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July 23, 2009

The Hall of Fame Class of 2013

The BBWAA have tried to draw a line in the sand regarding NOT voting someone in who has been linked to PEDs by not giving Mark McGwire more than a quarter of their vote.

In 2011, they’ll get their chance to blackball someone who was found guilty in the form of Rafael Palmeiro.

In 2013, it is possible that three of the best players to ever suit up and take the field might be left out in that Cooperstown cold. But here’s the rub…as of now, none of them have been found guilty of using any banned substances.

NOPE (regardless of what they did “before they started using steroids”).

Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa.


Craig Biggio.
To the casual fan…the words “Craig Biggio” are synonymous with “consistency”. And it’s true, the dude was…to the tune of 3060 hits, 668 doubles (good for fifth all-time) and a career .281 batting average. His seven All-Star appearances, five Silver Slugger Awards and four Gold Gloves pale in comparison to one of his greatest/oddest achievements…the 285 times (two shy of the record) he was hit by a pitch.

Mike Piazza.
Earlier this year, rumors started swirling that the 1993 National League Rookie of the Year was a user of PEDs. Fortunately for the 12 time All-Star, the idiom “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” has (seemingly) not been fully investigated. As it is, Piazza finished his career with a bloated .308 career batting average, nine straight seasons with an average of .300 of higher, 427 home runs, including eight straight seasons with 30 or more and 1335 RBI. Not bad for a guy who was taken as a favor in the 62nd round of the draft.

OUT (in random order).

David Wells.
“Boomer” finished his career with a 239-157 record and 13 seasons with ten or more wins. Add to that his perfect game, two World Series rings and three All-Star appearances and you have a very, very good pitcher…but not a Hall of Famer.

Roberto Hernandez and Jose Mesa.
Easily confused as the same dude, Hernandez had 326 saves (12th all-time) and Mesa notched 321 (13th all-time). Hernandez is 11th all-time in games played with 1010, while Mesa is tied with Lee Smith with 1022…ninth all-time.

Mike Stanton.
After Jesse Orosco, Stanton is second on the all-time games pitched list with 1178.

Steve Finley, Shawn Green, Jeff Cirillo, Jose Valentin, Reggie Sanders, Jeff Conine, Royce Clayton, Bob Wickman, Ryan Klesko, Aaron Sele, Woody Williams, Rondell White, Mike Lieberthal, Tony Batista, Sandy Alomar Jr., Damian Miller and Todd Walker.


Curt Schilling.
When he finally hung up his bloody sock and called it quits, plenty of people were already willing to hang up Schilling’s plaque. Sure, his post-season performances are legendary, but his overall body of work was just very, very good. Sure, he won close to 60 percent of his decisions and won 216 games. Sure, he topped 3000 strikeouts with 3116, but did you know that he finished his career second all-time with a 4.38 strikeout to walk ratio? Yeah…me neither.

Kenny Lofton.
Ask anyone if Lofton is a Hall of Famer and they would say (without hesitation) “no”. And they’d probably be right. However, if you compare his stats to “could be HOFer” Tim Raines, they stack up. Raines has 2605 hits, carries a .294 career average and scored 1571 runs. Lofton finished his career with 2428 hits, a .299 average and 1528 runs. Throw in six straight All-Star appearances and four straight Gold Gloves and the case for Lofton looks halfway decent.

Julio Franco.
Franco is on the bubble for the simple reason that he was his generation’s Satchel Paige. If you believe what he told you…he played until he was 48. Some folks suggest that Franco was older though. He holds the distinction of being the oldest player ever to hit a grand slam, pinch-hit home run, two home runs in one game and to steal two bases in a game. But this is why I like Franco and why he is “on the bubble”…combined, throughout his career, he has more than 4200 hits joining Ty Cobb and Pete Rose. The breakdown: Major League Baseball-2586, Minor Leagues-618, Mexican League-316, Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball-286, Dominican Winter League-267 and South Korea's Korean Baseball Organization-156. Not too shabby!

Tomorrow marks the end of this preview fest, but if you want to check out the look ahead to 2010, 2011 or 2012…be my guest. Also tomorrow at 12:00pm CST, watch out for a Hall-worthy Q&A with a former player who has quite the history with one of two men being inducted Saturday.

BallHype: hype it up!


Rusty Shackleford said...

Pretty well thought out. I couldn't agree more about Kenny Lofton. He quietly had one hell of a career and I still think he's the reason the Cubs did as well as they did in 2003.
I say no way to Curt and no way to Julio Franco.

Jesus Melendez said...

I'll tell ya...I've made the cracks about Franco, but the 4200+ hits is hard to dismiss. He's the modern day Satchel Paige! Haha.

Brandon said...

As much of a fan as I was of Kenny Lofton, I can't bring myself to say with a straight face that he's a hall of famer. It certainly seemed like he had a chance up until 1997 and after, when injuries and struggles really started hampering him. Still, he had one helluva career and does stack up decently with Raines.

