Who and What Belong in the Hall


Records, the sports sages insist, are made to be broken.

I beg to differ.

The major league baseball record for consecutive no-hit games is two and it is held by Johnny Van der Meer. In order for someone to break that record, a pitcher will have to throw three straight no-hitters.

Ain't ever gonna happen.

One of my favorite golf records is the one for single-season top 10s. In 1945 Harold 'Jug' McSpaden collected 31 top 10s. Part of the reason that record has been largely ignored is because Byron Nelson happened to win11 straight times and capture 18 firsts that same season.

I won't argue if you say nobody will ever break Nelson's record of 11 straight. But I guarantee no one will knock The Jugster out of the picture by posting 32 top 10s in one PGA Tour year.

All of which brings us, in a roundabout kind of way, to the World Golf Hall of Fame and the 2005 PGA Tour ballot recently mailed to a select group of voters, of which I happen to be a fortunate one.

McSpaden is one of 22 players on the ballot. The others, in alphabetical order, are Miller Barber, Bob Charles, Fred Couples, Doug Ford, Hubert Green, Don January, Lee Janzen, Tony Lema, Davis Love III, Larry Nelson, Mark O'Meara, Henry Picard, Denny Shute, Vijay Singh, Macdonald Smith, Dave Stockton, Curtis Strange, Ken Venturi, Lanny Wadkins, Craig Wood and Fuzzy Zoeller.

On my ballot I can select up to seven players. I can name fewer than that if I choose. Every nominee whose name shows up on 65 percent or more of the ballots returned gets in the Hall. If nobody gets 65 percent, the player receiving the highest percentage that year is inducted (providing his name showed up on at least half the returned ballots).

It is interesting to note that Kite finished first on the 2004 PGA Tour ballot and was the only player inducted. Strange was second but didn't get enough votes to gain entry. Singh, making his first appearance on the ballot, wound up 16th out of 25.

Singh went on to have a monster year after the spring voting deadline and almost certainly will be elected this year. Which will make it tougher for guys like Strange or the very-deserving Nelson or semi-forgotten old-timers like Picard and Shute.

My ballot is due March 28. I continue to research and study. Already I have decided to vote for Singh, Picard, Shute and Nelson. I will probably add Lema to that list, which gives me two more picks to ponder if I want them. Green and Charles, I believe, should be in the Hall of fame sooner rather than later.

Love and Couples will make it one day. Strange and Wadkins are deserving, but tough to predict.

Finally, it's also interesting to note that, according to World Golf Hall of Fame officials, no PGA Tour player has ever made it into the Hall on his first appearance on the ballot as the voting is now conducted.

That, of course, will change with Tiger Woods. But we will have to wait 10 years. The rules say you must be 40 to enter.

As for Jug McSpaden, his chances of making the Hall are marginal. But his top-10 record remains one of the best in all of golf. And, to repeat, nobody will ever break it.

Maybe they should put his record in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
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