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Baseball needs its own Mütter Museum

The Major League Baseball Hall of Fame is nice. Too neat and clean, though. Baseball history also has facets that are delightfully vile, grotesque, and absurd. Let's give it a home. And put real people in charge, like John Waters.

Look at the size of his...hand.
Look at the size of his...hand.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In a recent post, there was an excellent Lonnie Smith thread instigated by The Ghost of Manny Trillo that made me want to have a home for really good players who are maybe not regular Hall of Fame material -- the "Hall of Good" is something we often think of. But I thought about it more, and there are players who deserve their own place who either don't fit in the HoF (or a generic HoG) but who deserve attention for either their unusual lifestyles, paths, or events.

As mentioned in the title, Philadelphia has its own place notorious for grotesqueries, the Mütter Musuem. I'd love to have something like that for baseball. It need not be, and likely never could or would be, associated with Major League Baseball, but it would be fun.

It could have players from those like Lonnie Smith, who was (to me) surprisingly and sustainedly really good (with an 8.8 WAR season!), but who had serious off-field issues. Ty Cobb. Shoeless Joe. Pete Rose. Bonds. Clemens.

It could tell the stories of players like Ugueth Urbina. Like Willie Aikens. Steve Howe. The Pittsburgh Pirates of the late 1970's - early 1980's. The 1993 Phillies.

This would be far, far more entertaining than a sanitized museum of hero worship, though the MLB HoF isn't purely a collection of thoughtless praise. Imagine, though, what it would be like to see an equivalent of Trajan's Column for Pat Burrell.  Burrell would have his own wing, of course. With mirrored ceilings and red velvet wallpaper.

It would be interesting to see who you folks think should go into such an institution as a first class. I'd nominate Smith, Burrell, Rose, and Rube Waddell for a first class. There is plenty of territory to cover, and it need not be limited to MLB, either. Minor league players, non-MLB leagues, college, Latin and overseas leagues -- the broader the net is cast, the creepier and cooler the catches.