Schilling has no chance because he "only" won 216 games. He'd probably (possibly?) get my vote because, honestly, wins are an overrated metric. But it's a hard number to look past.

Agreed 100% with pretty much all your 2013 selections though.

Johnstone said...

Craig Biggio is the very definition of a "compiler." He was an average player for 20 years, and really only had five or six years when he could be considered to be on the fringe of the "elite players."

3,000 hits or not, you have to be better than he was for longer in order to gain entry into The Hall of Fame.

Johnstone said...

Also, the fact that Julio Franco is considered to be "on the bubble" is laughable.

Jesus Melendez said...

Biggio was FAR more than an "average player" if you ask me. I mean, if "average" now means seven time All-Star, four straight Gold Gloves, fifth all-time in doubles, 12 years with 90+ runs scored, etc., then yeah...he's "average".

Did you know that there are NO Hall eligible players ahead of Biggio on the all-time runs created list that aren't in the Hall of Fame? Craig sits at 30...the next Hall eligible players that isn't enshrined sits at 54.

I've seen some of your other "arguments", but you can agree that the object in baseball is to create runs, right? If so...only 29 players created more than Biggio.

Again, if that is average...give me a team full of it.

Jesus Melendez said...

Franco might be laughable to you, but if you look at his ENTIRE career (which, frankly, is what you should do) can make a case.

I mean, this is the NATIONAL BASEBALL Hall of Fame we're talking about...not simply the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

All in all...I don't know if I would vote for him, but I think a case could be made for him as it is hard to dismiss his (overall) monster hit totals and career batting average.

Johnstone said...

Regarding Biggio:

First, throw out the fact that he was a seven-time All Star. All Star games are meaningless, because they are voted on by the ballot-stuffing fans, and are never indicative of the best player.

Second, Biggio only led the league in an offensive statistic on six separate occasions. Twice in runs scored, three times with doubles, and once with stolen bases. (Not counting HBP.)

Never once did he lead the league in hits, batting average or on-base percentage.

Yes, he scored a lot of runs and was a very good player for a span of about six or so years, and if he gets into the Hall of Fame, I would have no problem with that. However, he isn't a shoo-in as most people think.

Regarding Franco: Yes, he had some very good seasons in his prime, and he does have a lot of hits, but remember that he played for 23 seasons, not counting those abroad. You talk at length about "compilers," or players whose numbers appear better than they are because they played for a long time. Is Franco then not a compiler? He's led the league in hitting once, and that's it. He's never sniffed an MVP, was never feared as a hitter, and was never considered to be among the baseball elite. It's great that he has a lot of hits elsewhere, in leagues that are not at the competitive level of the MLB, but it's not HOF-worthy.

Jesus Melendez said...


You can throw otu the All-Star game appearances if you'd like, but the fact of the matter is...the voters DO look at that and it makes its way on to the plaque. It might seem meaningless to you and me...but there are people who do consider those as contributing factors of someone's "fame".

Regarding Biggio as a "compiler" are basically slamming him on the same merits that you praise Bert Blyleven. Take a gander at how Biggio stacks up against those that played his position while he played. Now, that is hard given he played three different positions...but guy was legit and worthy of praise.

Jesus Melendez said...

Regarding Julio it "great" that other players put up some stats in other leagues? Should we discredit those that played in other leagues?

Again, I don't think I would vote for him, but I think a case could be made for him as it is hard to dismiss his (overall) monster hit totals and career batting average.

Johnstone said...

What other players are you referring to? There are a handful of players that we've honored in the Hall of Fame, despite never having played in the MLB.

However, in Franco's case, no, it isn't great. He was an above average player for less than half of his career. You've said it yourself: compilers don't belong in the Hall of Fame. Franco is the very definition of a compiler. He played the game for a long time (at several levels), and has put up numbers that most would consider to be average.

Sadaharu Oh has 868 career homers in his career in Japan, but he isn't in the Hall of Fame.

Jesus Melendez said...

Alright, Johnstone...I think you're arguing just to argue. I've never said compilers don't belong...I said that Bert Blyleven, to me, was a "damn good" compiler and that I was on the fence with him. I'll find you the exact quote should you need it.

See you tonight...I'll be expecting your loaded guns.

Anonymous said...

Biggio, A average player my ass. The dude is by far the best all around player that is not in the hall of fame yet.

Anonymous said...

Any reason to make an argument why Biggio should be overlooked for the Hall is naive. Biggio '13 inductee hands down. Don't be a fool by saying otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Franco had 4,200 career hits! I lve how you counted all the leagues he played in. If you count all of Pete Rose hits over his career from t-ball through the majors and now the beer league softball he's approaching 10,000 hits.

Jesus Melendez said...

Bringing up Franco's totals as a professional are no different than celebrating what Ichiro has done in both the Majors and Japan. Agree?

Anonymous said...

The thing is, Ichiro's a HoFer too!

Anonymous said...