Thursday, February 17, 2011

Keltner Schmeltner, Pettitte Scones

Way back in pre-history, before the internet and talking super-computer proto-gods, Bill James published the 1985 Baseball Abstract. The Abstract was a running publication where internet dorks talked about statistics before the internet even existed. It was printed on mule-skin with ink condensed by stomping the fruit of thistleberries into a fine pulp. Notably, this had to be done while the thistleberries were still living and attached to the thistles, because it only makes ink if the berries scream for their lives as you stomp.

Anyway, in the '85 Abstract James published one of his more famous pieces - The Keltner List. The Keltner List was a simple, non-mathematical series of 15 questions fans could ask about any given player to determine whether or not he was worthy of enshrinement in MLB's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. It's still quite popular even today, 25 years after first publication, usually as a conversation starter for recently retired borderline players (Javy Lopez, Gary Sheffield, etc.) The list is also still useful for its original purpose from 1985, which was to ask in a somewhat obtuse way the question "Seriously, some nutters actually thought Ken Keltner was worthy of a HOF vote??"

Alas, 25 years is a long on passing time, and our current Twitter-driven dialogue is short on attention span. It seems the list might be in need of some updating. In the spirit of brevity, concision and open handed giving, I humbly suggest Keltner be replaced with my new list of fewer, less difficult questions. I call it The Pettitte List.

1. Q: Does Andy Pettitte deserve to be inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame? A: No.

Much simpler, no?

If required, The Pettitte List may be expanded into Facebook posts as follows.

2. Q: Would anyone other than mindless Yankee fanboys, paid Yankee media shills or Andy Pettitte's immediate family honestly believe Andy Pettitte deserves to be inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame? A: No, and his wife wouldn't vote for him either if it were a secret ballot.

3. Q: If Andy Pettitte gets elected to the MLB Hall of Fame, what would be the general reaction? A: Murray Chass.

Consider this an opportunity for education and advancement.

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