It's hardly surprising that there would be parallels between the Baseball and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame. I mean, the R&R was sort of modeled on Cooperstown. There are the obvious choices: Beatles, Stones, Who, Zep-- Mays, Mantle, Mathewson. Buddy Holly and Honus Wagner. Dylan and DiMaggio. There are the WTF idiosyncratic inductees: seriously, The Dave Clark Five? Lloyd Waner? Really? The infuriating omissions: King Crimson, Jim Kaat. I have a son who has come preemptively to loathe the R&R HOF, because his favorite band is Collective Soul and he thinks that they won't make it when they become eligible next year. Sort of like Dwight Evans.
Just a little something silly, to distract us from, well, you know . . .
So, just goofing around, we developed a list of matched sets of current or potential HOFers. Of course, similarities between, say, Carlos Santana and Luis Aparicio are purely notional. This is just for silly fun.
One debate we've had is over the HOF candidacy of Billy Joel. His stats would make him an easy choice--all those hits, all those platinum albums. On the other hand, he's Billy Joel. My match for him is Steve Garvey. Nearly 2600 hits, so consistent, 25 home runs a year in a good pitchers park--while he was playing, he was often referred to as a lock HOFer. (Not so much anymore; we have better ways of looking at stats, nowadays. He wasn't that good--never walked, couldn't throw.) Plus he had that clean-cut All-American boy vibe. His teammates, we're told, called him Senator, because they thought he'd be one. Then, oh my, the revelations. A good sex scandal shouldn't cost a guy the Hall--it didn't seem to hurt Wade Boggs, for instance. But it hurt Garvey uniquely, I think, because it was SO at odds with his carefully cultivated pubic image. With Billy Joel, there's not really a big scandal hurting him. Just a sense that he's not as good as all that.
The R&R HOF is famously hostile to prog rock. You may think that reflects the basic good taste of its electors. But I grew up with Jethro Tull and Yes and ELP; my favorite band in high school was Gentle Giant, who I drove hundreds of miles to see on four memorable occasions. Just like, today, I love The Decemberists and Sufjan Stevens. I suggest that the Baseball HOF has a similar prejudice, for batting average and against OPS. I suggest various matched sets: Yes and Tull and Bobby Grich and Darrell Evans.
We've been trying to find the right match for Dave Kingman. It's not unimaginable that future generations might look at the 446 career home runs and conclude that Kong belongs. For awhile, I thought AC/DC might make a nice parallel. All those hits, all those songs, football stadia filled and groupies dated. They're huge. They're also AC/DC. They write songs on three themes: having sexual relations with attractive young women is fun, silly satanic references in our songs will make your parents really hate you owning this record, and three-cord blues-based rock is fun to listen to. That's it. Rock rocks, Sex is fun, and Lucifer chic. No way they belong in the Hall. Except they're in. So my current Kingman match is Motley Crue.
Anyway, it's sort of fun to play with. Match 'em up: The Big Bopper and Thurman Munson. James Brown and Reggie Jackson. Willie Mays and . . ., well there isn't a match for Willie Mays. Maybe all four Beatles.