I made a statement in my first installment of this daily column that anyone who didn’t write down Darwin Kastle and Jon Finkel shouldn’t be voting. I realize that this was a strong statement, but it is something I firmly believe. Despite what Gary Wise pointed out in the forums, this is not ignorant. Brian Schneider also pointed out in an e-mail to me that he did not have Darwin on his ballot. He said that he had Darwin tied with Hovi for the 5th spot and Hovi won because he had a better batting average. I will concede this fact. All I can figure is that I value longevity more than most.
Sure Tommi had a lot of success in less pro tours, but for me, the fact that Darwin had such a long career pushes him far above Hovi. He reached higher heights and he did it over a longer period of time. And despite highs and lows in his career, Darwin has stuck with it. Darwin had one of the most successful Magic careers of all time, the second most successful on this first ballot. While Darwin has fallen off the train, I see him, time and again, slugging it out in PTQs. Dedication to the game must count for something.
I stick by my statement. I don’t think it is ignorant. I understand people have the right to vote for whomever they want, but if Darwin isn’t on your ballot, then you have made a serious error in judgment. Ignorant is leaving a man who has devoted himself to the game, had an illustrious career, and has attended more PTs than anyone else off your ballot. Ignorant is not strongly endorsing such a man.
Today’s featured Hall of Fame hopeful is a man I consider to be a good friend in the game. Terry Tsang, while perhaps under the radar of most players, is well known and respected in the Pro Tour community. I became friends with Terry through Internet Relay Chat (IRC). We both could be found on #mtgpro any day and nearly anytime. Terry is probably best known for his Top 8 finish at PT: Tinker (NY 99). This was the only Top 8 appearance in his career, but it was a powerful one. A member of team Jumble, New York saw this team come out on top placing three players in the Top 8, one of which was the eventual winner, Casey McCarrel.
After this Terry saw moderate success, barely missing the cut in several PTs and GPs. I even had the privilege of teaming with Terry for one season, and our third was Trevor Blackwell. We came in 7th at GP: NJ, but failed to make any noise at the PT itself. What was so amazing to me about this was the way the team came together. At the time I had only played in a handful of PTs, never making money. Terry and Trevor were two of the biggest names in the game at the time. I had 8 points to my name, but Terry took a chance on me anyway. He had enough respect for me as a friend to drag my East Coast *ss to the team PT with two West Coast power houses. To this day, that remains one of my favorite teams.
While Terry hasn’t shown up on the leader boards in a while, he does poke his head around at PTs and GPs every now and then. Terry is still linked to the game in a way others on the ballot are not.
Possibly the greatest aspect of Terry, when it comes to the Magic Community, is that despite the success he tasted and respect he enjoyed, he never gave in to arrogance or elitism. Terry was willing and eager to take advice and criticism from whoever offered it. He knew that knowledge could come from anywhere, and shutting down ideas would only lead to stagnation in your game. He was always looking to improve, and would never turn up his nose to anyone.
Terry was always wearing a smile, and despite his affinity to walk around the hotel room in his tighty whighties, he was still as good a friend as you could find in a world of competition.
As much as I love Terry, from a practical standpoint, he doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame, and I think he’d be the first to tell you that. That said, he may be the most likely to use the rewards garnered from the honor. He is a true gamer’s gamer, and the PT lost a lot when it lost Terry Tsang.
I definitely have people in mind for the final two installments of the series. However, I thought I might put it to my readership to decide who I should write about. Who would you most like to see me cover on Thursday and Friday? Feel free to post in the forums, or e-mail me directly with your thoughts.