Take a second and think back to some of the highest artistic achievements you’ve seriously engaged with—The Brothers Karamazov, Mingus Ah Um, The General, whatever—and fix them in your mind, thinking about how they expanded your sense of human possibility. Now consider baseball Hall of Fame voter Steven Marcus’s ballot, which reveals that, confronted with a decision in which he was asked to pick up to 10 from among a list of 34 ballplayers up for election, with at least a dozen of them easy choices for the Hall and several more presenting very good cases—these are players ranging from Barry Bonds to Jeff Kent and including the likes of Roger Clemens, Manny Ramírez, and Tim Raines—our man decided that Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman were the two worthy of baseball’s highest honor.
Why did he pick Guerrero—a perfectly fine choice, to be sure, if possibly if not probably not one of the 10 best players he could have voted for—and a guy who may be the second-best closer on the ballot? I have no idea. All I know is that his choice was announced in strange fashion; that the equally strange, Hoffman-inclusive ballot he submitted last year was announced the same way; that baseball fans should probably not look to the judgments of veteran baseball writers to validate excellence; and that everyone should enjoy high art where they find it.