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Friday, August 23, 2013

A Columnist Takes Aim at the Writers

A columnist in the Sullivan County Democrat blasts the USHWA for not selecting Billy Parker Jr. for the Hall of Fame.  At the start of the column, Ken Cohen comes out guns a blazing....

You want to know why writers should never have anything to do with polling or Hall of Fame voting? Because they don't know enough. They are writers, and in many cases fans and wannabes. They are certainly not experts. 

Well, while I agree with some of Cohen's sentiments, I wouldn't go as far as he did.  Yes, some writers became racing writers because their assignment editor decreed them to be racing writers when they needed someone, but some of the writers and broadcasters, such as Kathy Parker and Heather Moffett chose racing because their families were involved in racing business so clearly some of them have the pedigree to have valid credentials. 

The problem is these days success is measured solely by dollars.  For example, when was the last time you saw a list of leading drivers in Hoof Beats at the end of the year broken down by the number of drives?  Almost every table of leading whatever is based on money earned.

Could you imagine if Baseball didn't consider players that didn't get a world series ring?  If that was the standard, then players like Ernie Banks, Andre Dawson, Ralph Kiner, and Ryne Sandberg would never have made the world series.  It's what the individual player did, not what championships the player won (though admittedly it makes it easier).  So to not allow a driver like Zeke Parker into the Hall of Fame because he didn't win the big stakes races doesn't hold water.  Unfortunately, money controls the sport.  They will sooner let someone into the Hall of Fame because they had the luck of having a trainer to buy a certain horse (and having the money to do so).

When you exceed over 11,000 wins in your career, it doesn't matter if you raced your whole career at tracks like the late Louisville Downs; you are Hall of Fame material.  Maybe one day the harness writers will come down of their perch and realize it.

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