July 21, 2011

Countdown to Cooperstown: Class of 2015

What's interesting about the Hall of Fame Class of 2015 is the same as the Classes of 2013 and 2014...there are some definite shoe-ins.

Truth is, I don't know if the Hall of Fame has had back-to-back-to-back years with so many quality, legitimate first ballot candidates.  Honestly, I can't wait until the Class of 2012 gets enshrined a year from now so we can start talking about the circus atmosphere that will encompass the years that follow. 

IN.

Randy Johnson.

With five Cy Young Awards, a no-hitter and a perfect game...Johnson is pretty much as safe a lock to end up in Cooperstown as anyone who ever toed the rubber. Add in 303 wins, 4875 strikeouts, a World Series ring and ten All-Star appearances and yeah...it'll be interesting to see what knuckleheads don't believe he is worthy of going in on the first ballot.


Pedro Martinez.
Not that long ago, Martinez finally announced that he was officially retired.  Of course, by not playing in 2010...he is Hall-eligible a year earlier than some of the others that recently hung it up.  In or out?  Pedro has a  career .687 winning percentage, sub-3.00 ERA, three Cy Young Awards and is a Boston legend.


John Smoltz is a tricky one. At first glance, he doesn't look like he has the numbers to make it to the Hall of Fame. That said, when you look deeper...he's a pretty special player. In 2002 he became only the second pitcher (Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley is the other) to have had both a 20-win season and a 50-save season. The 1996 National League Cy Young award winner is also the only pitcher in major league history to top both 200 wins and 150 saves. Oh yeah, he also is just the 16th pitcher to surpass 3000 Ks for his career.


It is amazing to me how polarizing Gary Sheffield is. Me? I love the dude...and what's not to like? A career .292 batting average, 509 home runs and close to 2700 hits...the man is a hitting machine and performed at just about every stop during his 22-year career.


OUT (in random order).

Nomar Garciaparra.
Alright, reality check time. One of my favorite players of all-time is Nomar Garciaparra, so naturally...one would think that I would automatically pencil him in for a 2015 enshrinement. Unfortunately, his career numbers just aren't good enough. He started his career alongside Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter and, arguably, overshadowed them at first. However, injuries plagued the Whittier, California native, whereas the other two are legends.


Troy Percival.
It's pretty safe to say that I have a soft spot for closers. Just days ago, I said that John Franco is a Hall of Famer and took massive heat for it. For years, I've been trumpeting the efforts of Lee Smith. That said, I can't get behind Percival. His 358 saves (good for eighth all-time) is spectacular, but the dude never led the league and can't really hold a candle to some of his contemporaries.

Rich Aurilia, Aaron Boone, Paul Byrd, Tony Clark, Jermaine Dye, Alan Embree, Darin Erstad, Kelvim Escobar, Cliff Floyd, Brian Giles, Tom Gordon, Eddie Guardado, Mark Loretta, Doug Mientkiewicz, Kevin Millar, B.J. Ryan, Jason Schmidt, Julian Tavarez, Jarrod Washburn and David Weathers

ON THE BUBBLE.

Carlos Delgado.
Delgado attempted a comeback late last year, but since he never made it back to bigs...here he sits as a first ballot guy in 2015.  Sitting 27 home runs shy of 500 for his career, with more than 2000 hits and 1500 RBI, Delgado is not that far from becoming the first player enshrined as a Blue Jay.

Missed any of the other re-hashes from this week?  Be sure to check out 2012, 2013 and 2014 because, tomorrow, your first look at 2016 hits the interwebs.

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