Curtis Granderson Should Be Inducted Into The Roberto Clemente Wing Of The Hall Of Fame
The National Baseball Hall of Fame is home to some of the worst human beings you can find. This despite the character clause being one of the considerations voters must take into account.
Cap Anson was one of the driving forces behind the ill-named “Gentleman’s Agreement” which attempted to keep black players out of baseball. He also went out of his way to personally vet the races of players to see who should and should not be allowed to share the field with him.
However, because he had 3,435 hits, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1939.
Then, there’s Tom Yawkey who was inducted for nothing other than owning the Boston Red Sox for 44 years. In that time, he fought against integration with the Red Sox being the absolute last team to sign a black player. During his time, Yawkey helped commit other vile acts like helping cover up sexual assaults.
At the end of the day, it’s difficult to reconcile having a Hall of Fame with people like Anson alongside truly great human beings like Roberto Clemente.
More to the point, it’s really difficult to reconcile a Hall of Fame which has a Tom Yawkey, but not a Curtis Granderson.
As noted by MMO‘s Michael Mayer, Granderson joins a group including Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and George Brett as the only four players in Major League history who have “at least 90 triples, 150 stolen bases, 315 homers, and .330 OBP.”
Despite these accomplishments, it’s unlikely Granderson gets inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player. However, that does not mean there isn’t room for him in the Hall of Fame.
Granderson is the only player in Major League history to be named the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award four times. That’s two more than anyone else.
Through his Grand Kids Foundation, Granderson has provided over 35 million meals to families in need and over $3.5 million to food banks. He’s also run summer camps and helped build facilitates to help expose children to baseball and a healthy lifestyle. This is just the tip of the iceberg on what he’s done to help people.
That includes his $5 million donation to the University of Illinois which was the largest donation an athlete has ever made to his alma mater. In addition to being used for Illinois baseball games, the field is also used for “hosting several area little league teams for games, camps and clinics.”
Through it all, Granderson is as good a human being as there has ever been to don a Major League uniform. When you combine on the field success with his off the field endeavors, he may be second only to Clemente.
When the Hall of Fame has wings which honor broadcasters and writers by name and displays baseball related art, there should be room to honor truly great human beings who have played the game.
More to the point, there needs to be room in the Hall of Fame for people like Curtis Granderson. It’s incumbent upon baseball to not let what he’s done fade away decades from now.
No, the Curtis Grandersons of this world are true role models, and baseball should honor them and uphold them as an ideal much like they do with people inducted as players. There’s room for a humanitarian wing. Let it be named after Roberto Clemente, and five years from now, let Granderson be the wing’s first inductee.