Graham Womack has long been one of my favorite writers. To me, a great writer makes you think and Womack’s projects usually do just that. A while back, he created a poll to consider the 25 most important people in baseball history. He included a ballot online which anyone was able to go and vote. While this led to 262 votes, it’s possible that a percentage of those who voted would not have the perspective to view baseball history as a whole. No matter. There were enough voting who did. I participated and I’ll let you decide where in that category I fit!
What it got correct
The list began with Babe Ruth at Number One and Jackie Robinson at Number Two. I think that’s just perfect and as it should be. The list also included Branch Rickey, Marvin Miller, Hank Aaron, Dr. Frank Jobe, writer Harry Chadwick and others deserving recognition to be there.
Where it erred
In my judgement, Connie Mack and Joe McCarthy did not belong on the list. Cy Young has long been overstated. I thought Ted Williams and Willie Mays were too high on the list. The top 25 did not include pioneer owners that opened up the West Coast, other owners such as Ted Turner and George Steinbrenner who brought huge money into the game via connection to cable television and bravado. I also think that Hideo Nomo is overlooked because he opened the door for the flood of Japanese players that began to stream onto this continent to play. Once again, Larry Doby is overlooked.
But the project was indeed useful and fruitful and thought provoking. So Graham Womack succeeded greatly in promoting, implementing and then writing about the idea and results. It’s well worth the read and the time. I highly recommend you check it out.