The Hall of Fame poll was unveiled Monday. It’s a day on the baseball calendar that should be more honored.
Of course, it’s not like the Hall of Fame election day. But think of it as getting into the playoffs instead of winning the World Series. Simply reaching the ballot paper signals performance at an extraordinarily high level – even if it falls below the highest level.
Think of the winning system that takes place just to get on the ballot. Millions of kids around the world play baseball every year and start graduating from the Little League to travel teams or to high school or college. A small percentage of that group gets a pro contract to start at Rookie Ball. Then they begin the ascent to Low-A, High-A, Double-A and Triple-A.
Reaching the big ones is a feat – only 22,000 or so have done so in history. Now spend 10 years in the majors – less than 10 percent of the players who reach The Show achieve this milestone. Then there is a committee that receives a list of all players who have been retired for five years and who have played at least 10 seasons in the majors. That committee decides who gets on the ballot, so you need more than just longevity.