I’d stumbled across The Hall of Miller and Eric a few times over the years, a blog in which two self-described “baseball obsessives” have built their own alternative shrine based on their analysis and methodology, mirroring the size of the actual Hall but doing their level-headed best to get it right. So of course I was down for a Q&A about The Cooperstown Casebook with HOME’s Eric Chalek. A taste:
Eric: Something cool about The Cooperstown Casebook was how many different perspectives you personally brought to the writing: Fan, critic, BBWAA member, researcher, analyst. Over the years, how have these experiences changed how you think about the Hall?
Jay: I’m not sure I’ve thought about it in quite those terms before, but I’d say that the different perspectives reflect my own growth and the expansion of my horizons. When I started writing about the Hall voting at Futility Infielder in the winter of 2001-2002, I was a moonlighting graphic designer, just a fan who wanted to share some of my knowledge and perspective while connecting with others.
Pretty quickly, once I brought the project to Baseball Prospectus in late 2003, I developed a more critical edge, and the backbone of this book is a few of the major beefs that I had with the Hall as it stood, namely the omissions of Bert Blyleven and Ron Santo and the mess that the Veterans Committee had made that had permanently compromised the Hall. Each of those topics has a chapter devoted to it in the first half of the book.
Eventually, I was able to devote myself to writing about baseball full time. Not only did I get to sharpen my analytical and researching skills, I was given a platform to produce what might be the largest annual volume of Hall-related writing at SI.com — my editor, Ted Keith, let me run wild with the topic in December, basically. I was admitted into the BBWAA (for 2011) and was eventually able to participate in a committee that examined the case for changing the voting process; I was involved in drafting the final proposal that was submitted to the Hall of Fame board of directors. The proposal was tabled, but BBWAA voters do read my work and sometimes cite it when explaining how they filled out their ballots.
I’ve gone from being a total outsider to something of an insider, even if I don’t yet get to vote.