Breaking Down the HOF Selection Committee

Posted on July 19, 2011

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by Matt Sperling

Every year two groups of people vote on who gets inducted into the Magic: The Gathering Hall of Fame.  Every player with over 100 Pro Points gets to submit a ballot that’s worth 1 vote for every person on the ballot.  Makes sense.  The other group of people is the “Selection Committee.”  Each member of this committee gets to submit a ballot that’s worth TWO votes for every person on the ballot.  Makes sense.

(full list found here: http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/HallOfFame.aspx?x=mtgevent/hof/selcommittee)

So how do they decide who is on the selection committee?  In their words:

“Each was chosen for his or her place in the history of the game.”

Well, that’s vague enough to not have any meaning, so we better dig into this year’s committee to  find out who made that list and why.  I’ve broken the 2011 Selection Committee into groups according to their worthiness of the appointment, as I see it.  If you see things differently, just say so in the forums, or better yet, go fuck yourself.  For each group, I’ve given a nominee for Best Picture from the Academy Awards that is representative of the level of worthiness.

GROUP 1: COMPLETE DISGRACES THREATENING TO UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMACY OF THE ENTIRE PROCESS (1993 – The Fugitive)

  • Evan Erwin
  • Riki Hayashi
  • Peter Hoefling
  • Peter Jahn
  • Patrick Jarrett
  • Craig Jones
  • Tom Martell
  • Sean McKeown
  • Rashad Miller
  • Joey Pasco
  • Steve Sadin
  • Gerry Thompson
  • Jacob Van Lunen
  • Gavin Verhey
  • Conley Woods
  • Tom LaPille
  • Mark Rosewater

We can say pretty confidently that each of the above listed individuals lacks sufficient knowledge and understanding of the Pro Tour and/or its history to ever have a vote.  I don’t know if this makes me Magic’s version of a racist Jim Crow southerner, but I think having to pass a test about the Pro Tour and the individuals on the ballot is a reasonable requirement for admission to the selection committee.  Would anyone on this list pass such a test besides maybe Martell and LaPille (who might know some of the dry facts just by being huge barns)?

GROUP 2: WE PAY PRETTY CLOSE ATTENTION, AND WE’VE NEVER HEARD OF YOU (2010 – Winter’s Bone)

I ran the following list by 2011 HOF hopeful Mark Herberholz and long time pro Eric “EFro” Froehlich just to make sure this wasn’t just my personal lack of knowledge.  Mark’s response to my query of “Do you know who anyone on this list is?” was “not a goddamn soul” and EFro’s was “no of course not, [I] only know real people.”

Why is us having knowledge of your existence a prerequisite for getting a vote (errrr, two votes)?  Besides the obvious “because I said so,” there is the additional reasoning that if we haven’t heard of the person in our collective tens of thousands of hours of playing on the Pro Tour or interacting with people who play on the Pro Tour or used to play on the Pro Tour, what is the likelihood the person is close enough to the tour to matter?

I’ll break these people down by the category that Wizards gives for their selection.  Otherwise it would just be alphabet soup.  Here’s the list:

Longtime reporters and commentators of the Pro Tour, some of whom are current or former pro players themselves:

  • Tobias Henke
  • Kouchiro Maki
  • Rui Oliveira
  • Omar Sagol
  • Hanno Terbuyken (Does having a move named after you in Street Fighter qualify you?)
  • Naoaki Umesaki
  • Ray Walkinshaw
  • Yuusuke Yoshikawa

High-level judges, scorekeepers, and similar tournament officials:

  • Jurgen Baert
  • Jaap Brouwer
  • Federico Calo
  • Kevin Desprez
  • Cristiana Dionioso
  • Nick Fang
  • Damian Hiller
  • Carlos Ho
  • Gijsbert Hoogendijk
  • Jason Howlett
  • Jason Lemahieu
  • James MacKay
  • Jeff Morrow
  • Nick Sephton
  • Frank Wareman

Certain administrative officials from the DCI, who have been responsible for the establishment of policy directly pertaining to the Pro Tour:

  • Dale Aitken
  • Enrico Boccabianca
  • Ron Foster
  • Damien Guillemard
  • Felix Huybrechts
  • Takeshi Miyasaka
  • Rob Teirney
  • Andrea Vitali
  • Witney Williams

Other people from inside and outside Wizards of the Coast who have had occasion to directly observe and influence the Pro Tour:  [holy shit they’ve DIRECTLY observed the Pro Tour on at least one occasion!!!]

  • Helene Bergeot
  • Elaine Chase
  • Richard Cornish
  • Juan Del Compare
  • Chris Galvin
  • Arron Goolsbey
  • Paul Levy
  • Mark Purvis
  • Dieter Schoeters
  • Jason Vogt

And finally, key Wizards employees with first-hand experience playing on the Pro Tour:

  • Masami Ibamoto
  • Matt Tabak

Five of these names I just made up to see if you’d notice.  Not really, but I bet you believed me.

GROUP 3: PEOPLE WE LIKE, BUT WHO DON’T QUITE DESERVE TO BE ON THE COMMITTEE (2010 The Fighterthese swollen ten-pictures-nominated-years are useful for this exercise)

  • Jonathan Becker
  • Sam Black
  • Ben Bleiweiss
  • Patrick Chapin
  • Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa
  • Mike Flores
  • Lan Ho
  • Ted Knutson
  • Luis Scott-Vargas
  • Adrian Sullivan
  • Kenji Tsumura
  • Toby Wachter
  • Yuuya Watanabe
  • Scott Marshall
  • Jared Sylva
  • Riccardo Tessitori
  • Bill Rose
  • Aaron Forsythe
  • Zac Hill
  • Erik Lauer
  • Worth Wollpert

GROUP 4: PEOPLE THAT PROBABLY DESERVE TO BE ON THE COMMITTEE, BUT DON’T DESERVE DOUBLE VOTES (2007 – Michael Claytondeserved a nod but never the win (a win is kinda like a double vote … stay with me here)). 

  • Collin Jackson
  • Sheldon Menery
  • Josh Bennett
  • Brian David-Marshall
  • Richard Hagon
  • Bill Stark

GROUP 5: PEOPLE THAT DESERVE DOUBLE VOTES (1977 – Annie Hall and 2007 – No Country For Old Men – my selections for “Best Pictures among all Best Pictures”)

Members of the Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour Hall of Fame:

  • Dirk Baberowski
  • Kai Budde
  • Randy Buehler
  • Alan Comer
  • Kamiel Cornelissen
  • Robert Dougherty
  • Jon Finkel
  • Tsuyoshi Fujita
  • Nicolai Herzog
  • Tomi Hovi
  • David Humpherys
  • Frank Karsten
  • Darwin Kastle
  • Brian Kibler
  • Raphael Levy
  • Robert Maher Jr.
  • Zvi Mowshowitz
  • Gabriel Nassif
  • Olle Rade
  • Ben Rubin
  • Antoine Ruel
  • Olivier Ruel
  • Bram Snepvangers
  • Mike Turian
  • Jelger Wiegersma
  • Gary Wise

I’ve included Buehler, Comer, Snepvangers and the cheaters since excluding them is “a whole ‘nother jar of molasses” as my Nana used to say.

Looking at the percentage of committee members whose inclusion is either a complete joke or a total mystery (who are they?), and given the fact that their selection gives them double what someone with 100 pro points has actually earned, maybe we should just scrap the selection committee idea and create a new system.

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