New blog post: Selecting a Hall of Fame Team
(March 9, 2011) Selecting a team to honor as a Hall of Fame team can be a challenge. Is a team recognized for a singular achievement, such as a World Series championship or a MLS Cup victory, or can a team be honored for several seasons of superlative play, such as the NASL’s New York Cosmos of the late 70s or the New York Yankees of the 1950s? I want to discuss some of the variables that a Hall of Fame needs to consider as they approach honoring teams.
There are three elements, I believe, to working this challenge: 1) the eligibility criteria, 2) the election method, and 3) the method of honoring.
Among the questions one might ask in establishing criteria include whether one championship is enough, or are multiple championships required? Must the team be undefeated, set team records, or be of historic proportion in the objective statistics, such as all-time highs in wins, home runs, goals, or some other statistical category? And how long do we wait to evaluate a team’s standing? We wait around five years before considering players, but do we need more time for evaluating a team, for putting its accomplishments into perspective? Is ten years a better time frame? 20 years?
Deciding how to elect or select teams for honors is also a challenge. First, is it a “Hall of Fame” team, a “Team of Distinction,” or some other title? Some have expressed the opinion that Hall of Famer should only be attached to a player. What’s your thought? I believe the widest panel possible should elect the teams to be honored, but some think a knowledgeable small committee, perhaps of respected historians of the game, should be doing the selection. Others have advocated a combination, with the historians narrowing the field, and a wider panel choosing among those nominated by the historians. There are many permutations to the series of choices to be made on selection or election and each will need to be carefully considered and debated.
Finally, how does a Hall of Fame honor a team? Does it invite the whole team, the captain, the coach, or some combination of the above? If it is determined to honor a team for its accomplishments over several seasons (those 1950s Yankees or 50s-60s Celtics), who represents those teams if not everyone?
These are some of the challenging questions that will need answers as a Hall of Fame considers this popular option.
Jack Huckel, Founder & Principal of J.R. Huckel & Associates, offers election and induction consulting services to Halls of Fame. More information is available at the firm’s web site. Jack can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518/852-3033.