Saving the Hall of Fame… now that’s a promoter’s legacy. Saving a multibillion industry that was, and is, nothing more than a huckster’s ongoing sales pitch.
Baseball was nothing more than a simple game, played by immigrants to America, as a pastime. Soon it gathered popularity and became a way to compete for bragging rights, then a place to call a ball field on a nice afternoon, and then … ahhh… then somebody saw a way to make a buck!
Thus, we have the birth of the promoter to this simple game. So those that could play the game well, saw fit to form a profession out of this thing. As a profession, money had to be paid to watch, advertisers saw a golden opportunity to advertise to a captured population, and then politicians saw fit to use this venue as a way of focusing on things other than discontent. Hero’s were promoted, hometown teams were promoted, and the owners of one club after another made money - lots of it.
But , what was lacking was an attention getter when the game, and the public, went elsewhere when the season ended. Ahhhh… a place to honor the Gods of the game, the hero’s that ran the sports page. And who better than to write about these public figures, these Gods of the skins, those that were bigger than life itself - you guessed it, the same promoters that made the sports pages in every major newspaper at the time.
The Baseball Hall of Fame, is nothing more than an Olympus for honoring the bravest of the brave, the men of white skin only at the beginning, then little by little the African Americans, the last but not least , the ladies of the game. Somewhere between the line, umpires and others were included. But in the final analysis, the Baseball Hall of Fame is riddled with honoring the whims and wishes of the passing of time and the prejudices and small mindedness of each generation. Now before someone claims a greater purpose of including more into the Hall with improved conditions - the bottom line of the income statement and balance sheet of the business pushed that, nothing else. The Negro League’s demise, and the inclusion of the Black Ball Player and similar people was to include tickets sales and again … promotions.
I look at the Baseball Hall of Fame as a unique and creative way of keeping ticket sales up at the ball park, collector’s inventories, magazines and so forth - nothing else.
Sure, great athletes are great athletes, and people who made contributions to the business , not the sport or game, are included. Too bad the fan is not reserved a spot, any spot… a broom closet even, right as you enter with a sign that says … all this wouldn’t be here without you … FREE ADDMISSION.