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Readers re-wrap Donaldson's anti-Rice rap

 

Far more interesting than ProJo sports columnist Jim Donaldson's assertion today that Jim Rice is not "a real Hall of Famer" (his italics) are some of the responses from readers on projo.com. Donaldson's point is that Jim Ed was "borderline," not a top-notch hardball luminary in the style of Babe Ruth or Ty Cobb.

Let's go to the comments:

wash jones 5 hours ago wrote:
 
how about borderline writers and critical thinkers? why do we let them into the fold of journalism?
Then there's this:
edappesq 6 hours ago wrote:

Let's see if I have this right.. the bottom line is because Rice had to wait so long he is functionally not truly deserving of the Hall of Fame honors. Hmm... (with respect for 'megapowers" argument as well) please allow me embellish it a bit.

How about setting some other different "Rooms" or "Wings". We can have the... "Hall for those with great numbers and should have been first ballots but for character flaws" ie: Pete Rose. "Hall for those with great numbers, but were wrongfully accused of criminal acts", ie. Shoeless Joe Jackson, "Hall for those with great numbers but probably will be convicted of criminal acts".. ie Roger Clemens,Barry Bonds " Hall for those who would have had great numbers anyway but foolishly threw their reputations away by putatively sticking banned substances in their bodies in order to enhance their performance,ie; Clemens, Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Raffy Palmiero,ect. "Hall for those with incredible potential who would have been HOF'ers but for severe substance abuse", Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry,ect. "Hall for those who stuck around so long they should be in a Hall for sticking around so long" Hoyt Wilhelm, Wilbur Wood, Julio Franco, Tim Wakefield, George Blanda (football I know but I loved the guy!). "Hall for those whose fielding ability alone should put them in the Hall but because no one gives a s*** about fielding they do not have a chance", ie Dwight Evans, Don Mattingly, Mark Belanger "Hall for those who in and by themselves would not have a chance at the HOF (by Donaldsons' definition) but for the incredible teams they played on"... ie Rizzuto, Joe Gordon..

Anyway, the lowest performing student in the Rhodes scholarship competiton still goes to Oxford, the lowest liberal arts student in the top 5% of his or her class still gets a Phi Beta Kappa key. What if Clemente had tragically deceased before he reached 2000 hits, ie Thuman Munson. Where do we draw the line? That IS the question. The fact that we agonize is a good thing. We think! We are not lazy!

Fame is a shifting definition over the eons and MLB is an ancient game. An attempt to standardize or quantify that "top 5%" is a noble effort. Donaldsons argument of a "Hall within a Hall" is then a "reductio ad absurdum" . . .

There are some holes in Donaldson's argument.

He (justifiably) includes Sandy Koufax among his world-class HOFers, but Koufax's comet-like streak of brilliance came during six years of an 11-year career, in a pitching-dominant era when the mound was considerably higher and brushback pitches were commonly accepted. Rice didn't play as brilliantly as Koufax at his height, but he kept up a relatively high level of play longer, for 12 years.

Donaldson also writes, "Real Hall of Famers aren’t rejected 14 times before finally getting the thumbs up from the voters."

Tell it to Goose Goslin (lifetime .316 BA, drove in more than 100 rbi 11 times), who, amazingly, had to wait 30 years before he made it into Cooperstown, getting the nod from the vets' committee.

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