FanDuel - WFBC

June 30, 2008

First Class?:
Excellent baseball writer Joe Posnanski proposes a question:
"If you could start over, who would make up your Hall of Fame first class?"

posted by grum@work to baseball at 07:55 AM - 14 comments

Based on the options in the poll given at the bottom of the article, I chose: Ruth Bonds Williams Gibson Wagner Josh Gibson is the pick I feel least comfortable with, but I've recently read too many accounts from too many people with too much expertise on the matter about how dominating a hitter Gibson was during his time. When people start making comments about how he was "as good as Ruth", and he's a catcher? You start to pay attention.

posted by grum@work at 08:01 AM on June 30

Ruth Mays Clemente Williams Gehrig Didn't include any pitchers, but my 6th choice would have been Seaver.

posted by giveuptheghost at 09:12 AM on June 30

I actually think they got it right the first time.

posted by freeze_over98 at 09:19 AM on June 30

Robinson Williams Mays Bonds Ruth

posted by bperk at 09:29 AM on June 30

I actually think they got it right the first time. If anyone didn't already look it up, here is the original "first class": Ty Cobb Babe Ruth Honus Wagner Christy Mathewson Walter Johnson

posted by grum@work at 09:57 AM on June 30

Yeah, gotta say that real first class is pretty air tight.

posted by Chargdres at 11:15 AM on June 30

The first class got it right.

posted by Steel_Town at 01:12 PM on June 30

Pete Rose Stan Musial Ty Cobb Babe Ruth Cy Young How can you not have the top 3 hits leader and #1 pitcher in wins and the Bambino's season and home run totals held up for years, also he wasn't too bad of a pitcher

posted by m8nsman at 01:20 PM on June 30

The first class as it stood is perfectly fine, though if you wanted to take out Mathewson and/or Wagner and put in Gibson and/or Cool Papa Bell, I would have no problem whatsoever with that either.

posted by chicobangs at 01:27 PM on June 30

Well, an odd argument because I don't think you could pick "just 5" from that list of even 15. Maybe a first class of 12: 8 position players and 4 pitchers, so you don't have to choose between the greatest shortstop that ever lived and the greatest centerfielder that ever lived, etc. Heck, even mentioning Maddux without mentioning contemporaries Johnson and Clemens (although Pedro had a mention in his non-ballot list) is silly, since none of the 3 are more or less deserving. His list of 15 has only 4 names that I think couldn't be argued to be deserving in the "first class": DiMaggio and Mantle, who weren't as good as Mays; Robinson purely for baseball only, since Ruth and Robinson were the two most significant players in baseball history; and Gibson who simply never played an ML game. Every other player on that list is either the absolute best at their position all-time or holds insanely daunting stats. I do think Bill Simmons' approach is one that simply has to be adopted eventually: have a tiered, pyramid/cone shaped Hall of Fame, where you walk up a sloping spiral like in the Guggenheim and the lowest levels contain the edge cases like Phil Rizzuto et al, while the higher you go the more "sure" you are until you reach the last room at the top, with plaques of guys like Ruth, Williams, etc. In the first ballot, people can be voted in to the first level or higher, but first level balloting gets you in as a "hall of famer" even if you aren't literally on the same level as Hank Aaron.

posted by hincandenza at 01:50 PM on June 30

The first class is rock solid. I'd include Bonds and Williams over Matthewson and Cobb however.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 02:15 PM on June 30

Hal's right about at least 13 out of that list of 15 (sorry, Robinson and Gibson are beyond cavil) being 100% and inarguable. Pick any five and dare someone to argue with you about your choices. It's not even subjective, it's where your eyes fall.

posted by chicobangs at 02:21 PM on June 30

Pete Rose Stan Musial Ty Cobb Babe Ruth Cy Young How can you not have the top 3 hits leader and #1 pitcher in wins and the Bambino's season and home run totals held up for years, also he wasn't too bad of a pitcher It's quite easy to pass up Pete Rose. His record is simply a factor of longevity. He stopped being a useful 1B/OF around 1982, but still managed to play another 5 seasons (some of which he managed and put himself in games when better options were available). If he wasn't stumbling towards the hits record, he wouldn't have played the last 4 years of his career. Even when he was getting hits, they were mostly just slap singles. He hit double-digit home runs just ONCE in the last FIFTEEN seasons of his career. He holds a record, but that doesn't make him even CLOSE to one of the best of all time. I do think Bill Simmons' approach is one that simply has to be adopted eventually: have a tiered, pyramid/cone shaped Hall of Fame, where you walk up a sloping spiral like in the Guggenheim and the lowest levels contain the edge cases like Phil Rizzuto et al, while the higher you go the more "sure" you are until you reach the last room at the top, with plaques of guys like Ruth, Williams, etc. The last couple of spirals would be an interesting debate. When guys like Musial, Schmidt, Berra and Morgan don't make it to the last ring, you'll definitely have controversy. Over at Baseball Think Factory, they have something called the "Hall of Merit", where they have finished voting on all the players available for the Hall of Fame (on a year-by-year basis, so only players eligible in 1945 could be voted for in 1945, for example). Since they've finished the yearly voting (there is an interesting mix of HOM players who aren't in the HOF (like Rose and Jackson) and HOF players who aren't in the HOM (like Maranville)), they are starting to try and "tier" the players by position.

posted by grum@work at 02:24 PM on June 30

If the '19 Black Sox were made eligible for the Hall, right now, would you put any of them in? I just finished reading the very enjoyable Crazy 08 and now have a respect for Christy Mathewson that verges on awe. Even though he was one of those dastardly Giants (sez this Cubs fan).

posted by NoMich at 03:15 PM on July 01

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