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December 12, 2013

Skewed Left

A Cooperstown Party Like it's 1999

by Zachary Levine


It was probably my favorite story idea that I’ve come up with in the 13 months I’ve been working at Baseball Prospectus, in part because it was so original. In the wake of the election of zero living Hall-of-Famers for the 2013 induction class, when everyone was writing about what a travesty this was for the Hall, I told Ben Lindbergh I was going to write about the tragedy for the village of Cooperstown.

It was an original idea until it was already written even before the vote. Until the story of one of my favorite places in the world, just 70 miles from my own hometown, was so well told months later that there was nothing left to say. Until business honchos in the village were apparently changing their answering machine messages to preempt the questions about the death of a yearly tradition of late July.

So I didn’t write the story, but to be honest, I never really bought the sentiment either. I understand the problem of backlogs and why it might take longer to clear the backlog in the BBWAA than it did to create the backlog. However, last year was always going to be an off year. Either people, preferably even living people, were going to start getting elected or the rules were going to change. The 10-vote-per-ballot limit is an obvious place to start – I’d probably advocate voting for 14 or 15 this year, and that’s being fairly conservative. The word out of the BBWAA meeting during Winter Meetings in Orlando is that the association is creating a committee to look at the Hall of Fame voting.

Anyway, one year later, we’re going to be wondering where to put all the people.

Thanks to the Veterans Committee falling on the triennial “Expansion Era” cycle, where people of similar talent to their predecessors are freed from the erosion of time and the idea that the best guys from the past would be in already is gone, this class is shaping up to be wonderful.

Joe Torre, who as a player didn’t miss by all that much, joins Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox in a group of managers that combined to win 7,558 games.

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Related Content:  Hall Of Fame,  Cooperstown

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