Monday, December 28, 2009

Hall of Fame

The UPA announced the latest class for the Ultimate Hall of Fame. Before we get to the main course, I wanted to express disappointment that for the third straight year, less than the maximum number (five) were elected. I think it's time to rethink the logistics of the final vote. Currently, the voters select up to five names from the Slate of Eight and the top five that get at least 60% of the votes are inducted.

Disclaimer: I was on the HoF Committee from 2005-2007, mostly because I was interested in the logistics and there was a vast shortage of people who were willing and available to do the work. I was the liaison for the Open Peer Review group, and cast my vote according to the voice of the reviewers. I have gotten to know some of the voters a little, and my impression is that they care a lot about spirit and character, but none could be characterized as "spirit zealots".

Any issues that arise are due to it being such a difficult process to come up with a Hall of Fame, especially in a sport like ultimate with no stats and no extensive media coverage. Players are spread out over time and geography but are asked to review all prospective candidates. One of the players inducted this year had his peak in around 1975, but 44 year olds are also eligible for the Hall. And in the old days, fewer teams made Nationals or made cross-country trips, so it would be harder to evaluate players from other regions.
There is also an issue, in my mind,
On rsd, jacob tried to bring a discussion to the discussion when he wrote:
"The only issues are:
1) Should the leader of the best team of all time be excluded (even
temporarily) from the hall of fame if he demonstrated poor enough
2) If the answer to question # 1 is "yes," then was Kenny Dobyns' sotg
poor enough to warrant exclusion? "

This, of course, was followed by poorly-spelled diatribes on refereez and dischoops, and one whiny "of course Kenny was great, I knew him myself" supporter.

But these are exactly the questions to ask, and they can really be extended to the second best player on the third best team who was kind of a cheater but an otherwise nice guy, or whatever.

Despite him being a prick and a petty, bitter little man, I would have expected Kenny to sail in the first time he was under consideration. Gewirtz, him I thought would be the poster child for how big of a jerk you could be and not get elected.

(Regarding "jerk", I don't think it's simply a matter of whether someone was an ass. Some of my best friends are jerks, but that shouldn't be held against them here. If a baseball player doesn't speak to the media, that should have zero bearing on his HoF worthiness. If his surliness made him a bad teammate and caused him teams to underperform, maybe you count that. In ultimate, how much did a player's jerkiness affect the fairness of the contest?)

I guess there is a vaguely similar issue with the baseball HoF. Barry Bonds was an inner-circle HoFer before he ever took steroids. Rafael Palmeiro is a bordeline HoFer even with steriods (he has the career value no doubt, but is a little low on peak value). Mark McGwire has a solid HoF career and had some star years before steroids, but would it have been enough without steroids? (I'm assuming that taking steroids is neither automatic grounds for dismissal nor completely irrelevant, but instead is something that should be taken into account.)

I saw one especially good quote from a baseball writer. "Dock them slightly for character issues if you must, but ... if, 20 or 30 years from now we have a Hall of Fame that doesn’t include the undeniably best players of their time, you have a pretty useless and irrelevant Hall of Fame."

Other issues, besides there not being enough inductees each year:
1. "Era". One of the guys elected this year had his peak in about 1980, others under consideration were still building their cases well into the 1990s. The eligibility was based on age, not years after retirement since you can always keep playing, but we are mixing together players from a lot of eras. I know the peer groups might be trying to address this, but it seems to be inconsistent with how it's applied.
2. Women. Only one was put forth on the Slate of Eight this year. The women who were recently elected played significantly later than the guys who have appeared on the ballot or were elected. Again, I don't know what the right answer is, but there is an inconsistency.
3. Public discussion. The UPA did put out a call soliciting comments on the Slate of Eight, and those comments were reviewed by the final voters before making their decision. But there ought to be a public discussion group somewhere, not that it would be required reading for the voters, but so that things can be discussed logically and coolly (as least as much as this is possible on the Internet). Some baseball website created a Hall of Merit akin to the Hall of Fame, and they have discussions on all prospective candidates.



Phil Price said...

That baseball writer's comment is a good one (even with the you/we inconsistency), so I'll repeat it: "Dock them slightly for character issues if you must, but ... if, 20 or 30 years from now we have a Hall of Fame that doesn’t include the undeniably best players of their time, you have a pretty useless and irrelevant Hall of Fame."

Dobyns should definitely be in, and I agree, should have sailed through easily. He was, by pretty much all accounts, one of the best players of his time. I think this is true even if you just consider his play on the field, but you also have to consider his ability to motivate his team in games and (more important) in practice, and to provide a strong vision for the conduct of the team. (For instance, for a few years with NYNY, Cribber was a great player; as soon as Dobyns stopped holding his leash, Cribber's lack of disciplined decision-making diminished his value noticeably.) Pity about his personality, but whaddyagonnado?

