About this time last year I made several comments about the election of Bert Blyleven to the Baseball Hall of Fame. I felt that while he was certainly a good pitcher, he was never a Hall of Fame pitcher. His stats, which have not changed since he retired, are more impressive today due to the current state of baseball; but during his career he would have hardly been called a dominant pitcher by anyone.
Today, the issue is once again raised as Ron Santo was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee. Santo was again certainly a good player during his day, but again, would anyone back then have considered him to be a Hall of Famer? His stats, which again have not changed since the day he retired, are once more being viewed in terms of today’s player, as opposed to what he actually did during his playing days.
I would also like to point out that there are many other players in the Hall of Fame, (Phil Rizzuto to name one) who I also do not believe belong there. How did they get there? Cronyism is definitely a reason, as is the current dilution of major league talent, and the taint of the steroids era. There is currently a trend among many to view yesterday’s players based on today’s players, and make comparisons that are both fair and unfair.
Regardless of what I think however, Ron Santo, Bert Blyleven and Phil Rizzuto, along with everyone else in the Hall of Fame is still there. Once you are elected, you are in for life. And regardless of what your stats were, or when you were elected or how you match up with any players today, all are called Hall of Famers. They can all sign autographs for the rest of their lives with the initials ‘H.O.F.’ after their names. And there is not a thing I, or anyone else, can do about it.
One could compare the Hall of Fame to heaven. The standards to get into heaven have been set quite high: God demands perfection. And yet, when we get to heaven, you may look around and ask yourself, ‘how did that person get here?’ The answer is that they got there the same way you got there: God said so. And once you are in heaven, you are there for life. No one gets thrown out of heaven because somebody else does not believe that you belong there. Once you are in, you are in for life. And forever will your name be followed by the phrase: ‘baptized child of God who having been redeemed by the blood of Christ, now dwells forever in the presence of the Lord God Almighty.’ And no one can take that away from you.
The Hall of Fame offers earthly rewards, and there are indeed some who have been snubbed who will hopefully one day be inducted. But the kingdom of God offers an eternal heavenly reward, where there are no snubs; God gets it right the first time, every time.