I love the National Baseball Hall of Fame. I love the concept, the site in beautiful Cooperstown, N.Y. and the people who run it. I am sorry they will have no new living members to induct this year, but that will take care of itself soon enough.
There is another baseball shrine -- and Buck O’Neill, Shoeless Joe Jackson and Marvin Miller are already members.
It is the Baseball Reliquary, based in Southern California, and also a state of mind that honors great characters of baseball. I don’t see the Reliquary as a threat or protest toward the Hall of Fame, but any shrine that includes female umpires and flash-in-the-pan players and pioneer mascots deserves its own separate place in this huge complicated world.
Here is a column I wrote in 2009 when Steve Dalkowski – whom I once saw strike out Roger Maris in a spring training game – was to be inducted into the Reliquary:
Maris is also in the Reliquary for hitting 61 homers in 1961, long before the steroid generation.
Curt Flood, Pam Postema, Roger Angell and Ted Giannoulas, the great Chicken, are among 42 members of the Reliquary.
Voting is open again, not confined to baseball writers but open to anybody who pays $25 dues.
I cannot vouch for the Reliquary or tell you if $25 is a good investment. However, for that membership, you can vote for candidates who, in their own individualistic ways, contributed to the sport, including Conrado Marrero, Lisa Fernandez, Ernie Harwell and Pete Reiser and 46 other candidates.
Their very names make me feel warm all over, like dreaming of pitchers and catchers and the first day of spring training.
Here is the Reliquary web site and the current candidates:
Nothing against the Baseball Hall of Fame. Just different.
Your comments are always welcome.
David Vecsey's sweet tale of distant love before the Web, now NYT Podcast, narrated by Griffin Dunne. Please see:
George Vecsey is Hofstra University's Alumnus of the Month! Read a Q&A with George here.