Joe Hauck, Vice President of Marketing, Wizards of the Coast
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.
First off, I'd like to thank the Selection Committee to Select the Hall of Fame Selection Committee for selecting me to the Hall of Fame Selection Committee. Secondly, I'd like to thank Microsoft Word for helping me make that last sentence grammatically correct.
In all seriousness, being a part of this process has allowed me to reflect on my almost 10 years at Wizards and all of the fond memories I have of Magic, the Pro Tour, and the World Championships.
For example, I remember when a slightly bewildered Mr. Rade called in to find out if it really was true that his son Olle had won the Pro Tour. It was Monday, and apparently Olle hadn't called home yet.
Or the 1999 Worlds in Yokohama where I watched Randy Buehler get an unsportsmanlike warning for brow-beating Sigurd Eskelund for hate-drafting against him after Randy had built and lent Sigurd an Extended Deck for the following day. (Note, Randy got over it and still let him use the deck...)
Or the first time I met Jon Finkel at Worlds 2000 in Brussels, whereupon meeting me he said "Oh, you're the suit. Hey, thanks for paying us to play Magic." To be fair, it's not me per se who awards the prize money for the Pro Tour, it's Wizards of the Coast, but I certainly appreciate the sentiment. You're welcome, and thank you all for too many great memories to share in one article.
So on to what you really want to know, who am I picking?
Being a suit and all, I couldn't imagine doing this in any way other than how I do my normal job. So, I whipped out Excel and started building my own spreadsheet. I used the information on the website and built my own matrix of information to analyze the class of aught five.
|Place||# of PTs||PT Top 8s||Top 8 Average||GP Top 8s||Pro Points||Avg Points|
Looking through the different categories, I decided to throw some of them out. Median Finish? Whatever. Tiger Woods has missed a cut (once) and Andre Agassi has lost in the first round of major tennis tournaments, and both of them will be in their respective Halls of Fame or equivalents after they retire. Plus, I felt that the Top 8 Average already tracks the essence of quality finishes. I also threw out Pro Tour Winnings as I felt that the essence was covered in other categories and knowing that we have raised prize payouts over the years, this would give an unfair advantage of people who played farther forward in time than those who played only in the formative years of the Pro Tour. I then took the top six in each remaining category, assigned points from 6 to 1 for first through sixth place and discovered something very enlightening:
Mike Long was nowhere to be found!
Yes, with all of the controversy surrounding the topic of Mr. Long, I couldn't resist putting my two cents in. I've heard one argument floating around the office; the Baseball Hall of Fame has Ty Cobb and Magic has Mike Long.
Newsflash: Mike Long is no Ty Cobb.
Let's put this into perspective. What do Mike and Ty actually have in common?
Ty was suspected of throwing games but was never caught.
Mike was caught red-handed with one of the crucial cards that would make his deck go off sitting in his lap at a premier event.
Ty was considered a mean player because he slid in with his spikes raised; a move that was not becoming of a sportsman, but not illegal by the rules at the time.
Mike was suspended from the DCI for violating the written and established rules for Magic tournament play at the time.
Ty finished his career first in batting average, fifth in at-bats, second in runs, second in hits, fourth in total bases, fourth in doubles, second in triples, sixth in RBIs, fourth in stolen bases, second in singles, fourth in runs created, and second in times on base.
Mike finished seventh or better in ZERO career categories from my above analysis.
So to answer the original question, what do Mike Long and Ty Cobb actually have in common? I dunno – they're both cranky? They both like pizza? They have the same number of letters in their last names?
Honestly, I just don't see the connection. Perhaps the people voting for Mike Long are the same folks who voted Bill Mazeroski into the Baseball Hall of Fame with his above-average fielding (a stat that can't be definitively tracked), his .260 career batting average and one monumental hit. In fairness to Mike, maybe some day Mike's accomplishments will look different in comparison to the new classes or the depleted list to choose from, but right now, I can't find justification for him to be either an inaugural or first-ballot member of the Magic Pro Tour Hall of Fame.
What did I find in my analysis?
I realize that you don't need to be a mathematician to figure this one out, but I felt that I needed to do my due diligence to see what the facts state. And the facts state that Jon is the Barry Bonds of Magic without the performance enhancers, the arrogance, or the bad attitude. Additionally, I can't remember a time when Jon refused to do any number of PR activities in order to positively promote the game of Magic. Charismatic and always polite (at least to the suit), I would invite him over to the house for holiday dinner if it wouldn't create a perception of favoritism within the Pro Tour ranks. Jon, thanks for all of your help over the years and I hope you come to visit more often. Good luck on everyone else's ballots.
If Milton Berle was the hardest working man in show business, then Darwin Kastle was probably the hardest working man on the Magic Pro Tour. In his heyday, he seemed to go to every Magic event possible and he was always thoroughly prepared. If I could go back and time and change one thing (without it being considered cheating...), it would be to see Darwin win the World Championships once.
In retrospect, the whole Mr. Rade calling around and looking for Olle after he won his first Pro Tour was pretty funny. At the time, we were pretty new to this whole "we have 350-plus people traveling to this event, some of whom may be traveling alone for the first time" thing. So having someone's dad call us to ask us the whereabouts of his son was not on our little FAQ sheet back at the office and kind of threw us for a loop. But eventually he was found and he went on to be a great competitor.
Ham. You never think about it. Overlooked, forgotten, and underappreciated, ham is probably more prevalent in sandwiches, appetizers and meals than anyone ever thinks about. And let's face it, you actually like ham, you just don't think about it when you're making your dining decisions. Dave Humpherys is the "ham" of the Magic Pro Tour.
Make no mistake, I'm being completely genuine and adulatory here. If you and a friend do free association with various terms or attributes of the Pro Tour, the likelihood of one of you mentioning Dave during the game is pretty slim. Being humble, quiet and polite generally doesn't get you noticed on the Pro Tour, but great card-playing does and you can't deny that Dave has been a solid force over the history of the Pro Tour. If I were cooking dinner over the holidays for Jon Finkel, I'd prepare ham. If I wanted anyone to be my partner for a game of two-headed giant, I'd pick Dave Humpherys.
I know, I know, I disregarded the math. But the next three were so close I decided to vote on the intangibles. Before there was Finkel, there was Dave Justice. Then slightly after Dave Justice there was Mark Justice, and let me tell you that would inevitably cause some confusion around the office.
How did Dave do at the event this weekend?
The left-fielder from the Atlanta Braves was at GP-San Francisco this weekend?
[pause] I meant Mark Justice.
Oh. Well, he did great.
Clean cut and well spoken, Mark was one of the first poster boys for Magic and he could back it up through great game play. It was exciting to look over his shoulder and watch him play, even when he made the occasional mistake. Like at the 1996 Worlds. I was scared to play with Demonic Consultation for months after watching that game...
Official Type Ballot List Thingy
So that's it. Thanks to anyone who actually read my ramblings and recollections of the Pro Tour and best of luck to everyone on the 2005 ballot. You should all be proud of your extensive contributions to the game of Magic and shaping the Pro Tour into what it is today.