I grew up in North Carolina and I was a baseball loving nut of a child. I could watch one of two channels, TBS or WGN, so I had my pick between being either a fanatical Cubs fan or a fanatical Braves fan. For reasons that are far simpler to understand now I chose to be a Cubs fan. Who didn't love an old man with white hair singing "Take me out to the ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch? Like more 8 year old boys I knew everything there was to know about my favorite team. Batting averages, line up, schedule, farms systems, everything.
One of my favorite players was Mark Grace because he came up through the minor league system that had a team in my home town of Winston-Salem. Watching the tall lefty play all those years I knew he would some day be a hall of famer and I would have the bragging rights to say I followed him since little league. After he finally retired in 2003 I knew it would only be a few years until the induction ceremony, he was a shoe in. What guy with a world series ring, 3 golden gloves, lifetime .300+ batting average and all around likeable guy wouldn't be inducted into the Hall of Fame?
In 2009 during his first ballot I was anticipating watching my childhood hero receive the award he was due.
It never came. He didn't get the votes but Baseball is a game patience and a game of perseverance. There is a lot of mind strength required to stay focused between pitches during a long inning of a game you are loosing. Mark Grace is a hall of famer, just not yet.