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July 24, 2009

The Hall of Fame Class of 2014

While it is way, way too early to even think about Mark Buehrle and the Hall of Fame…there is one pitcher on the 2014 ballot with a perfect game and another that can match Buehrle’s two no-hitters.

That aside…it’s hard to imagine ANY pitcher competing with the credentials displayed by Hall of Fame shoe-in Greg Maddux.

Which brings me to…


Greg Maddux.
What can be said about Maddux that everyone doesn’t already know? 355 wins compared to 227 losses, a career 3.16 ERA and 3371 strikeouts. Add to that four straight Cy Young Awards, 18 straight Gold Gloves, eight All-Star Games, having his number retired by two teams…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

“The Big Hurt” is still out there trying to find a ride for the remainder of the season, but honestly…does he need to? With a career batting average of .301, 521 home runs, 1704 RBI and close to 2500 base hits…there is no reason the two-time MVP needs to suit up again as his legacy is locked and loaded. Did you know…Thomas is the only player in baseball history to have seven consecutive seasons of a .300 average, 100 runs, 100 RBI, 20 home runs and at least 100 walks? Yup, the guy was Albert Pujols before Albert Pujols was.

Jeff Kent.
Kent and his lip curtain have a long road ahead of them. Is his legendary prickliness toward the media enough to keep him on the bubble…or do his numbers as one of the best second basemen ever win out? The 2000 National League MVP amassed 2461 hits, 377 home runs and a .290 batting average. Four times a Silver Slugger, five times an All-Star and for six years…playing in that long shadow of Barry Bonds. I put him in, not because of the womb broom…but because he is just THAT much better than Ryne Sandberg and Joe Morgan.

OUT (in random order).

Kenny Rogers.
“The Gambler” tossed his perfect game 15 years ago NEXT Tuesday (July 28, 1994), so it is only appropriate he gets brought up as a 2014 Hall candidate. Unfortunately, he’s going to be watching from home like the rest of us. The guy was a wizard on the bump…five Gold Gloves, 219 wins and close to 2000 strikeouts, but what is most impressive is that he is the all-time leader in pickoffs with 93.

Moises Alou.
Alou had a much better career than a lot of people realize, but just because he is underrated...he doesn’t deserve a plaque in Cooperstown. Over his 17 year career, Alou boasted a .303 career batting average, just under 2200 career hits and 332 home runs. Considering he finally got his crack at the bigs at age 25…it’s hard to imagine what kind of numbers he would have had if he broke in five years prior.

Ray Durham, Richie Sexson, Shannon Stewart, Armando Benitez, Steve Trachsel, Mike Timlin, Keith Foulke, Todd Jones, Mark Grudzielanek, Esteban Loaiza, Freddy Garcia, Jon Lieber, Damion Easley, Trot Nixon, Jacque Jones, J.T. Snow, Jose Vidro, Matt Morris, Jay Payton, Paul Lo Duca, Jose Cruz Jr., 2003 National League Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne, Paul Byrd, Sean Casey and Scott Hatteberg.


Mike Mussina.
To me, “Moose” is an interesting case. On paper, you see a HUGE winning percentage (.638), a brilliant 270 and 153 record and 2813 Ks. His career ERA is 3.68 and one could argue that had he not toiled for more than half of his career in Baltimore…he would be as much of a Hall candidate as Tom Glavine. However, Glavine had five seasons with more than 20 wins. Mussina, while he’s hit double digits in wins seventeen straight years, only his 20 once. The Cy Young award has eluded Mussina as well. Unfortunately, six top five finishes and no hardware doesn’t make for the best Hall of Fame case.

Jim Edmonds.
If the eight-time Gold Glove recipient proved anything last year with the Cubs is that he can still play. “Jimmy Baseball” entered 2009 with 382 home runs and no job. Should he never play again, those 382 bombs are more than Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio, Ralph Kiner and Tony Perez. Edmonds also has a .284 career batting average with five seasons above the .300 mark. And, oh yeah…the guy could go down as the best fielding center fielder during his time.

