Hall of Fame: One Man's Ballot

Posted in Event Coverage on June 15, 2005

By Wizards of the Coast

Brian Schneider, Wizards R&D/Former Pro Tour Player

Magic Pro Tour Hall of Fame

Editor's note: Over the course of the voting, we will occasionally be posting ballots of voters who wish to make their choices public, along with any additional analysis they used to come to their decisions. If other Selection Committee members wish to provide analysis and explanation of their votes for publication, click here.

I did a lot of thinking on which factors to take into account for each candidate.

Total Performance: 60% (Includes PT Points, Median Finish, the Type 1 Pro Tour, Juniors, Masters, Euros, Nationals and Years in the Money)

Contribution to the Game: 25% (Writing, Personality, Organizing Tournaments, Running a Store, Editing a Magic Site, Fun for the Community, Integrity, Fame, Deckbuilding)

Experienced Player Vote: 15% (I polled 13 long-time followers of the Pro Tour including Ben Bleiweiss, Seth Burn, Jeff Donais, Nathan Heiss and Pat Chapin and included their votes with mine)

1. Jon Finkel

According to my numbers, Jon was almost two times as good as anyone else on this ballot. When I included bias from outside voters, that margin slimmed... Jon is currently a "Robert Dougherty" better than Mike Long.

Jon has multiple Juniors Top 8s. Multiple U.S. Nationals Top 8s. Multiple Masters Top 4s. Multiple PT Top 8s. Multiple GP Top 8s. And the list goes on...

Jon received the most points in this category: I Wouldn't Want to Play Against Them in a Tournament.

He also earned the top spot in Babe Ruth Factor. After all, he is the Babe Ruth of Magic.

2. Mike Long

A lot of people asked me not to vote for Mike Long. I understand why they did.

I overheard the argument, "Pete Rose and Joe Jackson aren't in the Baseball Hall of Fame, why should Mike be?" My answer? Mike doesn't play baseball. This isn't the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Baseball Hall of Fame is by no means perfect (I could rant about this for days), and should *not* serve as a model for how a Hall of Fame should work. Pete Rose and Joe Jackson, in my opinion, *should* be in the Hall of Fame.

Regardless, Mike is much more like Ty Cobb than Pete Rose. Ty, like Mike, was banned from his game for a short while before the commissioner concluded there wasn't enough evidence to keep him out of baseball. I could have cut Mike and the rest of the "known cheaters" from the list. I thought about it. I decided to vote for the people who were most deserving based on the criteria above, instead. If it makes you feel better, Mike didn't get any points for Integrity.

Being a great player should still count for something... significant.

3. David Humpherys

In my opinion, all of the Your Move Games group are deserving of HOF induction. Dave gets my vote for this round.

Surprising to me, Dave received the third-highest total for U.S. Nationals points. He's also finished in the money nine years in a row. That's the highest count of any player on this list.

At a New York Magic tournament, before the days of the Pro Tour, Darwin Kastle introduced a quiet, reserved guy as, "my mentor -- the best player I know." That guy was David Humpherys. He now might be the best player we know. If he's not the best, he's certainly very high on the list.

4. Alan Comer

Alan Comer is my ideal candidate for the Hall of Fame. I love everything he stands for. He's fun and wacky. He can alter entire formats with his deckbuilding skills. He was an excellent, honest player and had very strong showings. He currently makes a significant contribution to the game. A winner in my book.

5. Tommi Hovi

Two PT wins. Sixth in lifetime PT points (of the initial class). The best median finish.

Those I didn't vote for, in order of the "most deserving," below:

6. Darwin Kastle

As I mentioned earlier, Darwin deserves to be in the HOF. I'll be surprised if he doesn't make it in this year. If he doesn't, he'll have my vote next year.

I hear a lot of people say that Darwin isn't a good player. I think that's because he makes a lot of decisions other people wouldn't make. Mike Pustilnik had the same reputation. Zvi, too. They all have excellent results (considerably better than those who criticize them).

What I've learned from my years as a Magic player is this: if someone's making strange decisions and winning because of it, you should play against them as much as you can and figure out why they're doing what they're doing. The people that get mocked for being odd (or even bad) are often the people we can learn the most from.

7. Scott Johns

Type I Pro Tour helped (it wasn't worth an entire PT in my calculations -- more like a GP). Editing a number of websites also helped. He also has a fine resume as a player.

