’s plagued by inconsistent admission standards, an unnecessary character clause, and an out of date voting process. All of those things allow players like Tommy McCarthy, Lloyd Waner, Rabbit Maranville, Catfish Hunter, and Jesse Haines to gain induction while deserving players who meet or exceed Hall of Fame standards are denied.
So, my personal Hall of Fame has no character clause, I tried to represent every era and position fairly, or as close to fair as I could reasonably get. I noticed I favor modern players, players who started their career after MLB integrated in 1947. When deciding between two comparable borderline players, I often gave the modern player the edge. That’s perhaps unfair but I’m satisfied with that methodology and the results it yielded.
Here is a look at the 45 position players I removed from the Hall.
Some of these players were tough omissions, others clear cut mistakes. Either way I think the Hall is better off without them.
Here are the 45 position players I added to my personal Hall of Fame.
Players highlighted in green are still on the actual Hall of Fame ballot, players in grey have fallen off it entirely.
Here are the 17 pitchers I removed from the Hall.
And here are the 17 pitchers I added.
Put it all together and my Hall of Fame looks like this:
The position breakdown looks like this:
A breakdown by decades represented.
1870s- 9 players
1880s- 9 new players/18 total
1890s- 17 new players/34 total
1900s- 13 new players/34 total
1910s- 11 new players/36 total
1920s- 16 new players/34 total
1930s- 15 new players/40 total
1940s- 12 new players/39 total
1950s- 20 new players/42 total
1960s- 33 new players/61 total
1970s- 25 new players/73 total
1980s- 25 new players/76 total
1990s- 3 new players/50 total
2000s- 27 players
This decade breakdown isn’t perfect as it includes players even if they just played one year or even just a handful of games in that decade. For example Ted Williams is counted in the 30s (debuted in 39), the 40s, the 50s, and the 60s (retired 60). Carlton Fisk is counted in the 60s even though he played in only two games in 1969. Again not perfect, but you get the basic idea as to how each generation is represented here.
My first personal Hall felt too small, the second too big, this one feels just right. Going forward my Hall will reflect the size of the actual Hall of Fame. As the Hall of Fame grows so will my personal Hall. If the Hall adds two new members this year, my Hall will have 210 enshrined in it. This means the very borderline players in my Hall will likely get cut as the years go on, and I’m okay with that.
Looking at the newcomers on this year’s ballot, Maddux, Glavine, Thomas, and Mussina will all make my personal Hall. So, if the BBWAA posts another shutout (they won’t Maddux is a lock), I’ll be adding them in and removing four players. Gooden, Hershiser, Guidry, and Wood are likely my next four out.
That’s my 208. This is my personal Hall of Fame. What’s yours?
One other note, since my personal Hall of Fame focuses only on players enshrined for their MLB playing careers, I’ve omitted the many great Negro League stars from the lists above. Not that I would actually omit them from my personal Hall, Josh Gibson is just as deserving of enshrinement as Yogi Berra. There just isn’t enough statistical data available from the Negro Leagues to accurately compare those players to those who were playing in MLB. I don’t feel comfortable adding or subtracting any Negro League players to my Hall because I don’t feel informed enough on the subject to do so. I encourage you to visit the websites for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame to find out more about the many great players who starred in the Negro Leagues and help make the game what it is today.
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