Since my initial posts (such as here and here) about the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s policy toward possibly opening its door to segregation-era African-American players, managers and executives, I’ve been soliciting some thoughts from various and sundry fans, officials and others who care about the shining, everlasting legacy and tradition of the Negro Leagues. For example, sometime next week I’m going to write a post about the ideas for blackball managers who might deserve to be in the HOF.
Below (in italics) are the reflections of Dr. Ray Doswell, the curator of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, who offers a unique take on the situation. It’s important to note that these are Ray’s personal opinions and not in any way an official statement or position of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. So, without further ado, here are his thoughts …
Having worked with the staff at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, I do believe these folks care about the history of the game and presenting all aspects of it. I consider them friends. I don’t think it helps “the cause” to shame or guilt the Hall into including more Negro Leagues players. Having said that, I would like to strongly encourage the Hall to consider the following:
• Create a consistent mechanism for Negro Leagues candidates. Once it was decided to include Negro Leagues players for induction, and taking into account the large number of players still worthy of review, something should be in place for them to be on a ballot. I field questions all the time at the NLBM from patrons as to why there is nothing in place more consistently. These other candidates at least deserve an honest vote, and I would hope that it would not be in just a “one off” ballot. There may be some way to create a committee with a start and sunset over a number of years perhaps? This is the only “classification” of players, currently included in the Hall, that does not get regular consideration.
• Clarify or explain the “Pre-Integration” committee selection process. This has been commented on a lot recently, but it appears confusing to the public that candidates being considered from this period do not currently include any players or officials from the at least the pre-integration Negro Leagues.
What do you think about Dr. Doswell’s suggestions? I’d love to hear from you!