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Hall of Fame Cred
Every sport, every industry, every group that holds any kind of reasonable mass appeal has a hall of fame, or something equivalent. The concept of a hall of fame is simple. It is a place dedicated to honoring the all-time greatest in the history of whatever it commemorates. Those honored are usually the history-makers of the sport or industry. They shaped the sport in some very memorable way.
The various registries and associations we give our hard-earned dollars to (in order to have the privilege of spending more hard-earned dollars through competition) have some sort of hall of fame. This alphabet soup of organizations recognizes the necessity of maintaining the history of their association by keeping alive the memory of the people and horses who helped make that history.
You would think that mission along with the criteria for selection would make the process fairly straightforward and simple, right? The hall of fame for any one of these associations would include every human or horse whose accomplishments warranted inclusion. The selection process would be be based on facts, not emotion. One would expect those in charge to look at the statistics and accomplishments of the individual while casting aside any ill-will, hard feelings, or personal grudges when voting yea or nea.
The fact is the hall of fame of any organization should feature the best of the absolute best. It’s not the cream of the crop, but rather the cream of the cream, the crème de la crème as the french would say. We are talking about those who rose above the top; the people and horses that are still household names, and always will be whether they are chosen to the hall or not.
It’s interesting to me how qualified individuals are left out of various halls of fame due to rumor or innuendo. Others are banished due to one bad moment in their career as if poor judgement in one incident permanently tarnished a lifetime of achievement. Players like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens may never see the Baseball Hall of Fame due to the claims of steroid use by those close to them or others in the sport. Pete Rose won’t see the hall because of gambling on the sport. Terrell Owens has been left out of the NFL Hall of Fame probably because of his unwillingness to be nice to the media. These are all players with stats and credentials equal to or better than others in their respective halls of fame, yet they have been denied enshrinement.
One can only assume why some horses and people who deserve to be in the various registries’ halls of fame have been left out. There are numerous iconic indivduals who have been denied access to the one thing that survives them and keeps them in the public’s mind forever. We’re talking about household names, record-setters, and history-makers. In some cases, we’re talking about horses and people who have statues commemorating their lives in our sport. But for some reason, the leaders of the organizations we support have found a reason to leave them out. Maybe their reasons are based on emotion, ill-will, hard feelings, or personal grudges, or maybe not. Maybe they lack the ability to cast aside one bad moment and see the value these people and horses added to our sport. Who knows the reason for their denial? Hopefully those casting future ballots will side with history rather than malformed righteousness.