My traditional view would be that I would never join any club that would consider having someone like me as a member, but I guess I have to admit (concede would be the better word) that I am a Reliquarian. At heart, at least, if not officially.
The Baseball Reliquary is this quirky and delightful organization that has created something called the Shrine of the Eternals, which it dubs as its equivalent to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Shrine has different criteria that are used to determine who gets elected (or even who is eligible to be elected), and thus their list of immortals differs rather dramatically from their more famous counterpart in Cooperstown, though there is some overlap.
Anyway, the Reliquary recently announced the 2010 Class (the top three vote getters earn election): Casey Stengel, Roger Angell and Pete Rose.
It was Stengel’s 12th year on the ballot (38 percent); it was Angell’s second year on the ballot after having appeared as a candidate in 1999. The author of the iconic Boys of Summer wound up with 31 percent of the vote, and Rose was third with 30 percent in his first appearance on the ballot.
So, along with making Pete a first-ballot enshrinee, the organization also adds two other great baseball names to an eclectic roster that almost certainly delights many baseball fans and perhaps bewilders a few. And that’s the way it should be.
Runners-up in the 12th annual election were: Dizzy Dean (29 percent), Maury Wills (29 percent), Ted Giannoulas (28 percent), Pete Gray (25 percent), Ernie Harwell (23 percent), Don Zimmer (23 percent), Jim “Mudcat” Grant (22 percent), Dr. Frank Jobe (22 percent), Luis Tiant (22 percent), Charles M. Conlon (21 percent), and Effa Manley (21 percent).
You gotta love a lineup that includes a couple of guys that ought to be in that other Hall of Fame (Wills and Tiant), a Chicken, a one-armed guy, an orthopedic surgeon, and a pioneering photographer.
Stengel, Angell and Rose will join 33 baseball luminaries previously elected to the Shrine, including in alphabetical order: Jim Abbott, Dick Allen, Emmett Ashford, Moe Berg, Yogi Berra, Ila Borders, Jim Bouton, Jim Brosnan, Bill Buckner, Roberto Clemente, Steve Dalkowski, Rod Dedeaux, Jim Eisenreich, Dock Ellis, Mark Fidrych, Curt Flood, Josh Gibson, William “Dummy” Hoy, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Bill James, Bill “Spaceman” Lee, Roger Maris, Marvin Miller, Minnie Minoso, Buck O’Neil, Satchel Paige, Jimmy Piersall, Pam Postema, Jackie Robinson, Lester Rodney, Fernando Valenzuela, Bill Veeck, Jr., and Kenichi Zenimura.
As the list illustrates, if you like baseball for being baseball – with all that the game represents, you’ve gotta visit www.baseballreliquary.org, assuming that you can’t easily get to the South Pasadena (Calif.) Public Library, where so many of the organizations exhibits and artifacts on routinely on display.
The latest is a tribute to “one of the most ubiquitous and instantly recognizable American pop culture artifacts, the baseball trading card.” Entitled “Son of Cardboard Fetish,” the exhibit runs through June 30 at the South Pasadena Public Library, 1100 Oxley St., South Pasadena. Admission is free.
I’ll have more on that tomorrow, but offer a teaser image here of digital artwork courtesy of Jon Leonoudakis, from his “Baseball Card Villains” set.