Paul P said...

Ty Cobb.

Anonymous said...

the thing about the baseball hof is that, according to one "sports reporter" anyways, a guy like randy johnson who was a complete asshole to the media (and kinda a dick to his peers as well) gets MORE credentials for being the intimadator he was on the mound. and aside from his glorious stats, this particular "sports reporter", felt that he should get into the hall based on that "fear factor" alone. I guess its just shows how pussified ultimate really is.

and jim, how can you say there were no spirit zealots on that committee? werent YOU on it? moons is a sz. and that tk guy.....isnt he the one that infected ultimate with that new games "sotg" shit in the first place?

parinella said...

Can you define "spirit zealot"? I know we've both used that term on rsd, but I wouldn't really consider myself one, but I'd like to see what you think is one.

Ty Cobb was a ruffian, no doubt. He even went into the stands to fight a fan, I think. Baseball was a rougher game back then, though. What were the standards of the time?

Juan Marichal hit an opponent with a bat, and Roberto Alomar spit on an umpire, and both of those got lower vote totals than otherwise deserved.

Anonymous said...

to me a spirit zealot is someone thats opposed to referees in a sport due to some kind of associated "spiritual" overriding theme. whats your definition of one? or, better yet, what would you "call" someone thats opposed to refs in a sport for those reasons?......or for whatever reason you oppose them yourself in ultimate?? i mean i know i've read where youve said sotg is THE most imp[ortant part of the sport.......then ive also read where you say its "winning" too????????

as for standards.....i dont think anyone uses NEAR the same "character" standards for hof requirements as ultimate. so i guess ultimate just has pussified standards. so it really has nuthin to do with the "time/era" as much as the sport itself.

but for you to think that you can project alomars' and marichals' low vote totals for hof to some kind of character/anger issues is COMPLETELY LAUGHABLE......and just further proves your zealotry towards that which is spiritual.

parinella said...

It's not me that came up with the reasons for Marichal and Alomar. From Marichal's wikipedia page:
Marichal was passed over for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame during his first four years of eligibility, by all accounts because the Baseball Writers Association of America voters still held his attack on Roseboro against him.

And are you completely forgetting about the steroids users and the character issue with the HoF?

spirit zealot: someone who is more concerned with "ultimate: the lifestyle" than "ultimate: the sport". Many hard competitors are sold on the idea of observers, and think of referees as not necessary.

I think perhaps you overestimate my spirit zealotry.

Anonymous said...

1( just because some random guy on wickapedia seems to THINK it was by "ALL accounts" dont make it you yourself wrote "HIS" attack on roseboro......NOT "THEYRE" attackSSSSS on rodeboro. Are you saying alomars transgression is just as bad as marichals'????? give me a fucking break.

This is a classic case of not only reachin but also "lumping" people together that committed two entirely different acts. and if every baseball player or coach that ever got in an umps face didnt get into the hall.......well.

2) i'm sure all the voters can make a clear and easy distinction between steroid users and a guy thats a little hot headed (please refer to my RJ story). as you notice that being a hot head has NEVER been any kind of real issue in sports. surely not worthy of doing a feature stiory about it on "outside the lines" much less keeping it THE hot issue in mlb for a decade now. so again you are reaching......AND conflating.

you seem to be saying that kds' actions in ultimate parralelled those of steroid users in baseball. Is this the analogy you are attempting to make? personally, i liken kd to the pete rose of ulti.......and we both know that pete didnt get into the hall becuse of gambling issues.....NOT because he was a hot head. maybe you are saying that kds' character flaws went beyond being a higly intense hot head?????

3) i'll accept that version of "SZ". I was always more concerned (drawn to) ultimate "the sport" MUCH MORE than ultimate "the lifestyle". You on the other hand are obviously drawn to the "sotg is the most importand aspect of the sport" lifestyle. and I'll assume you are speaking of the refless/formalizing informality "lifestlye" here......which, to tell you the truth, i always viewed as more of some high school type popularity contest (than any kind of real sport). and know that those same hard competiors that you speak of that feel refzervers may be adequate might be more drawn to the "sport" aspect than the "lifestyle" aspect. I mean, who would EVER play a sport with girls(unless it was some kind of joke game/nba allstar exhibition side game) if they were really more concerned about the "sport" aspect of ultimate? I hope you arent trying to say that you ARENT a spirit zealot here.

3) and no i do not overestimate your zealotry. sure there are different degrees of spirit zealotry......but such is the same with being a conservative. BUT, if youre a SZ then YOURE A two ways about it.......and YOU, jim p, are a SZ if i've ever seen one. You seem ashamed to admit that but you should really "come out of the closet" and embrace your zealotry already.

Anonymous said...

Case in point. Roger Clemmons once THREW the very sharp end of a broken bat at an opposing player and he didnt even get ejected. whereas if you test positive for steroids isnt it an automatic 40 game(or somthing like that) suspension??? see the difference??? think the voters will keep roger out of the hall for that one "hot headed", bat throwing mistake? i dont......but they may keep him out for the whole steroid thing.....especially the lieing part. either way, i really dont see alomars ONE laps in judgement as any worse than rogers' OR the reason he got passed over for hall induction......nor do i believe that by ANY accounts would that be the mater what wikapedia says.

also, the fact that you try to site that as a valid reason or even a "point" to bring up in this argument as an example shows the level of your zealoty.....reaching for outlandish speculations of what baseballs hall credentials are....and thinking that they are event remotely akin to ultimates.

parinella said...

It's pretty close to common knowledge about Marichal, not the ramblings of me or "that guy at wikipedia". As for Alomar, google something like "alomar spit vote" and you'll see countless views that agree with this.
Both of these incidents go well past "hot head". If Clemens had actually hit Piazza with the bat, then yes, some voters would have used that as a reason not to vote for him (if they didn't also have steroids).
Anyway, if you had read what I actually wrote, I was trying to get a discussion going as to how much "character" matters. Regarding kd, I think hecshpuld be docked a few points for the intimidation and credited a few points for his team-building. There are others who should be docked a lot of points, enough probably to change them from "definitely in" to "borderline" or from "borderline" to "out". Toad , we know where you stand. Let's hear from others.

Anonymous said...

just curious.....are these "coutless views" those of mlb hall voters or just random people on the internet?

I'm aware your trying to start a discussion on how much character matters......yet more evidence of your spirit zealotry. I am mearly trying to interject into that discussion that it DOSENT(and provide the "sports reporters" views on randy johnson).....or at least dosent in other sports......therefore shouldnt in ultimate.

as for kd.....why not reference/comp that with the intimidation factor that randy johnson brought to the mound(that is glorified by the "sports reporters") rather than alomars spiting incedent or marichals attack. but just to be clear....if you think people should be docked points for, how you say, "being a prick", do you also feel they (i mean YOU) should get points for being a lil goody-twoshoes boyscout? and.....i'm pretty sure it was common knowledge that randy johnson was a HUGE prick. so do ya really think he should be kept out of the mlb hall for that?

oh, and i doubt i'm preventing anyone else from being herd here.

Anonymous said...

just googled "alomar spit vote".

so is the fact that the ump he spit on is in favor of his hall induction the definition of irony or what?

Of course he IS an umpire. and i know how suspecious you guys(sz's) are of sports with refs.....much less the refs/umps themselves. i mean, what kind of a person (to you sz's) even becomes a ref.....much less plays in sports where they are present. bunch o heathens i bet.

but, no sense in speculating till the vote comes out right? it sure WILL be a blow to you spirity types if he cruises through by a land slide though, wont it? in fact, in light of all the steroid shit, alomars trangression may be viewed as being NUTHIN......which is what it really IS in comparison, no?

as for kd, can you JIM point out any specific incedents (like the alomar spit) that could or should keep him out of the hall. I mean, his image was glorified in larger that life form all over upa mags for half a why do an about face and NOT continue to glorify him with a hall induction???? seems like there MUST be some personal agendas about?

parinella said...

Marty Noble,, Hall of Fame voter: "Alomar will probably be elected, and based on performance through most of his 17 seasons, he ought to be. But he will go without my vote this year. I don’t like to use the ballot in this manner, but the best second baseman since Joe Morgan—and probably the best ever—doesn’t deserve my vote for at least one year because of two spitting instances. We’re all aware of the one involving John Hirschbeck. I don’t care that Hirschbeck forgave Alomar for spitting at him; I haven’t. It was unacceptable behavior. And during his 222-game tour with the Mets, Alomar repeatedly spit in he face of the game by playing with conspicuous apathy."

I will continue to look for others. Mostly I'm finding other voters acknowledging that some of their colleagues didn't vote for him because of the spit. Votes are secret, only some publicize their votes, and there is no central public database that has the votes. And Marichal is too long ago to find any columns explaining why.

It is something that Hirschbeck as well as John Roseboro forgave their attackers and lobbied on their behalfs. Ever since that dumb song that definitely misused the word, I am confused as to the definition of "ironic", so I can't comment on that.

But I didn't say and don't feel that Alomar and Marichal should have been denied because of those incidents. I'm saying that another sports' Hall of Fame voters held those views.

