October 24, 2002

Kile in the Hall?: Darryl Kile will be on the 2003 Hall of Fame ballot. Although he was a great pitcher and his death was tragic, his stats just don't add up to enshrinement among baseballís best. This was a wonderful symbolic gesture, but does Kile deserve to be in the Hall? Or even on the ballot?

posted by Bag Man to baseball at 09:59 AM - 8 comments

No he doesn't. Do you think it's the Cardinals good season that has helped this along? If Scott Erickson had died tragically this season, do you think he'd make the HOF ballot?

posted by pastepotpete at 10:12 AM on October 24

What a terrible idea- I disagree with Clemente as well (being on the ballot immediately, not with his induction itself). Part of the reason for the traditional 5 year wait is to ensure the player is retired and not coming back (obviously not an issue in these cases), but I'd argue it's also to avoid sentimental votes just after a player retires- let a few years pass and some perspective sink in. Darryl Kile has no business in the Hall of Fame; a nice enough guy and a slightly above mediocre pitcher do not a Cooperstown plaque make. We already have enough people in the Hall who don't deserve to be there, and certainly in 5 years you won't see a push by any but the most hardcore St. Louis fans to have him inducted. Anyone who votes for Kile deserves to have their right to vote removed.

posted by hincandenza at 10:18 AM on October 24

You know, he fits the criteria to be placed on the ballot...that's all there is to this story right now. Will he get voted in? Almost definitely not. However, he fits the criteria to get on, so let him on the ballot.

posted by bcb2k2 at 11:37 AM on October 24

He shouldn't be in the Hall or on the ballot. I agree with Hal Incandenza's assessment that part of the five-year waiting period is to allow perspective. Is there a precedent for making an exception to the waiting period?

posted by kirkaracha at 12:49 PM on October 24

bcb2k2 is correct- he technically is allowed to be on the ballot (and actually, any player eligible is 'on the ballot'- we just don't discuss those players who have no chance but are at their "5-years-past-retirement" point). What I'm saying that the exception for players who pass away during their careers is pointless and a bad idea- the player is dead, so it's not like you're talking about rushing a Willie Mays or Ted Williams to the induction ceremony before they pass away from a terminal illness. If Kile had died 1 month after announcing his retirement, they wouldn't have this exception, so the only thing this exception allows is for the possibility of cheap sentimental votes when the ballot is formed relatively soon after a player's death. kirkaracha- the article notes that Clemente got this exception, although I disagree with it in that situation as well. The one thing you can say is that Clemente had already enjoyed a long career including the 3,000 hit milestone and was pretty much a Hall-of-Famer at that point anyway, much like we speak about Roger Clemens or Randy Johnson or Barry Bonds etc. These folks are playing out the denouement of already fantastic careers; if they walked off the field right now (okay, excepting Bonds- today would be a terrible day to choose to retire :) ) they'd be in the Hall in 5 years, guaranteed, so the wait is more a formality than anything else. The point of the waiting period, in my mind, is never for Barry Bonds but specifically for guys like Darryl Kile or Albert Belle or even Kirby Puckett- guys whose careers weren't absolutely, indisputably, HOF open and shut cases yet. If Bonds died this November, I'd still say you should have the 5- year- waiting period, but I wouldn't be too perturbed if he bypassed it- there's zero chance Bonds isn't voted in to the HOF on the first ballot he's on with what he's done so far. We have a waiting period because in the heat of the moment, in grieving periods, or with a media hullaballoo about a player's "character" or a "tragedy", it's too easy to have someone get in undeservingly, or to not make clear the distinction between simply a nice fellow and someone who is one of the greatest players of their generation. It might seem like a nice gesture now, but in 5 years we'd be asking why Darryl Kile is sharing the same wall with Babe Ruth. Not that I think Kile will be elected- but even having this exception opens the possibility of what I like to call the "Rizzuto Clause", whereby a player with no business even holding Hank Aaron's jockstrap somehow gets into the Hall because his teammates liked him.

posted by hincandenza at 01:09 PM on October 24

Just another example of unfitting tributes made by people who are trying to overdo it to make themselves look more sympathetic. That's probably an overstatement but I'm in a bad mood today :( Anyway, it's kind of dumb but I don't have a problem with it, but it probably will earn him some sympathy votes which are totally undeserved. I mean, I liked Kile and was very upset when I heard the news but noone in their right mind could possibly think he was a Hall of Famer... but everyone deserves to be on the ballot, and so putting him on early just means he'll slide off it sooner.

posted by Bernreuther at 01:21 PM on October 24

Not to fall too far into this: "Just another example of unfitting tributes made by people who are trying to overdo it to make themselves look more sympathetic." , but isn't there some way that Cooperstown could put in a room with small memorials for players who died during their careers. It'd be a fitting tribute, but wouldn't taint the status of being a "Hall-of-Famer" the way that Kile's prospective entry into the Hall would.

posted by Ufez Jones at 02:05 PM on October 24

any player eligible is 'on the ballot'- we just don't discuss those players who have no chance but are at their "5-years-past-retirement" point Not true. Here are the rules according to the HOF itself: Eligible Candidates ó Candidates to be eligible must meet the following requirements:

  1. A baseball player must have been active as a player in the Major Leagues at some time during a period beginning twenty (20) years before and ending five (5) years prior to election.
  2. Player must have played in each of ten (10) Major League championship seasons, some part of which must have been within the period described in (1).
  3. Player shall have ceased to be an active player in the Major Leagues at least five (5) calendar years preceding the election but may be otherwise connected with baseball.
  4. In case of the death of an active player or a player who has been retired for less than five (5) full years, a candidate who is otherwise eligible shall be eligible in the next regular election held at least six (6) months after the date of death or after the end of the five (5) year period, whichever occurs first.
  5. Any player on Baseball's ineligible list shall not be an eligible candidate.
It sounds like (according to rules 2 and 4) that Kile is automatically eligible for the HOF ballot. It's isn't a step around the rules in any way. If the election is 6 months after Kile's death (after playing 11+ seasons), then he's automatically eligible for the ballot. It's going to be close as his death was back in late June and the ballots go out in January at some time. It's up to the screening committee to decide if he should be one of the 25 to 30 players listed on the ballot sent out in January 2003. But in the end, he is eligible right now (if it is 6 months after the death when the vote is to take place). And no, I don't think he should be able to go into the Hall of Fame. He doesn't even come close to being HOF material.

posted by grum@work at 02:19 PM on October 24

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