Darwin Kastle, Hall of Famer
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I have been trying to decide on whom to vote for the 2006 Hall of Fame class. I have decided to stick mainly to the stats. This is a Pro Tour Hall of Fame for people who have gotten the job done as professional Magic players.
For me there are three big stats: Top 8s, lifetime winnings, and lifetime Pro points.
While Top 8 may seem somewhat arbitrary, here is my reasoning: Wizards of the Coast has made Top 8 into a big deal. After all the Swiss rounds are done, how many are left standing? Eight. Who are the players getting the photo shoots and articles? Who are the players you are talking about and building the decks of? The Top 8. The Pro Tour Top 8 is Magic’s own cult of celebrity and it’s one that doesn’t come easy. There is a reason Kai and Finkel have more Top 8s, winnings, and Pro points then anyone else: because they are the best players in Magic history. The types of players, after all, that we want in the Hall of Fame.
Okay, so here goes. First I decided what a clearly impressive number in each category was: Four Top 8s, $100,000, and 200 Pro points. Every current member of the Hall of Fame has at least four Top 8s and Tommi Hovi, the only member with only four, won two of them. No one on the ballot this year has more than five.
So if you were one of the 10 candidates that has 4 or 5, I added your name to my list of possibilities. With 11 people on the ballot with winnings over $100,000 I can’t imagine passing over them in favor of some of the candidates with only $20,000 or $30,000 lifetime. $100,000 is an eye-opening amount of money and it put 11 possibilities onto my list. There are also 11 people on the ballot that have over 200 Pro points. I find this to be a particularly fitting benchmark since it is twice the required amount to get on the ballot.
Having narrowed the field to only 20 possibilities, it was time to narrow it much further. My first pass was to determine how many, if anyone, had passed all three of my benchmarks. This filter returned four names meeting all three:
Dave Humpherys: 5 Top 8, $143,742 and 281 points
Bob Maher: 4 Top 8, $157,402 and 262 points
Gary Wise: 4 Top 8, $133,773 and 238 points
Rob Dougherty: 5 Top 8, $123,502 and 226 points
The jaw-dropping numbers put up by these four men are truly Hall-of-Fame-worthy, but to whom should my fifth vote be given? Next I listed the remaining players with at least two of my benchmark requirements. This left me with five additional names:
Itaru Ishida: 1 Top 8, $123,620 and 221 points
Mike Long: 4 Top 8, $102,669 and 191 points
Justin Gary: 3 Top 8, $128,815 and 249 points
Michael Pustilnik: 3 Top 8, $100,475 and 208 points
Kyle Rose: 4 Top 8, $117,465 and 176 points
Of course there could only be one. So now I ranked each one against each other in each of the three categories, and my choice quickly became clear:
Gary: 3rd, 1st, and 1st
Rose: 1st, 3rd, and 4th
Long: 1st, 4th, and 4th
Ishida: 5th, 2nd, and 2nd
Pustilnik: 3rd, 5th, and 3rd
Speaking of being clear, I also think things like ethics, sportsmanship, and giving back to the game are factors that should be considered when voting for the Hall. This is why I would be happy to see great guys like Michael Pustilnik, Steven O’Mahoney-Schwartz, Scott Johns, or Alex Shvartsman (all of whom have pretty good stats) get into the Hall of Fame, but I would be horrified to have an unsportsmanlike player like Mike Long or one of a few others (who I feel can go unnamed since they have much worse stats than Mike) join the Hall.
My five votes for the 2006 Magic Pro Tour Hall of Fame are: