Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame: Baseball, Cooperstown, and the Politics of Glory

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Well, I'm not sure about the third baseman. James has developed six different methods that he says might be used in combination with one another to help evaluate potential Hall of Fame candidates. They are:.


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  • The Politics of Glory: How the Baseball's Hall of Fame Really Works by Bill James.

What makes this book so much better than the typical "The Hall of Fame Sucks and I Know How To Fix It" book is James' writing ability combined with his wit and his willingness to outrage fans with his outspoken opinions. Speaking on the great Hall of Fame debate over Phil Rizzuto, a player that James doesn't feel belongs in the Hall, he compares him to film star Elizabeth Taylor, saying that while Rizzuto may have been a great player at one time, it's hard for him to believe it by looking back over his stats and the news stories of the time: "For thirty years I have seen Liz Taylor make the front page for doing absolutely nothing, when frankly I am utterly unable to understand why anyone would care if Liz Taylor were to cavort naked down Lexington Avenue.

I'm sure she was a beautful woman once, but I wasn't there.

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The Politics of Glory builds up to its finest moment in one of its final chapters, titled simply "Don Drysdale. Then in the second half of the chapter, using the exact same methods from a slightly different angle, James convinces you that Drysdale is no more deserving of enshrinement in the Hall than John Burkett is.

It's an amazingly effective chapter, showing the reader exactly why Hall of Fame arguments can be so divisive and why a more standardized definition of what exactly a Hall of Famer is may be impossible to achieve. Mar 12, Nicholas Bobbitt rated it liked it. James may have good ideas, but he's not a good writer. Aug 08, Groucho rated it really liked it. 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!

Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame? Baseball, Cooperstown, and the Politics of Glory

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 Whatever happened to the Hall of Fame? 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.


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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. At least one of those players--Griffey--is a sure thing when he becomes eligible in 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 ' He said Yount would be elected in , but that honor occurred in ' He predicted Dawson would be elected in an Sandberg would be elected in , but the Hawk wasn't in until , and the Ryno came in much earlier, in ' Some people James assumed would have a longer playing career--he must have assumed Kirby Puckett would not have retired until about , as he predicted Kirby's induction occurring in ' 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. 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. View 1 comment. Jul 18, Josh rated it really liked it Shelves: sports , non-fiction. An interesting analysis of the Baseball Hall of Fame and how it works or doesn't work, in many cases.

There's some terrific historical pieces here on how the institution functions and came to be in its present form. Some of the material is a bit dated now, but most of it is very strong, combining strong data analysis with a sense for how the game is played in a readable and pleasing format that makes it more compelling. Bill James is at the top of the SABR-metrician pantheon, and there's a goo An interesting analysis of the Baseball Hall of Fame and how it works or doesn't work, in many cases.

He can crunch the numbers, but can also write about them in an accessible and compelling way. Baseball writers should take note. Apr 04, Adrian added it. I first read this book twenty years ago. Just as entertaining a read today. James, a clever statistician, analyses the history of the baseball Hall of Fame how this peculiar institution and its voting patterns have developed and what should be done to correct them. None of which, it must be said, have been adopted.

The Politics of Glory

He challenges a number of players who have been voted in and answers questions about many who are frequently brought up as worthy of induction. His statistical comparison of players i I first read this book twenty years ago. His statistical comparison of players is fascinating. Clearly this is a book for the truly obsessed. Many of the chapters read as discrete essays and so there is some repetition.

Dec 31, Gary Geiger rated it liked it Shelves: baseball , baseball-analytics , sports. This is a good book that is marred by the fact that it has changed the way we view baseball history in a deletrious matter. It looks at Hall of Fame cases for various players using traditional stats Had this book come out more recently, James might have used more advanced stat and qualititative measures like the Keltner List.

I think of the Keltner List as a guide, not something to be slavishly followed, but it is a good way to look at a players career. Unfortunately, since this book has come o This is a good book that is marred by the fact that it has changed the way we view baseball history in a deletrious matter.


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Unfortunately, since this book has come out, our first thought about a historical baseball player is "Worthy HOFer or no? James is a helluva writer. Mar 01, Socraticgadfly rated it really liked it Shelves: sports. A good intro to James' sabermetric thoughts as they impact the Hall of Fame. Though he says early on that this is NOT a book about who should be in or out, it's clear that he thought Phil Rizzuto written before his induction shouldn't be in , Dick Allen shouldn't be in, and Don Drysdale should be out, among others.

And, was Sandy Koufax's late career brilliance in part not only leaving Ebbetts Field, but then leaving the L. Baseball's Hall of Fame, in bucolic Cooperstown, New York site of the mythical creation of the game by Abner Doubleday , began enshrining baseball's best players in , and has been mired in controversy ever since. In The Politics of Glory, bestselling author Bill James takes a hard look at the Hall - not only at the traditional questions of who is in and who is out and why, but at how the Hall of Fame operates, who operates it, how they make decisions, and why those decisions sometimes go awry.

Using the endless battle over onetime Yankee shortstop - and new Hall of Famer - Phil Rizzuto as a recurring theme, James analyzes the perennial debate over Hall of Fame qualifications: players who should be in, and aren't, as well as players who shouldn't be, and are.

Chipper Jones inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame