Did Hall of Fame founders want voters to judge with their eyes?

From SABR member Lewie Pollis at Beyond the Box Score on January 25, 2012:

More than a fortnight has passed since Barry Larkin was announced as the BBWAA’s sole (regular-ballot) choice to be inducted into the hallowed halls of Cooperstown in July, but the memories of this year’s version of the annual Hall of Fame debate firestorm remain.

Potential dopers aside, the most controversial candidate on this year’s ballot was Jack Morris. In general, he had the support of writers who view the game more traditionally, while sabermetrically inclined analysts seemed to think he fell short. But beyond the tired arguments about whether a great Game 7 is more important than an underwhelming ERA+, there was another issue in play: Many of Morris’ supporters cited his alleged intangible aura of greatness that could be understood only by having seen him pitch in a big game. As Jon Heyman so stridently put it:

i love the folks who never saw jack morris pitch who are certain he isnt hall of famer bec their stat guru said so

I bring this up not to malign Heyman but because it betrays a mistaken assumption about the balloting process: that writers’ own observations of players were expected to be primary factors in their votes.

Read the full article here: http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2012/1/25/2731552/did-hall-of-fames-founders-want-voters-to-judge-with-their-eyes

Originally published: January 27, 2012. Last Updated: January 27, 2012.