At some point in the next six weeks, you’ll find yourself arguing about the Hall of Fame with someone whose mind is already made up. (That someone will, at that moment, be having the same experience.) You’ll have a vague sense that this kind of conversation historically hasn’t gone anywhere, and you’ll be tempted to walk away, but you’ll be damned if you’re going to get on the same page about anything with this Lee Smith-loving, Tim Raines-rejecting anti-intellectual, even agreeing to disagree. At this impasse, there’s only one way to win: by reminding them that it’s called the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of whatever crazy criterion they’re using to decide who deserves to get in.
It’s the perfect putdown. With one crushing sentence, you convey not only that your adversary is dead wrong about a particular player, but that they’ve misunderstood the entire enterprise, thereby shaming them into keep their (obviously flawed) opinion to themselves next time they’re tempted to weigh in on someone’s suitability for the Hall. Hell, how could they have an opinion? They don’t even know the name of the place.
There’s just one problem: because this rhetorical device is so devastating, you won’t be the first to have used it. In your eagerness to deliver the conversational kayo, you’ll be tempted to hit them with “…It’s not the Hall of Very Good.” Don’t do it. Others have been there before.
It's not the Hall of Very Good RT @JonHeymanCBS: Will HGH brush keep Andy Pettitte from hall? http://t.co/Qs5wF1XQWN
— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelCBS) September 20, 2013
For a truly satisfying takedown, you need an original line. And a little preparation goes a long way if you want to drop the mic memorably.
The following is a comprehensive list, culled from the internet, of things that the Hall of Fame has already been established not to be. Feel free to bookmark or print it and carry it around as a reference during peak Hall of Fame debate periods.
It’s the Hall of Fame, not the…
Hall of Shame
Hall Of The Really Good
Hall of “Hey I Remember That Guy”
Hall of Good
Hall of Toiled Nobly in Total Obscurity
Hall of Excellence
Hall of Very Good
Hall of Positional Oddities
Hall of Sainthood
Hall of Numbers
Hall of Longevity
Hall of High Batting Averages
Hall of Moral Relativism
Hall of Asterisks
Hall of What Everyone Else Was Doing/Not Doing
Hall of Liked
Hall of Impressive Accumulated Statistics
Hall of Nice Guys Who Played the Right Way, Except for Ty Cobb
Hall of Morality
Hall of Pretty Good for a Couple Years
Hall of the Best Players
Hall of Morals
Hall of Very Good Postseason Performers
Hall of Clean Living
Hall of Baseball Players We Really Like
Hall of Consistent Above-Averageness
Hall of Infamy
Hall of Integrity
Hall of Outstanding Statistical Achievements
Hall of Really Really Good
Hall of Morally Outstanding Citizens
Hall of Good Guys
Hall of Stats
Hall of People Everybody Likes
Hall of the Ninety-Eighth Percentile
Hall of the Morally Righteous
Hall of Skill
Hall of the Pristine
Hall of the Perfect
Hall of Great Stats
Hall of Honor
Hall of Nice Guys
Hall of Humanitarians
Hall of War Heroes
Hall of Good Character and Honesty
Hall of Popularity and Sentiment
Hall of Let’s Have Baseball Experts Analyze Your Career for The Next Decade
Hall of Best Combination of Rate and Counting Stats Over a Long Enough Career That Compares Well Across Eras and Park Effects to Other Players Already Inducted
As tempting as it would be to destroy your debate partner’s point with one of the above finishing moves, bringing an end to the argument and determining who’s a Hall of Famer once and for all, show some self-restraint. Take a look at the list (or better yet, commit it to memory), and think of something to say that isn’t already on there. If you’re out of fresh material, you may add a modifier. But whatever you do, don’t rest your case on a repeat.
Of course, by putting all the emphasis on the fact that it’s called the Hall of Fame, you’re inadvertently implying that notoriety should be the standard for induction. But don’t worry; by the time some bystander brings that up, you'll have been savoring your opponent's stunned silence for approximately [/checks tweet timestamps] two hours and 27 minutes.
@GreggDoyelCBS @JonHeymanCBS it's the hall of fame actually…so by that standard, he was famous; so he makes it? Swing and a miss Doyle
— Carmelo Benz (@MeloSwag7) September 20, 2013
Thank you for reading
This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.Subscribe now
Have a good weekend.