Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The things you learn from Bill James...

I am a Bill James aficionado; he has a great intuitive sense of what's interesting and what's important, and I'm fascinated by both.  For instance, from Chapter 1 of "Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame," page 5, there's this:

(remember, this is preceding the establishment of the current Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown)

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The term, "the Hall of Fame," was an old one, having been used in baseball since about 1905, shortly after baseball developed a sense of its own history.  A pitcher who threw a no-hitter would often be described as "having entered the Hall of Fame."  A sportswriter who chose his all-time team would often describe it as his "personal Hall of Fame" -- for example, page 96 of the 1923 Reach Guide shows the "American League players in the Reach Base Ball Hall of Fame" -- in reality nothing more than a list of the league leaders for 1922.


In the early 1920s, organized baseball had approved a proposal to build a $100,000 baseball monument on the Potomac in Washington, D.C.  This monument would have listed the names of baseball's greatest players, and this was often described as a "Hall of Fame."

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