Another thing: there are several players who were linked to drugs (cocaine, mostly) who have received lower vote totals than comparable players. Dave Parker, Keith Hernandez, Tim Raines. I'm not saying these guys are sure HoFers, but they should have received more votes.

It's not about "being a prick". If it's just a matter of scowling or being mean, then it should have nothing to do with a player's HoF credentials. If a person's prickness affects the integrity of the game, then it should be under consideration. As for kd, I've been called a "Dobyns apologist" before, so I'm not going to go on record as a Dobyns attacker now. Besides, I said in no uncertain terms that I can't see how his actions would merit docking so many points that he should be kept out.

Should it count _for_ a player? For 90% or 99% of players, the "spirit" part of their "character" would count for so little that you could safely ignore it. Someone like Stu Downs should get bonus points. (Other "character" issues like whether a player helped build or lead a good team should definitely count. "Good" doesn't have to be "championship", if the team didn't have the players to compete.) For me, I wouldn't list "played by the rules" in my accomplishments. It could be a fifth tiebreaker, I guess, just ahead of "flip a coin".

parinella said...

Hal McCoy, Dayton Daily News:
"Finally, we get to Alomar, the guy with glossy numbers but who sullied his name forever by spitting into an umpire’s face. ...But this is my ballot and it says character should be part of the equation. Spitting in an umpire’s face is not Hall of Fame stuff to me, except maybe The Kleenex Hall of Fame."

" USA TODAY's Tom Pedulla doesn't feel Alomar deserves first-ballot election because of it, but doesn't rule out voting for him in the future."

Jack McCaffery, Delaware County Times: "Spare me the statistics; I’ll stipulate that Alomar has the credentials. But when he spit in the face of plate ump John Hirschbeck following a called third-strike call in 1996, he had plunged across the disgust line like Tiger Woods at a late-night pancake house."

That's four so far. He missed by eight votes.

Anonymous said...

oh well, i never thought alomar was all that great anyways. surley he was no where NEAR the same status of what ken was to the sport of ANY way shape or form. and where i never thought of alomar as a fierce player, nor a hot head, i also know of no accounts where ken did what would have equaled spitting in an umps face while playing ultimate. Do you?

as for roger clemons bat missing piazza, you seem to imply that if that spit had of missed the ump alomar should have gotten into the hall (or that his transgression would have been over looked)? i guess we'll see when its rogers turn if that "attack with a bat" on an opposing player is even remotely an issue.

i guess what i'm trying to say is if alomar had clemons like status (which is somewhat more in line with kd status) then the spitting would have likely gotten overlooked......wouldnt you agree?

parinella said...

i guess what i'm trying to say is if alomar had clemons like status (which is somewhat more in line with kd status) then the spitting would have likely gotten overlooked......wouldnt you agree?
Yes, I would. And I think that's the idea, that it's all part of a package. I think it might still have changed a couple guys' votes, but it would have moved the vote total from 94% to 92%, instead of from 76% to 74%. And it remains to be seen how the voters will treat Bonds and Clemens because of the steroids, as both had already amassed clear HoF careers before they started taking steroids (allegedly). I would bet that at least one writer will cite "and then there was that bat-throwing incident" in his article "why I didn't vote for Clemens".

Everyone treats "attempted x" less seriously than "commited x".

Anonymous said...

maybe similar explinations from the ultimate hof voters would be prudent??? who are those people anyways? how many of em? etc, etc?

and i still dont see where kens prickness effected the integrity of the game (this is what you seem to imply).....any more than say steve dugans self proclained cheating in worlds semis confession. was it because steve cheated with a smile on his face where as ken always had on a game face? does wearing a game face negitively affect the integrity of the game too? where does one draw the line with all the spirity/integrity stuff. and i also dont understand how stu gets points for being a swell guy. i guess its all connected back to that "popularity contest" that IS ultimate. Surely no REAL sport would use such credentials. what about mrs D???? does ken get extra points for all the sanwiches via mrs D that you shoved down your throat (much less everyone elses)??? and ya cant discount the vast inconsistancies of using kens image to promote and flourish the sport on the one hand yet completely snubbing him and marginalizing his accomplishments with this type of rejection on the other.

Anonymous said...

If x is the same "object", yes. but since spit wouldnt likely hurt a fly and the fat end of a jagged broken baseball bat could empale and kill a human one has to diferentiate the comparison.....and in a pretty major way too.

i mean, think about the legal ramifications of both. one would be assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill(maybe)......while i have no earthly idea how spitting on someone is legally classified.....even if ya do "connect". maybe a misdomeanor??

Anonymous said...

When we discuss spirit, we should probably consider how formalizing competition encourages us to act:

Anonymous said...

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