by Mark Jent
Cooperstown is a special place. A tiny village tucked away in central New York, the residents of this baseball mecca number about 2,000 on a good day. You don’t just “happen upon” Cooperstown as all who come, have made it their destination of choice.
This past July I made my visit to the sacred grounds of Cooperstown when I took a half-dozen of us on a Simply A Fan trip to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Induction Ceremony Weekend. To describe it as magical is an understatement. To define it as just another town is blasphemous.
I am a magnet for the history of the game, therefore I find myself enthralled with the Hall of Fame and everything about it. My first trip last summer did nothing more than flame that fire and passion as it brought to life the hallowed halls where the ghosts of the game’s past come to life. I am in to it all…the gallery of plaques, the eras, the memorabilia and artifacts, the interactive exhibits, the book store and even the gift shop! I spent parts of three days and about fifteen hours total losing myself in the history of game and I still didn’t get to see everything I wanted to!
There have been over 19,000 men who have played Major League Baseball. Only 1% of them, or 226 to be exact, have a plaque in Cooperstown. (FYI – another 97 men who have been managers, umpires, executives, contributors or Negro League players have been inducted, bringing the total to 323.) It is these men who epitomize Cooperstown as they have been recognized as having reached the pinnacle of their career achievement in their chosen profession. The names of these men are synonymous with the institution, their awards are as long as the windy road through the Catskills Mountains to get there and their imprint on the national pastime is an indelible mark for generations to admire.
I not only am enamored with the current 323 members of the Hall of Fame, I am always ready to discuss (or debate!) the next 3 or the next 33 who I think are worthy of enshrinement. Although the final pitch of the World Series marks the end of that season, it also signifies that the upcoming Hall of Fame election cycle is only mere days away. So each November as the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) releases the official Hall of Fame ballot for next year’s induction class, I will find myself getting lost in a euphoria of potential debates on who are locks, who are borderline candidates, who are underdogs and who are one-and-dones. On Facebook the past few years I have conducted my own balloting fun with the Mark Jent & Friends Hall of Fame Voting and that has been so much fun! Now with simplyafan.com as as platform, I want to introduce the first annual Simply A Fan & Friends Hall of Fame Vote. So this is your chance to cast your ballot!
My rules to this procedure are slightly altered to the BBWAA:
- You are eligible to vote. Whoever you are, you are eligible.
- You must list your name. You cannot hide behind anonymity.
- You can vote for as many candidates as you wish. There is no “limit of 10” policy.
- You are voting on who are Hall of Famers in your book. You are not voting on who you think will get elected this year.
- Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose are eligible. Like it or live with it.
- A candidate still must attain 75% for enshrinement.
- Voting is open until Monday 10pm CST, January 21st
- Simply A Fan & Friends HOF Voting results will be released on simplyafan.com and social media on Tuesday, January 22nd by 1pm CST.
- The actual Hall of Fame results are set to be announced by HOF President Jeff Idelson on MLB Network on Tuesday, January 22nd at 5pm CST.
If you’d like to visit the Hall of Fame yourself, you should consider going on the Simply A Fan trip to Cooperstown that is set for May 24-27 for the Cooperstown Classic Weekend! To secure your spot, check out the 2019 Trip Schedule for more details.
Now step up to the voting box and click the big red button below to cast your HOF 2019 ballot!
Mark Jent is the chief trip planner and designated storyteller for Simply A Fan. He lives in Nashville with his wife Beth, and their three kids, Brooklyn, Harrison and Zach. He enjoys cheering on his Dodgers, reading baseball history, hiking at Radnor Lake and chasing waterfalls throughout Tennessee with his family. He launched Simply A Fan in July 2018 with the two-fold purpose of taking people on adventures to ballparks across the country and providing fans a platform to share their baseball stories. He is currently on a quest to meet as many of the living Brooklyn Dodgers as possible.