This weekend, baseball’s Hall of Fame welcomes Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice.
Henderson was a shoe-in YEARS ago…whereas it took Rice every single one of the fifteen years he was allowed to be on the ballot.
So, with their inductions on the horizon, the discussion turns to who might join them NEXT year and the year after that, etc. And when I say “might join them” I’m NOT talking Bert Blyleven and Andre Dawson…I’m talking first ballot guys.
Let’s take a stab at 2010.
I’m huge on Alomar…can’t help it. The guy retired at 36 and still managed career numbers of 2724 hits and 1508 runs. Add to that his .300 career batting average and you’ve got one of the best second basemen ever to lace up the spikes. 12 straight All-Star Games, 10 Gold Gloves in an 11 years stretch and two World Series rings. Yeah…put him up the wall now and save the writers the vote.
With all the hubbub that surrounded Cal Ripken and how he re-defined the position of shortstop over in the American League…Larkin was his equivalent in the National League. To an extent. With a career .295 batting average, 2340 hits and nine Silver Slugger Awards, the 1995 NL MVP brought some swagger back to what was a dead Big Red Machine…if only for a few years.
Now, this is where I might lose some of ya…I think the “Crime Dog” is a Hall of Famer. It’s true, he wasn’t a sexy player (no MVP Awards, only five All-Star Games), but his numbers stack up well with some of the other first basemen in the Hall. Of the 12 enshrined, only five of them drove in more runs (McGriff has 1550 RBI), only four hit more home runs (McGriff hit 493), and only three scored more runs (McGriff scored 1349 runs). McGriff needs to be enshrined soon, because (like Rice for 14 of the last 15 years), his numbers will pale in comparison to the contemporaries on the ballot.
OUT (in random order).
While I would never, EVER, use the words “Ellis Burks” and “future Hall of Famer” in the same sentence, I was surprised to see that he had a career batting average of .291, belted 352 home runs and was robbed in 1996 of the National League MVP Award.
Jackson is 12th all-time (among pitchers) in games played with 1005…three more than Goose Gossage. Pretty impressive until you realize that numbers 1 through 11 consist of such notables as Dan Plesac and two other “Mikes”…Mike Stanton and Mike Timlin. Something tells me that Cooperstown isn’t ready for the journeyman closer/set up man yet.
Six times a Gold Glove recipient at third and a gang load of grand slams…but that’s about it.
If I told you that Appier had a career ERA of 3.74 and ten years with ten or more wins would you care? No?!? Thought so.
Ray Lankford, 1996 American League Cy Young Award Winner Pat Hentgen, Todd Zeile, 1992 National League Rookie of the Year Eric Karros, Mark McLemore, Fernando Vina, Shane Reynolds, Dave Burba, David Segui and Andy Ashby.
ON THE BUBBLE.
The argument FOR Martinez is that he is the “best DH ever”. The argument AGAINST Martinez is that he is the “best DH ever”. I’m not sure which side of the fence I fall on, but as long as Harold Baines is paying for his ticket…Martinez can stand in line behind him. Sure, Martinez has a .312 career batting average and ranks 22nd all-time in on base percentage (at .418)…but the guy only has 2247 hits and has a pretty empty trophy case to show for his 18 year career.
You can go both ways with the “Big Cat”. Take away the “Coors Factor” and Galarraga is the poor man’s Will Clark. Take into account that he DID play in Colorado during the prime of his career and he’s borderline Willie Stargell-like. But let’s face it…you can’t ignore 399 home runs, 1425 RBI and a career .288 batting average. Wait, the writers do routinely…and, again, his name is Harold Baines.
Alright…so those are the names on the ballot for the 2010 induction. Basically, I think Alomar is in and, perhaps, Dawson or Blyleven (or both) will join him.
Keep coming back the rest of the week for 2011, 2012, 2013 and, you guessed it…2014.