By Drew Markol, TSN Contributor - Archive - Email
Nobody asked me, but...
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Isn't it kind of sad when the Hall of Fame voting comes out for the various sports?

Please, let me try and explain.

No, I'm not talking about the sure-fire guys who almost from the minute they stepped on the diamond, basketball court, football field or ice, you knew were headed for greatness and enshrinement in their respective halls down the road. The Walter Paytons, Larry Birds, Wayne Gretzkys and Mike Schmidts of the world, few and far between, have never been in question.

It's the guys you see on the ballot every year just scraping by with enough votes to keep them eligible for the next time the vote comes around. A prime example this year, and every year has really good examples, is Dale Murphy.

Murphy was a tremendous player and probably a better person.

He could hit, hit for power (his opposite-field power was remarkable) and play defense in the outfield.

In today's game, a guy his size - 6-foot-5, give or take an inch - might be looked at more as a designated hitter. But that wasn't Murphy. He could play every facet of the game and play them really well. Just not well enough for Cooperstown.

And there's no shame in that. The shame will come when the, uh, alleged performance enhancing drug (PED) guys, many of whom had less talent than Murphy, find their way to the Hall. With any luck at all, those steroid guys will be kept out. Some will slip through the cracks, but making an example out of them would be quite refreshing.

The HOFs in any sport are for guys you can't wait to see throw the ball, skate down the ice on a breakaway or knock down a 16-foot jumper with the clock heading to zero (oh, one quick question, are there any guys today in the NBA who can steadily make a 16-foot jump shot? If there are, please let me know). Guys holding on, and it's through no fault of their own because they're not the ones voting, need to be lopped off the ballot completely.

This will be Murphy's 15th and last time that he's eligible. One has to think if he was going to get in, it would have happened one of those other 14 years.

There are reasons it didn't.

Now, one day, the Veterans Committee will have a chance to enshrine him. Well, frankly, the veterans committees that vote for the Halls need to go. If a player can't get in after 15 years, he shouldn't go in. Heck, give him five years. If he doesn't make it in five, then he isn't a true Hall of Famer. I'm not trying to diss the Veterans Committees, but I wonder how they can properly judge a candidate.

For example, Dick Stanfel, a guard who played for the Lions and Redskins in the 1950s, was on the most recent NFL Hall of Fame ballot.

Here was a guy who made five Pro Bowls and won two NFL Championships. That's pretty damn good in any era.

The thing I wonder about, though, is who can accurately remember him. Stanfel retired in 1958. That's 54 years ago.

You would need to have voters in their mid 80s, guys who saw him play, deciding on whether or not he should get in. Having guys in their 40s, 50s and 60s, who only saw players like him on grainy film, deciding their Hall of Fame fate isn't right.

Isn't it any wonder Stanfel didn't make the cut? No. It's not fair, but a lot of things aren't fair (another side note: I'd love to make all the voting numbers public so we could see who voted for whom. That would be interesting). And speaking of not fair, The Beastie Boys are part of the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction class. That alone says it all about Hall of Fame voting.

Drew Markol has been a sportswriter and columnist for several newspapers in the Philadelphia area for more than 25 years.

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