Monday, July 28, 2008

Folly Dodgers

You know, it really bothers me that it's a generally held truism that every year must produce many hall of fame inductees. Halls of fame have for some time been halls of notoriety, but now they're becoming halls of we-couldn't-think-of-actual-athletes-to-induct-so-we-had-to-whip-something-up. This goes for all sports, but is most egregious in baseball. You know...the privation of the best is the worst.

Anyway, Walter O'Malley was INDUCTED last week in to the hall of fame. Why? Because he moved the Dodgers from Brooklyn to L.A. So now he has his own plaque. A plaque that says O'Malley was an:
"influential and visionary owner who inspired baseball's move west" and someone who "maintained affordable ticket prices while generating record attendance."
And this warrants him to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame? Bull. Maybe the Adam Smith Hall of Fame, but not baseball's.

Is MLB that hard up for heroes? Oh. Right. We can't actually trust that baseball players are not using body-altering drugs to excel the the level of superstar, so we wanna be careful to select them.

Then again, I think a pretty good case can be made that O'Malley was on mind-altering drugs when he made his own mental athletics.


"Father Barry" said...

I think it's fascinating that O'Malley has morphed from villain to hero. And yet, Bowie Kuhn is considered incompetent and unworthy of being in the same HoF class as O'Malley.


Because he tried to stop free agency.

The Vitruvian Duck said...

Don't get me started.

Oh yeah. I got me started.

And that is why I love Bowie Kuhn, by the way. (He personally signed a ball to me, I think because he was shocked he had any fans)

But you're right. It's all unreasonable. Must've been pushed by L.A. Dodger fans. They are the real villains.

"Father Barry" said...

Yeah, those LA Dodger fans are crazy. Just ask Brooklyn.

The Vitruvian Duck said...

When it comes to seeing how irrational and ridiculously biased Dodger fans are, I don't have to look very far.

But then, I'm not very far-sighted.

dragoo said...

Walter O'Malley was a fantastic human being, and that's why he was great for baseball, and that's why he is in the HOF. The HOF is not just for players. When the Dodgers won the WS in '55, he bought rings for everybody in the clubhouse, all the way down to the 18 year old towel boy. He was exceedingly generous with his time, energy, and money. He made sure his players, staff, and management were well provided for. He promoted a brand of baseball that made sure the game was played the right way. He is exactly the opposite of everything today's owners stand for. Oh, and he was also a devout Catholic.

"Father Barry" said...

"He is exactly the opposite of everything today's owners stand for..."

Although one could also argue that he is (in some ways) the posterchild for today's owners, at least in terms of the carpetbagging. The Mets' subsequent success would seem to suggest that it was not impossible for two Major League teams to exist in NY, but the untapped market had a strong appeal.

Of course, it's not like teams hadn't moved before - (Athletics and Braves, for example) - but no one had ever done anything so drastic. And no one had done it in a way that was so clearly a business decision. It was a great business decision, but Brooklyn will never forgive him for it. (There is still a strong sense that he was disingenuous in his dealings with the city of Brooklyn, though there are strong feelings on both sides of that issue.)

I think it's also interesting that Kuhn would almost certainly have resisted O'Malley. He called the move to CA a "blunder," not because he didn't want a MLB team there, but because he thought it should have been through expansion, not through relocation.

The Catholic stuff is cool, though.

The Vitruvian Duck said...

"Walter O'Malley was a fantastic human being...Oh, and he was also a devout Catholic."

Great. Open his cause for the Humanity Hall of Fame- AKA Sainthood- that is if the Adam Smith HoF won't do for you.

But the reasoning was that one was 'innovative in the economics of baseball' does not, in my opinion, qualify one for fame in regards to the contributions to baseball qua baseball.