Baseball Hall of Fame: A better story

January 14, 2014 at 4:13 pm Leave a comment

Last week’s Baseball Hall of Fame voting stirred up a lot of dust.  Should suspected steroid users even be eligible?  Where do you draw the line?  And then there’s the controversy over who should vote.  At present, only sports writers are eligible to vote.  So when one eligible voter basically crowd-sourced his ballot, he got banned from voting.

I have a better story.  My late husband, Bob Gates, loved baseball.  He played it in pick-up games growing up in Cleveland and all the way through college.  He wrote about sports for the Miami University of Ohio college newspaper and was a stringer for several major papers in Ohio while still in college.

After college and a stint in the Army, he joined The Christian Science Monitor as a sports writer and moved into the Sports Editor position a few years later.  And so he was a life-long member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, entitling him to vote for potential Hall of Famers as long as he lived.

Last Thanksgiving, my family gathered at my home in Marblehead.  A few days before, my daughter called from Brooklyn and asked if I could find out if the club where her father had played tennis allowed guests.  She and her husband thought they’d bring along their rackets and get some exercise.

So I stopped by the little club where Bob had played for a number of years. It’s a modest building with just two indoor and two outdoor courts.  In the office, I found the only staff person around.  I asked if the club allowed guests and then explained that my husband had been a member there some years ago.  He assured me guests were welcome if courts were available and then asked who my husband was.  I told him and his face lit up.   He had known Bob and couldn’t say enough good things about him: what a gentleman he was and how much he enjoyed talking with him about sports (baseball in particular) and filling in as an occasional fourth for a match.

And then he told me this story:  When the Hall of Fame ballot arrived each year, Bob would bring it to the club and the two would sit down together, review the options and decide whom to vote for.  I think it was one of the highlights of the year for this man.  It was a kind gesture typical of Bob and I was glad to finally hear about it.



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“Hello, Judy” Two homes, both precious

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