Friday, August 12, 2005

Hall of Fame

Martin and I spent the better part of our drive back from High Point talking about the ultimate Hall of Fame. Ultimate provides some unique challenges when it comes to figuring out who deserves to be enshrined. Martin and I came up with three big reasons people get inducted into various Sport Halls of Fame: 1) Championships 2) Crazy Big Stats 3) Changed the way the game was played at a particular position/dominated his position for an era. We pretty much know who was on the various Championship teams, so I think it will be an easy argument to get the top players from those teams into the Hall. The question of how you justify putting players in the Hall who weren’t on those top teams is more problematic. At this point ultimate has virtually zero recorded stats. Individual teams keep stats, but you can’t really use those as justification – there’s a big problem with knowing how good the data is from team to team. Beyond that, I question how meaningful the stats we keep really are. In terms of dominating a position for an era – that’s also a tough one. Ultimate really only has two positions at this point – handler and cutter.

In Atlanta we could only come up with one man (there’s probably a few women) who seemed like an obvious Hall of Famer – Stu Downs (if you’re reading sorry to make you the poster boy Stuart). We ran into a problem when we started to come up with a really strong argument to justify what seemed like our common sense view that Stu belongs in the hall. 1) He’s never won a championship. (Begin aside – Stu was on the Keg Workers when they won worlds, but there’s the question of whether that should count or not. This is especially true if you want to make the eligibility rule something like “a player becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame beginning five years after his final season in open/women’s.” If the eligibility rules view Masters as a game akin to Tennis’s Legends series it seems weird to give a player credit for a championship in that division - end aside).. Of course, he was able to get to natties numerous times and that should definitely count for something. 2) We don’t have any stats. 3) Maybe you could say Stu dominated the game at a specific position. He’s still one of the best middle middles around.

Another question we had was – could a player be eligible for the Hall purely based on what he/she did in the mixed division?

Anyway kind of a fun topic, if anybody has any thought let’s hear them.


Barrett said...

As far as Stu is concerned, he is probably THE best middle middle ever to play, and that alone might be enough -- e.g., there aren't likely many punters in the NFL HoF, but the BEST, like a Ray Guy, ought to be, even for a position of relatively limited scope.

Stu may have a unique case, though, as his greatest accomplishment (besides that called package in Savannah) is probably as an ambassador for the game and biggest reason, IMO, for what the ATL frisbee community is. Plus, he knows everyone. Maybe he'll get the vote down the road from the Old-Timers' Committee :)

parinella said...

Aside: eligibility is age-based.

And everything a player does in his career helps build his case. It's up to the individual voters to weigh how important a title or personal accomplishment in a lesser division like Masters or College ought to be.

ringo said...

As Rob said, Stu is the BEST middle middle ever to play the game. It's always been my understanding that Stu defined and changed the position. Just from the anecdotal evidence (and the small sample of his (and other's) play that I have seen), I would guess that no player has gotten more blocks from the middle middle position that the Wizard. This alone could be a reason for admittance.

Also echoing Rob, Stu's spirit is unmatched. He quelled the evil empire at Natties in '96. In an era where pushing and fighting was prevelant, Stu's unwavering belief in his opponent's ability to do Right, pushed the agro attitude to the side. He has impacted countless number of players about how to play the game and how to be a person. This kind of contribution may be overlooked when it comes to a big four sport HOF, but it shouldn't be overlooked in ultimate and certaintly not in Stu's case.

Lastly, whether or not he ever won a championship, Stu played at a competitive level for a long period of time and was a factor on every team he has ever played with.

When I think of a HOF type player I think of a player that people would or should talk about when they discuss the evolution and history of the sport. In ours, Stu meets those criteria.

p.s. The called package was unreal, but that's why he's the wizard. We've all seen him do ridiculous things on the field.

Jon said...

"called package"?

bluffton said...

I love the guy, but I'm saying questionable. Yea, he did a lot for the sport, but he was on teams where he made no impact, Atlanta Masters 2002, and others like Scooter from upstate NY players the Middle middle with similar Jedi skills. Stu, he is/was fabulous, and might even make ultimate 100 greatist (which is a testimate) but Hall material.. Not yet.