Unchecked institutions with absolute power are fertile feeding grounds for cynics, like me. One of the hallmarks of classic liberal thought is such entities are to be regarded with grave suspicion because of the potential danger they pose in a free society.
Yet such an institution offered an all to rare moment this week to surprise even the most hardened cynic.
Don’t worry, this is not a rant about politics. I’m talking about something much more important – baseball; specifically the announcement of the new Hall of Fame inductees.
This week Mariano Rivera became the first man unanimously elected to the HOF. The baseball writers who control access to Cooperstown had up until this week not agreed as a group that a specific player was deserving of the honor.
Really? Are we expected to believe that Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle…I could go on…should not have been unanimous choices?
Admittedly I’m not versed on the history of HOF voting. How the members of the first class were all not unanimous selections is beyond me. Maybe some tired broken down beat writer was pissed at Ruth or Cobb for not giving them an exclusive interview back in their day. Somewhere along the way the actions of a few petty writers at the launch of the HOF became enshrined as “tradition”.
When an institution like the baseball writers attempts to brand moronic group think as “tradition” it’s time for the rest of us to question why such a group of people have the sole power to anoint such an honor.
Yet this week the writers showed unexpected self awareness and did the right thing. Even the most hardened Red Sox fan would acknowledge the worthiness of Mariano Rivera for the Hall. Maybe the writers were concerned that continuing their inane tradition would lead to calls for a different mechanism for selecting honorees.
I don’t know why it happened. Regardless it’s a glimmer of hope. Unchecked institutions can reform. Leave it to the Sandman to be the impetus, he was the unquestioned source of hope for a generation of Yankee fans.
Rivera’s cut fastball wiped out hitters for a generation. Who knew it was good enough to also wipe out such a silly “tradition”?