Again, what matters to you? Should the Hall of Fame reward a long-term dedication to accruing counting numbers? Should it accurately tell the story of baseball? Should it grant entry to heroes who transcended on-field play, spreading their story? It should probably do all three.
So it's an odd oversight that Thurman Munson, the snarling face of the 1970s Yankees-Red Sox rivalry -- in its absolute heyday -- remains unrecognized.
When the game's other icons have passed away startlingly young, the Hall has opened its doors to them early, almost as a method of grievance. When Munson was tragically taken in a 1979 plane crash, the Hall didn't hold a special election, but waited until the 1981 cycle. He peaked at 15.5%, then dipped for 15 years before dissolving in the rain. Guess Munson should've compiled a decade's worth of middling seasons in the '80s like Carlton Fisk instead of passing away.
Munson's 11-year career might've been slowing down anyway at the time of his death, if his aching knees had anything to say about it. The 32-year-old had already built up an extremely impressive body of work, however, supplementing his iconography with 46.1 bWAR, a Rookie of the Year win, an MVP, two other top-10 finishes, seven All-Star Games, and batting averages of .529, .320 and .320 in his three World Series.
When the 1977-1978 Yankees needed a big hit, they relied on either Reggie Jackson to leave the yard or Munson to put together a grind-it-out at-bat to punish a tired pitcher. Both men earned their places in Cooperstown, and it's completely bizarre that no tragic exception was made for Munson. The voters made their voices heard for the 15 years from 1981-1995 and, quite frankly, they got it wrong.