Luis Gonzalez.
In 2001, “Gonzo” hit .325 with 57 home runs and 142 RBI and led the Diamondbacks to a World Series title. Still serviceable last season at 41, Gonzalez was an every day player for the Marlins and is still looking for work. With 354 home runs, it isn’t likely that Gonzalez will get to 400. That being said, he is nine hits from 2600 and 61 RBI from 1500. Only one player that is Hall eligible (Harold Baines) has more than 1500 RBI and has yet to be enshrined in Cooperstown. There are no Hall eligible players with more doubles than “Gonzo” that have yet to get called to the Hall. If he never plays again…Gonzalez is a tough call.

Hideo Nomo.
Ask anyone what they think of Nomo and his Hall chances and they’ll likely laugh in your face. However, he is the guy who is credited with paving the way for Japanese players to make their way to the Majors. After a brief, yet successful, career in Japan, Nomo hit the states and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1995. He’s the only Japanese player to have thrown a no-hitter (he threw two…one in each league) and finished his abbreviated MLB career with four seasons with more than 200 strikeouts and a 123-109 record. But…without Nomo, there would be no Ichiro. Let’s not forget how he took the league by storm in 1995 and made it okay for Major League teams to take a chance on Asian players.

It takes being out of the game five years to be eligible for the Hall of Fame. Over the last week, you’ve been brought up to speed on each of the next five years of eligible, potential inductees. If you’ve missed a year or have a comment to make…check them out here:


Check back today after 12:00pm CST for another special Hall of Fame preview.

BallHype: hype it up!


Brandon said...

No Tom Glavine?

Your comparison between Glavine and Moose is interesting though. You ignore wins and winning percentage for a sec, and you see that Mussina was probably a better pitcher than Glavine (more strikeouts, better WHIP, slightly worse ERA but it should be noted he spent his entire career in the AL, so his ERA+ is actually slightly better than Glavine's.) Even when you look at wins, Glavine "only" has 30 more than Mussina despite ~150 more starts. Glavine won 2 Cy Youngs which will give him an edge with voters. He also has the "magic" 300, which will give him an obvious edge too. But honestly, if Glavine makes it in and Mussina doesn't, Mussina will have been robbed.

Agreed 100% with everything else though, except for you calling Jeff Kent "so much better" than Joe Morgan. Before I say anything else, I do believe Kent is a Hall of Famer, I do believe he is better than Ryne Sandberg ever was, and I hate Joe Morgan with a bitter passion thanks to his ridiculous announcing career. That said, Joe Morgan's career numbers are probably better than Kents. Joe Morgan, as a second baseman, but up a career .392 OBP, during a time when hitting was at a premium. He was one of the best percentage base stealers ever (689 steals, caught only 162 times.) He had some pop, but his main success was the fact that he got on base like a mad man. Offensively speaking, I think the comparison between Kent and Morgan is...acceptable. But I think calling Kent anything close to vastly superior to Morgan shows a complete disregard to the eras in which they played. At the time, Morgan's offensive production was significantly more valuable than anything Kent ever did offensively.

Regardless of all of that, I've really enjoyed the last few Hall of Fame related posts. If nothing else, it's some fun discussion.

Jesus Melendez said...

Good call on the Glavine omission...not sure what was in the air last night when I typed that thing out.

Glavine is questions asked.

Johnstone said...

On the fence about Edmunds, but you can't compare his power numbers to that of Morgan, DiMaggio, Kiner, and Perez. It's cherry picking of the worst kind.

Consider that DiMaggio had 13 less homers than Edmunds, despite missing three years of his prime to fight in a war.

Jesus Melendez said...

The comparison was made merely to put Edmonds' power numbers in context to some already enshrined.

But since you brought it up, DiMaggio finished with 7671 plate appearances, Perez had 9778 and Kiner had 6256...whereas Edmonds had 7708.

Johnstone said...

They also didn't play in the live ball era with lower pitching mounds.