Hill: What it takes to launch a Minor League Hall of Fame

From SABR member Benjamin Hill at MiLB.com on February 9, 2015:

Minor League Hall of Fame.

To some, this is an inherently contradictory concept. How can there be a Hall of Fame for individuals who competed within a professional baseball realm that, by its very definition, exists only as a proving ground and launching pad for greater accomplishment?

But this line of reasoning misses the point. Minor League Baseball has roots that date back to the 19th century, and all 14 of the leagues currently operating within it boast a rich history all their own. Nearly all of baseball’s immortals got their start in the Minors, and the accomplishments of individuals who posted great numbers while playing in a specific locale are worth remembering as well. And, of course, there are those who made a significant contribution in a non-playing capacity. Aren’t notable Minor League managers, umpires, owners and executives worthy of some sort of league-specific Hall of Fame recognition?

Such sentiment led 11 leagues within the Minors to establish their own Halls of Fame, all of which have been launched (or relaunched, in two cases) over the last 21 years. This can be a complex undertaking, fraught with confusion and contradiction. How does one establish the criteria for a Minor League Hall of Famer? What is the voting and induction process? And will this Hall of Fame occupy a physical space or simply exist within a virtual realm?

The latest circuit to grapple with such questions is the Double-A Southern League, which inducted its inaugural Hall of Fame class during the 2014 All-Star Game in Chattanooga, Tennessee. To get more information on the process, I spoke with Jason Compton, who heads the SL’s Hall of Fame Committee. The league’s efforts thus far serve as a useful case study on how to deal with the conundrum that is a Minor League’s Hall of Fame.

Read the full article here: http://www.milb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20150206&content_id=108480288&fext=.jsp&vkey=min_bus&sid=milb

Originally published: February 9, 2015. Last Updated: February 9, 2015.