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December 11, 2010

Cooperstown 2011: Juan Gonzalez

First Year on Ballot

PLAYING CAREER:  Texas Rangers (1989–1999), Detroit Tigers (2000), Cleveland Indians (2001), Texas Rangers (2002–2003), Kansas City Royals (2004) and Cleveland Indians (2005)

ACHIEVEMENTS:  Career batting average of .295 with 434 home runs and 1404 RBI.   One of the premier run producers of the 1990s, averaging 117 RBI per season between 1991 and 1999.  Hit 40 or more home runs in five seasons, kocked in 100-plus runs eight times.  In 1998, became just the second player in Major League history to have at least 100 RBI before the All-Star Break...Hank Greenberg who had 103 in 1935.  Named American League MVP in both 1996 and 1998.  Selected to three All-Star Games (1993, 1998 and 2001).

HOVG THOUGHTS:  Possibly the hardest player to characterize on this year's Gonzalez. I’m a fan, through and through. I always bought into the “Juan Gone” hype, the two MVP awards and the monster long balls. His 1996-1999 stretch is, arguably, one of the best of the 90s and in any other era…he’s in. But was the dude clean? Are his numbers going to go the way of McGwire and be pushed to the side in favor of steroid allegations considering some of his teammates?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was a big baseball fan during the 90's and followed all the big sluggers. I always thought Juan Gonzalez kind of got the shaft by the media. This was partially his fault by not being more media-friendly, but I think him being hispanic and not speaking English very well contributed to his lack of popularity. And his heritage is something that is not his fault. Also his career was cut short due to injuries, yet other popular players who have had short careers (Kirby Puckett for one) are highly celebrated. Granted, how serious the injuries were remain in question, but I get the feeling this was a player who accomplished fantastic career numbers in a brief career, yet his unpopularity will cause his achievements to be swept under the rug. In my opinion if he was a US-born player who smiled more, he would be a shoe in for the Hall of Fame. As it stands I think he will get about 3% to 8% of HOF votes this year. I don't think that is right.