The 2007 inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame are Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn. For those of you who don't follow the game, Ripken holds the record for consecutive games played, surpassing the old record held for over 60 years by Yankee great Lou Gehrig. Tony Gwynn is the best hitter for average in the past 30 years, having won the National League batting title seven times in his career. In an era of free agency where good players are often tempted away from teams by the lure of big money, Ripken played his entire career in Baltimore and Gwynn was a San Diego Padre from rookie year to retirement. Besides statistical excellence, both are mensches.
The 2007 inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame are guard Gene Hickerson, wide receiver Michael Irvin, offensive lineman Bruce Matthews, tight end Charlie Sanders, running back Thurman Thomas, and cornerback Roger Wehrli. Even if you are a fan of pro football, I give you leave to ask "Who dat?" about Hickerson and Wehrli. I only remember Wehrli because his last name is goofy.
Irvin is the most deserving of this bunch for his play on the field, given his contribution to an era of Dallas Cowboy excellence along with teammates Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith. Off the field, he was a pompous hypocrite and drug addict scumbag. Think Rush Limbaugh with actual talent.
At the ceremony, he wept openly and asked for forgiveness from those he hurt most, his wife and kids. This also separates him from Limbaugh in that he has a conscience. I say good on ya, Michael, and this from someone who hates the Dallas Cowboys with every fiber of my being.
The main point of my post is this. The Baseball Hall of Fame is just that. It is where the players that far surpassed their colleagues are enshrined forever and the bar for inclusion is set sometimes cruelly high. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is a Hall of Pretty Good. Football itself has a cruel hierarchy of who can be famous, where a pretty good player at a "skill" position will be much more famous than an excellent player whose job it is to beat other big people up.