Via the Daily Kos comes this report from ESPN's Jim Caple that George W. Bush is among 60 non-players being considered by a screening committee for inclusion on the Hall of Fame veterans' ballot. Caple gives this notion the dismissal it deserves, noting that FDR, Reagan, Nixon, and even George H. W. Bush have a better case for the baseball Hall of Fame than Dubya does.
The Veterans' Committee, I should note, has been the big black box of Hall of Fame ballotting for some time now. In the past, it was little more than 18 old ballplayers who got together and picked a supposedly deserving yet overlooked player who was no longer eligible for enshrinement. Unfortunately, since the committee met in secret, it was highly susceptible to lobbying by one guy on behalf of his cronies. As Bill James documented in his excellent history of the HOF The Politics of Glory, when Frankie Frisch was on the Veterans' Committee in the 1970s he helped induct quite a few of his teammates from the 1920s, many of whom (Jim Bottomley, Chick Hafey, Ross Youngs, etc) fall far short of standards.
The list that Caple writes about is part of an effort to de-emphasize this group, and a long overdue effort it is. Fortunately, the overall list is a lot more serious than the inclusion of Dubya would indicate, and the voters will have their hands full. I can see a few names that stand out to me (Gene Autry, Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog, and Marvin Miller are all good choices) and quite a few more that will send me scurrying off to do some research. I applaud the effort and am optimistic that the 15 finalists will all be worthy of consideration.
UPDATE: Edited to fix the parenthetical list of bad Hall of Famers. Thanks to Mac for the assist.Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 27, 2002 to Baseball