New Blog Post: What To Do?
(May 24, 2011) The election/selection process is over and the Induction Class is set, but you have a gnawing feeling that the process didn’t quite get it right. The reaction has been virtually universal that a “no brainer” somehow didn’t make the class. What to do? How does a Hall of Fame respond to such a circumstance?
Obviously, it must not be a knee-jerk reaction. Rather the issue needs to be discussed thoroughly and at the highest levels. For the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, it happened in 2006 when the Hall of Fame asked select baseball historians to review the Negro Leagues and to create a special class to honor the players and builders of that era. The well respected John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil, as was reported then and as recently reprised in Steve Penn’s May 20th column for the Kansas City Star, did not receive the necessary 75% of votes cast to meet the Hall’s election criteria. What Buck O’Neil accomplished over eight decades of baseball was well known, but the value of his contributions was in the combination of playing, coaching, managing, and scouting, as well as working to establish the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, MO. No one element stood out, but, in total, the achievements were truly remarkable.
How did the Hall of Fame respond? As National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum president Jeff Idelson related when he visited the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum last week, the Hall of Fame Board of Directors discussed the impact O’Neil had on Baseball and went on to create in 2008 a named award, the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award and honored O’Neil as its first recipient, an innovative approach to honoring an individual who deserved recognition yet didn’t quite fit the profile of any of the traditional categories.
What are your options? A presentation like the O’Neil Award isn’t the only alternative. Creative thinking, engagement of key supporters and deep discussions will help you find a solution.
Jack Huckel, Founder & Principal of J.R. Huckel & Associates, offers election and induction consulting services to Halls of Fame. Jack served the National Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum as Director of Museum and Archives for 9-1/2 years after more than 10 years as a volunteer. More information is available at the firm’s web site. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518/852-3033.