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Sports Then and Now



Pro Football Hall of Fame Committee Needs To Do Better Job 11

Posted on July 31, 2010 by Dean Hybl

If Floyd Little is deserving of Hall of Fame induction, then why did it take 35 years after his retirement for his name to be called?

This is the first of a series of articles we will post this week that will focus on the Pro Football Hall of Fame in preparation for the 2010 induction ceremony on August 7th.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductions next weekend will again be a special event as seven names will be added to the list of all-time greats.

For some players, such as 2010 inductees Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice, the wait for Hall of Fame selection is limited to only the mandatory five year waiting period. However, for others, including 2010 inductees Floyd Little and Dick LeBeau, the wait for the call from the Hall of Fame can sometimes take decades.

Later this week I will be posting my picks for the 10 players not in the Hall of Fame who are deserving of induction and the 10 players in the Hall that I think don’t really belong. However, in general I think the Hall of Fame committee has done a pretty good job of putting deserving players in the Hall of Fame.

Where I do think the Hall of Fame committee has been very weak is related to how long it often takes them to finally induct someone who we all know immediately is deserving of being in the Hall of Fame. There are far too many cases in NFL history of clearly Hall of Fame deserving players and coaches who have had to wait much longer than justified before being selected and thus not been able to fully enjoy the honor.

While I have long considered Little to be a borderline Hall of Fame candidate (I ranked him as the seventh most deserving running back last year when I picked the top 25 running backs not in the NFL) and I don’t think that LeBeau belongs simply based on his playing career (I ranked him as the 12th best defensive back not in the HOF), if they were going to get into the Hall I have a problem that it took more than 30 years after they became eligible for them to enter the Hall of Fame.

My personal “sniff test” for picking Hall of Famers has always been the following: At the time of their retirement were they considered someone whose Hall of Fame selection seemed inevitable? Read the rest of this entry →

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      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

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