From SABR member Graham Womack at The Sporting News on March 31, 2017, with mention of SABR member Bill James:
A few days ago, MLB.com columnist Joe Posnanski sent a series of tweets from the Hall of Fame, ending with the following.
Last one — may there be a plaque like this soon for my friend @billjamesonline.
It got me thinking. Since Henry Chadwick’s selection to Cooperstown in September 1938, it’s seemed aberrational. Chadwick was a 19th century journalist, pioneering statistician and arguably one of baseball’s founding fathers. But enshrinement’s typically restricted to players, managers, umpires and executives. In fact, at quick glance, Chadwick might be the only Hall of Fame selection to fall outside of these realms (though parallels could perhaps be drawn with two other pioneers honored, Al Spalding and Alexander Cartwright.)
In the years since Chadwick’s enshrinement, Hall of Fame committees have only rarely nominated similar candidates, such as Alfred Reach, a 19th century sporting goods magnate known to have been a Veterans Committee nominee in 1963 and a Pre-Modern Era Committee nominee in 2013. Doc Adams fell a vote shy in December 2015, a reminder that the Hall of Fame might be one of the most conservative institutions in sports, hesitant to insitute change at anything more than a glacial pace. Unconventional candidates have no easy time of it.
Originally published: March 31, 2017. Last Updated: March 31, 2017.