Magic numbers

There are three widely acknowledged magic numbers for admission to the baseball Hall of Fame. You get in if you get 3000 hits, 500 home runs, or, for pitchers, 300 victories. Nowadays, most folks think that 500 home runs is too low and that 300 wins is too high, but the general idea of a numerical threshold is pretty widely accepted.

But why those three numbers? Nobody seriously maintains that the Hall should exclude every player who falls short of those marks. And yet, there are players excluded from the Hall even though they had dominant careers, players whose exclusion is best explained by the voters' refusal to look past those three magic numbers to other quantifiable measures of greatness. The problem, I think, is that no clear criteria of Hall worthiness have been established for other statistical categories.

In hopes of advancing that project, here's my list of twelve more magic numbers. A player should be admitted to the baseball Hall of Fame if he meets any one of the following criteria:

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