Bill James for the (actual) Hall of Fame

BY foxsports • July 28, 2015

The headline might have been designed to arouse my senses...

Bill James for the Baseball Hall of Fame: Has there been a more influential writer in the history of the sport? Or any sport?

I have to report, however regretfully, that Tim Kawakami's column does not quite deliver on the promise of that headline, for the simple reason that Kawakami doesn't actually advocate Bill's election to the Hall of Fame.

Rather, he makes a compelling case for Bill receiving the Spink Award ... which, as I've reluctantly mentioned before, is not at all the same thing, despite the dozens of folks who wish it was.

Still, Tim's right: After decades without, there's now a precedent for honoring a baseball writer who never actually covered a beat...

I also am not always fond of all the stat-minded writers who have been spawned from James’ revolutionary work in the late-’70s and early-’80s… and don’t have his wit, his perspective, or his specific genius.

And yet I cannot think of somebody more deserving of a permanent honor in Cooperstown–there so happens to be a specific annual honor for writers called the Spink Award.

Practically, James could follow the path of the great Roger Angell of The New Yorker last year, who was honored last year as the first Spink winner who was never a member of the Baseball Writers Assn.

Angell and James… you do not really honor men like this by giving them a place in your Hall, they honor the Hall by their presence.

Agreed. But -- and I'm sorry to be such a boor about this! -- Angell's not actually in the Hall. And frankly, I don't believe he should be. If only because the Hall of Fame has never elected anyone as a writer. Because there's not a category for writers. Doesn't exist.

There is a category for Pioneers. There's one writer in the Hall of Fame: Henry Chadwick, elected as a pioneer. And as I've written before, the Hall of Fame should revisit that category -- it's been a long, long, long time -- with the idea of at least considering both Bill James and Dr. Frank Jobe as pioneers.

As things stand now, I don't think Bill could be elected even if he were considered, because there are people on the relevant voting committees who despise Bill. But nobody lives forever. And while my personal connection to Bill prevents from leading any effort to get Bill on a plaque in the Coop, that effort's coming someday. And when it does, I'll do whatever I can to help.


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