Breaking Down the Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot: A Golden Era

Image of the Baseball Hall of Fame

This is Part One of a five part series covering this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame Election. This first part deals with the Golden Era Committee’s ballot, a collection of “candidates whose main contribution to the National Pastime came between 1947 and 1972 – the Golden Era”. (That’s the Hall of Fame’s wording, not mine.) Because I wasn’t around for this particular era of baseball, all I have to go off of are cold hard statistics, which is frightfully dull. Therefore, I turned to the scientific minds of the Recorder to create a time machine, a time machine which has brought back from the past a columnist/man/totally-not-a-gimmick who claims to have witnessed the primes of these respective careers. I give you, for your reading pleasure, Roger A. WASPman.

Roger A. WASPman is a suburban father of four from Springfield. He is an insurance broker with an office on Main Street. (Office hours are 8 am to 4 pm) He enjoys golf, listening to the radio, and watching “Hogan’s Heroes”, and has been a registered Republican since the Eisenhower years. His proudest claim to fame is working his way through college “the right way”, and states that Walter O’Malley is the most demonic man in America next to those damn Kennedys. Enjoy.

Well, hey there, sports! Fancy seeing you all here! This time machine thing sure is swell. Say, how’s Vietnam turn out?

Haha, just kidding. We all knew that was gonna end up in a mess. But it’s okay. I’m sure nothing bad has happened since then. After all, I saw that the USSR isn’t a thing anymore, so sounds like Russia’s been neutralized as a threat.

All right, I know a thing or two about these players, and I can tell you that the DAMN BASEBALL HALL IS WRONG ABOUT EVERY ONE OF THEM. I mean, the fact that they’re still on the ballot? This is an EXCLUSIVE club. If they didn’t get in the first time, why keep voting for them? What’s the point? Here, let’s talk about them, and I’ll tell you why they deserve to rot in baseball purgatory.

Dick Allen

This guy! He’s no good! Sure, he was fantastic in his early years, but look at all the trouble he caused in Philadelphia! Well, maybe that was because of racial tensions, but he sure bounced around a lot! How can the Hall let in a guy who only stayed one year in two different places? And he was an alcoholic and a racist, no less! The Hall would never do such a terrible thing! I know, I hear all you whiners saying “his numbers were lessened by injuries.” His numbers are no better than Jim Rice’s! And look what happened to – oh. Didn’t look that one up. Never mind. He can be in, with reservations.

Ken Boyer

An easy one. He’s a rich man’s Ron Santo, and that clown didn’t make it – oh gosh darn it, what have you fellas done? I mean, what is this WAR stuff? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY SHRINE?

Gil Hodges

Come on, how is Gil Hodges not in?! Have none of you read The Boys of Summer?! He was the third fourth fifth best player on a Dodgers team that won one (1) World Series in Brooklyn. (The one in Los Angeles doesn’t count, because California is filled with dirty “hippies”.) And those Mets! I watched that Series with my son, and told him that Hodges deserved to be in the Hall of Fame for that “shoe polish” bit alone! Never mind that he was average for most of his career – he was a testament to the Average Joe! In fact, rename it the Average Gil! Let him in already!

Bob Howsam

The only people who would vote for a general manager – i.e. an office bound pencil pusher – are dirty Communists. Heck, you probably liked the Beatles – dirty punks that they were. Forget the two different franchises he built up to historical championshipcaliber squads. If you vote for him, you’re probably a Commie.

Jim Kaat

A pitcher who won a lot of games, yes. And who won a lot of these here Golden Gloves things. In my mind, the only player who deserves a Gold Glove is a man’s man. And I’m not talking about that traitorous Cassius Clay! I mean, I hate to use your newfangled “saber-metrics”, but he’s only the 101st best pitcher of all time. Clearly, no pitchers below that line have been elected to the Hall. Only the 100 best pitchers will suffice! Leave him out!

Minnie Minoso

A pure gimmick! He played in nearly every decade of his life in the majors – so what? He still didn’t accumulate stats! And those are what matters! Your hit kings and home run champions are who deserve to be in, not this guy. He didn’t even start playing until he was 28! Where’s the –

is pulled aside by Travis and shown Ken Burns’ Baseball, Episode Five

I am so sorry. Never mind. He should absolutely be in. Also, I might be a terrible person.

Tony Oliva

He was a Hall of Famer for the first half of his career, I grant you that. Therefore, he gets half a plaque. If you’re electing creeps like this guy, you might as well start giving out half plaques.

Billy Pierce

I don’t know anything about this man. However, I’m told that he was a firm Communist. Don’t ask my sources. The only people who’ve asked me about that are probably Communists themselves. Are you a Commie? I didn’t think so. Move along.

Luis Tiant

That mustache alone should have its own plaque in the Hall of Fame.

Maury Wills

Sure, he stole a lot of bases. But you know who else stole a lot? D.B. Cooper! Is he in the Hall of Fame? I THINK NOT.

Wrap Up

I’ve been told to make my picks of who’s going to make it in, and to also make a point by the editor. So, what’s my point?

I have no idea why you pulled me out of time to do this. I was happy in my time! It was a perfect era! There were no problems, there was gasoline and new cars for everyone, and Detroit and Cleveland were nice places to be! And have you seen Ben-Hur? Amazing! Nothing could top it! Let me have my wonderfully, perfect time! You all live in your lost era, and long for my past. You can’t have it! It’s mine!

Seriously, this ballot is nothing but nostalgia. You could argue either way on any of these players. You could even let some in. But all you’re doing is pining for the past, no more than ships borne back ceaselessly into whatever this Golden Era is supposed to be. I’d be surprised if any of these chaps made it in at all.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to mow the lawn on my new suburban home. Besides, it’s always the Fourth of July, Elvis lives forever, and our politicians are honest. Who wouldn’t want to live in my past?!

Travis J. Cook

Travis J. Cook is the Editor-in-Chief and one of the original founders of the Addison Recorder. He writes about baseball, movies, and music, among other topics. He resides in a hole in the ground near Wrigley Field.

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  1. Loved this so much. Although in a column where you talk about Maury Wills, you label Tony Oliva the “creep.” There is no comparison. (Wills is one of the people Bill James lambasts the MOST in the Historical Baseball Abstract.) On the other hand, Luis Tiant for the win!

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