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The Reich Framework

It is no exaggeration to state that several dozens of players produced at least "outstanding" careers during our review period (1901-1972).  No one believes all or even most of such players are  Hall qualified. In fact, many followers of the Hall believe that Hall membership is too high. Being "outstanding" is not enough.

Under the existing precedents, only a few players really deserve any chance for induction.  Candidates must be examined, not in isolation but in the full context of relevant members and candidates.

I identify viable Hall of Fame candidates according to a framework of analysis.  No formula known to me serves the purpose. The framework is based on actual Hall of Fame precedents, particularly precedents relating to the most achieving H/F members.  Candidates are examined according to the relative strengths and weaknesses in eight or nine primary evaluation areas.

For our seven-decade review period, the Hall includes approximately 142 members, close to 20 per decade.  Some evaluators believe the number is much too high.  Whether that average is too high or about right, there can be no question that almost all of the members at the lowest end of the H/F performance hierarchy were inducted at second stage by one of the committees.

My framework rests of two cornerstones.  First, under the rules, voters can support only a maximum of 10 in any one election and are probably discouraged from supporting the maximum because of other procedures.  Therefore, no matter how many candidates we admire, only a maximum of 10 have theoretical chances for success at this time.  For practical reasons, most candidates, particularly pre -1961 candidates, not ranking top 10 now, probably never will be inducted.

The second cornerstone involves players ranking among the part century's top 100 players regardless of leagues or positions. At the end of the century, many evaluators produced lists of the century's top 100 players.  Although there are differences of opinion, particularly as to exact rankings, I find considerable consensus as to most of the players from the review period belonging somewhere in the group.  About half of the 142 Hall members from the review period have considerable support for top 100 rankings. These players also provide guidance as to others who should be considered.

These cornerstones relate in ways, which define the process. To rank top 10, candidates must present exceptional credentials.  For most members, credentials of such quality tend to include characteristics of top 100 players, even if the candidates don't rank top 100. The search is for "extreme" features.  As a shorthand description, I would say the most viable candidates are those most strongly linked to the most highly ranked members such as top 100.

In short, for this purpose, I usually find it unnecessary to compare candidates to members ranking at the lower end of the H/F performance hierarchy.

* Ed Note: The Reich Framework presented here is intended as a synoptic overview for the web. For a much more in-depth and detailed explanation, Order the book here.

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