8. Chris Pikula

Chris makes the Pro Tour much, much more fun. He received my highest value for Fun... which was worth a lot. Unfortunately his resume as a player isn't that strong. Fun moved him up over some very good players.

I wouldn't be surprised if Chris made it to the HOF this year. It's not a stretch.

9. Mark Justice

One of the most famous players of all-time despite his relatively short career. He was helped most by EPVs. I had him quite a bit lower, personally.

10. Rob Dougherty

Rob's not going to want to read this. Rob was on just one of the 13 EPVs (and he was last on it). He was in my personal top 5. Easily the player hurt most by EPVs.

Rob, like his YMG counterparts, deserves to be in the HOF. He's made very significant contributions to the game.

11. David Price

Clearly gets the Integrity vote. As Bill James evaluated Don Mattingly, Dave was similarly "100% Ballplayer. 0% Bullshit." Dave doesn't have a strong playing resume, but he contributed significantly while he was playing. He received my highest grade for Contribution as a Player.

12. Brian Hacker

Similar to Pikula. Doesn't have a strong enough playing resume to be on the first ballot. I would guess that he probably won't make it on any ballot. It's a shame though, as he definitely makes the Pro Tour more fun to watch.

13. Steve O'Mahoney Schwartz

Before I got to working on a spreadsheet I thought Steve O had a strong case. Now, after looking at things a bit closer, not so much. As they say in the Magic circle, a fine player, a good man. But I can't see voting for him on the first ballot.

14. Olle Rade

Olle was one of the big stars of the game early on. I know other people are going to vote for him and I don't try and dissuade them. If you're voting based on "star power" alone, Olle deserves a vote. As a player, Olle was very strong. But his career was pretty short and that hurts him. He, like Dougherty, went down a bit when EPVs were included in my calculation.

I believe he has a pretty good shot at making the HOF this year, despite my low ranking of him.

15. Tom Guevin

Tom had a lot of "almosts." Many top 16 finishes. I think the Pro Tour is better with him than without him. But I'll be surprised if he actually gets into the HOF.

16. Mike Pustilnik

Mike is the player on this list I met first. We faced off in the finals of an early tournament near the University of Maryland. He won. Actually, he destroyed.

Mike was way better than me at the time, and from then on, whenever I had the opportunity, I took to learning as much as I could when playing against him. He was unorthodox, but a good kind of unorthodox. Definitely outside-the-box.

His median finish isn't good. But he did put up some nice wins.

17. Svend Geertsen

Svend was supposed to be the third with Mike Long and Justin Gary for the first team Pro Tour. Svend couldn't make it, so I got the call (I don't understand the logic either). Svend was, the one time I faced him, a much better player than I was.

18. Jakub Slemr

If someone gets in "by accident," I hope it's Jakub. I'd like to see him playing again. He had a rare appreciation of everything Magic is.

19. Gabe Tsang

Underappreciated. Probably should be higher on this list, but not by much. The player from this list most likely to help himself in the next few years.

20. Shawn "Hammer" Regnier

Owns a store, which gets him some points. He had an incredible first year, a fun arm-wrestling history and was an early superstar. Then the second year of the PT hit. Others I know are considering voting for him... so he definitely made an impression.

21. Gary Krakower

If Krakower lived in Seattle, I'd invite him over to play cards from time to time. One of the guys from the PT I genuinely liked.

He had integrity and played the game with unique style, one that was easy to appreciate (he was pretty "rogue"). He'd play weird decks and somehow turn out decent finishes with them.

22. David Bachmann

Dave was one of the most feared players in the early days of the Pro Tour. He isn't going to make the HOF, but he was excellent.

23. Matt Vienneau

I love Matt's current series of articles. I didn't expect him to have 100 PT points. But he does, and because he's always contributed to the community as a writer, he gets some love.

24. Satoshi Nakamura

Cool deckbuilder. Cooler hats. I know others are looking at voting for Satoshi, and I think he'd be a fun PT mainstay, but he's not close to a HOF-quality player in my book.

25. Peter Leiher

The first time I met Pete I really disliked him. That first time lasted for about two years. Then something changed, and he was much more likable after that. He isn't going to make the HOF, but was a fine player.

26. Terry Tsang

8 years in a row with a money finish. Terry was underrated as a deckbuilder. I playtested against him a bit and was impressed.

27. Peer Kroger

I was pleased that he did well at Worlds a few years ago. A nice surprise.

He's a few good years short of being worthy of a vote, however.

28. Kurt Burgner

Of all of these guys, I know of him least.

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