Jan 5, 2011, 7:14 PM EDT
I was more than a little surprised and underwhelmed, though, when I tore the thing open and for the first time in my life held a Hall of Fame ballot in my hands. Wait, this is it? A photocopied, 8½ x 11-inch sheet of paper with 33 names and boxes next to each one to be checked? If you saw it from a distance, you might have mistaken it for a fourth grade math quiz.
The form itself may have been underwhelming; the task of filling it out was anything but. As I scanned through the names of the retired players eligible for election to Cooperstown, two thoughts came to mind:
1) This is the coolest thing ever.
2) This is the most terrifying thing ever.
Since joining the BBWAA a decade ago, I'd anticipated this moment — you must be a member for 10 consecutive years before becoming a Hall of Fame voter — but I didn't fully appreciate just how daunting the responsibility is until it was finally thrust upon me. Seriously, who am I to judge how these ballplayers will be remembered for all eternity?
And that's how I'd feel if I was judging them strictly on their performance between the lines. That, of course, isn't the case. Voters are instructed to consider six criteria when evaluating a player's candidacy: his playing record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character and contributions to the team(s) on which heRead more »
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