During a Sunday morning interview on “The Front Office” on SiriusXM, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made a profound statement. Hardly a baseball newbie, the 15-year GM told a pair of former peers, Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden, that sabermetric pioneer Bill James deserves consideration for Baseball’s Hall of Fame due to James’ considerable contributions to the game. (You can listen to the audio of Cashman’s comments here)
Those of us who play fantasy baseball can certainly appreciate the importance of analytics. After all, it is the basis for all we do.
It took longer for the game itself to embrace “stats.” While the divisive “scouts versus stats” arguments may still continue in some dusty corner of the baseball world, analytics are clearly mainstream.
Every one of the 30 Major League organizations has some variant of an analytics function with the most recent high-profile analyst hiring being Tom Tango by the Chicago Cubs.
Even though Cashman’s idea will likely not progress beyond the discussion point anytime soon, it led me to wonder which committee would even consider the matter.
The Hall has three committees to review non-player candidates on a three-year cycle, with the voting held during the Winter Meetings. The Pre-Integration Era Committee (through 1946) met in December. The Golden Era Committee (contributors from 1947-72) last voted in 2011.
The Expansion Era Committee – which met previously in 2010 – will next consider candidates in 2013 whose main career contributions came from 1973 through the present. This seems to be where James’ hopes would reside.
The odds against such an induction are extremely high. Only 33 executives (and 20 managers) in the history of the game have plaques in Cooperstown. No coaches or scouts have even been inducted.
Still, the fact that a well-respected, championship general manager - of a club that happens to be James’ employer’s most hated rival - made such a declaration really says a lot, doesn’t it?
Brian Walton was the 2009 National League Tout Wars champion, scoring the most points in the league’s 14-year history. Though he is the only one to remember or care, he also finished second in each of the two subsequent seasons. His work can also be found daily at TheCardinalNation.com and thecardinalnationblog.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.