The Gallery of Renown, Bob Gregory’s original post on February 5, 2012

The “Gallery Of Renown” Project

What if….?

My favorite type of question. What if King George had given George Washington a commission in the British Army? What if Booth had missed? What if Gore had won Florida?

And it works just as well for baseball. What if Ruth had stayed a pitcher? What if McDougald hadn’t been drafted by the Angels? What if Pujols had signed a long term contract with the Cardinals?

And what if the Baseball Hall Of Fame had opened in 1885? With an entirely different voting structure? This is what this Gallery Of Renown (GOR) is all about. We’ve been talking about doing a retroactive HOF vote here on the Reader Posts for months, maybe even years. Dave Fleming has been doing a mock HOF for years now, and many of us have participated. Here’s an opportunity for everyone who is interested to join in the fun and discussion about an alternate HOF.

This is the basic premise of the GOR: Chadwick and a group of baseball powers decided to open a GOR in 1885, electing one player per year. But instead of a yes/no, in/out type of ballot like the real HOF uses, instead, a ballot very much like the MVP vote is used. Each year, starting in 1885, voters submitted their ballots, ranking their 10 most deserving of enshrinement in order. The leading voter getter is elected.

How the GOR works:

On each Monday I will post the year’s nominees for election. The roster will include anyone who received a vote in the previous year’s plus newly eligible players. I plan on being very inclusive on who gets put on the ballot. There will be no 10-years of playing requirement. Men like Herb Score, Addie Joss, Ray Chapman, Tom Tresh will be eligible, basically anybody I think might get a vote will have that opportunity. Like the real HOF, the GOR will not have nominees put on the ballot until they have been retired for 5 years, and they have 15 years on the ballot to be selected. We have until midnight Friday to vote. I will tabulate the ballots and post the results on Saturday. And then we start all over again with the next year on Monday.

If you feel like you’re coming in, in the middle of a conversation, you are. I first broached the topic a couple of years ago, with two Reader Posts threads titled “19th Century Mock Hall Of Fame” and “Dead Ball Era Mock Hall Of Fame”. I recently restarted the discussion with a thread called “A Different Methodology”. A number of people mentioned that they’d like to join in, which prompted another thread “Gallery Of Renown”, and three test runs “1974 GOR Election”, “1975 GOR Election” and “1976 GOR Election. If you’re interested, you can find all seven threads on the two most recent pages of the Reader Posts.

From 1885 to 1899 we will be selecting one player per year. Starting in 1900, we will be selecting two per year.

Frequently asked questions:
1. Who may vote? Any person on the BJOL website may vote.
2. Do I have to start at the beginning? No, join in whenever you feel comfortable. Many baseball fans are not that interested in the 19th century. One of the regulars on the Reader Posts does not feel adequate to the job of ranking players unless he’s seen them, so he likely won’t participate until the 1960s elections. And that is fine.
3. Do I have to vote every week? Of course not. Some of us have lives outside of BJOL. Some people have work issues that will interfere. Family issues take up time. Some people even take vacations. Vote whenever you can. This is supposed to be fun.
4. Who will be on the ballot? Anyone who received even one vote will remain on the next year’s ballot, provided they have not used up their 15 years allotted time. Plus those players who retired 5 years earlier.
5. Will there be “special” elections? No, Gehrig will be eligible in 1945; Clemente will be eligible in 1978; Munson will be eligible in 1985.
6. What if I don’t feel there are 10 worthy candidates? Just like the MVP vote, a 10-man ballot is required, in order, no ties. The question with this methodology is not “Who should be in the Hall?”, but rather “Who is most deserving of being in the Gallery?” Slightly different mindset.
7. Where do I vote? Each Monday I will begin a new thread with the next year’s ballot. The first thread will be titled “1885 GOR Election”. This is where you vote. If, however, you are uncomfortable with voting for all to see, you may “Private Message” your ballot to me, and I will keep it confidential.
8. How do I vote? How you rank the players is entirely up to you. It’s your opinion that we’re interested in. Some basic guidelines: This GOR is basically a “Players Only” election. When, for example, Joe Torre first makes the ballot in 1983, we wouldn’t “know” about his managerial success with the Yankees. His managerial record probably shouldn’t be considered (playing managers is a different ball of wax). Use whatever criteria you think is important or beneficial. Go ahead and use WAR or Win Shares or Linear Weights or Faber Points if you like (I know I will); plus whatever you feel warrants some merit.
9. How much time will this take? I’m just guessing here, as it’ll depend on the individual, but your first ballot might take 15 minutes to an hour, depending on how much research you have to do. After that, it shouldn’t take up that much time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes. After you’ve done a ballot or two, you pretty much use your previous year’s ballot, take off the players who were elected and used up their 15 years of eligibility, fine-tune your list, and then add in where appropriate the new-to-the-ballot nominees.

As I said, you’re coming in the middle of a conversation. There’s probably something important I’ve left out, that we’ve already discussed and figured out in those 7 previous threads. But if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

And remember: the Gallery Of Renown project is supposed to be fun.

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