Thursday, July 16, 2015

Give Me An All Star Break

Of course I was baited. The headline for the article was "20 Athletes Who Don't Belong In Their Sport's Hall of Fame." Above the link was a picture of John Elway. I know that I shouldn't have even bothered, partly because these kinds of links are the sort that clog up a day of pointing and clicking that generally proceeds at a reasonable clip. That means that when I see something that catches my interest, I click, read a line or two and then move on, unless the picture, post, video or article is so entrancing that I must stay for the entire show. I knew before I jumped down the rabbit hole to view this slow-loading slide show that I was going to have to wade through ten or more ridiculous opinions before I was asked to accept the author's premise that somehow the most important quarterback on the planet didn't belong in the Football Hall of Fame. Sure, Jacob Kornhauser's opinion is every bit as relevant as mine. Except his is wrong. 

Okay. It's not wrong, since I know as a teacher of elementary school children that facts can be wrong and Mister Kornhauser was expressing an opinion, and providing support for that opinion doesn't make it a fact. He was just exercising his American-made right to free speech and putting John Elway near the top of his countdown ensured that most everyone like me who wanted to see just how it could be argued that John Elway didn't belong in the Hall of Fame would click on through his series of wild swings at beloved sport legends from days gone by just to see why John Elway was not Hall of Fame-worthy. "Even though he played before the NFL got so pass happy, Elway's numbers really weren't elite. The most yards he ever threw for in a single season was 4,030, and the most touchdowns he ever threw for in a single season was 27. Most telling is that his adjusted quarterback rating of 105 is only slightly better than average." This is when I started to feel my blood boil. Not actually, since that wold be more of a medical condition, but I had that urge to send off a harshly worded email to Jacob, explaining how I didn't appreciate him knocking around my heroes like that. Just like I was going to politely accept Kid Rock's invitation to Confederate flag protesters. It's a moment that passes, and then the rest of the day continues in the real world, away from the screens and keyboards.
Because it occurred to me: It is the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Statistics. This is why the seemingly eternal and burning questions about people like Pete Rose and Barry Bonds make me switch positions more often than someone who regularly changes their opinion that would make this a funny comparison. These guys are cheaters. They broke the rules. They are also famous, which it turns out is a derivation on the word "fame." Should there be an asterisk next to their name? Why not? A big bronze one, standing right next to their jerseys or attached to their bust, but then we can all flock to the Hall and argue over the size of the asterisk and the font they chose to write the story of how they found themselves enshrined. Statistics are objective, but how they are applied is not. Fame is subjective, and all the statistics in the world won't make it easier for punters to get into Canton. That's my opinion. I'm sure there is a Hall of Fame somewhere for Jacob Kornhauser, but I don't think I have the time to spend figuring that out. His fifteen minutes here are up. 


Anonymous said...

Expand slide shows with

Anonymous said...

To the extent Pete Rose broke the rules, it didn't improve the stats that make him a HOF candidate. If you're making it a morality issue, you'd better get busy lobbying to have Ty Cobb ejected and pray Josh Hamilton doesn't put together a HOF-worthy career. The disrespect Barry showed the game by breaking the HR record under those circumstances is infuriating, but it's not a valid reason to keep him out of the HOF, any more than his natural talent for being unlikeable. Barry's cheat is different because it makes everything he accomplished suspect. When science can confirm whether Barry would have been a HOF player without PEDs, maybe we can re-open the conversation.