July 23, 2011

Countdown to Cooperstown: Class of 2016 (so far)

The three years prior to the 2016 induction could, based on the "who's in" and "who's out" arguments, be some of the most explosive years the Baseball Hall of Fame has ever seen.

Thankfully, the first ballot guys of the potential Class of 2016 might bring it all back down to Earth.

However it all shakes out, 2016 also looks to be the third year in a row that someone could argue a unanimous selection. And while no one will ever get 100% of the vote...it is hard to believe that anyone would not vote for the two pitchers mentioned or Ken Griffey Jr.

IN.

Ken Griffey Jr.
When Griffey finally gets into the Hall of Fame, it'll be the final step of an epic journey that started on Opening Day 1989.  But what can be said about Junior that you don't already know?  630 career home runs, 1836 RBI and 2781 hits pretty much make him a shoe-in.  And if that isn't good enough...how about ten Gold Gloves, 13 All-Star Game appearances and that 1997 American League MVP award?  Yeah...thought so.

Trevor Hoffman.
Hoffman is a tricky one.  If he was on the ballot this year, he'd make it in based on the fact that he is the all-time saves leader and the only closer in the history of the game with more than 600 saves.  Five years from now, however, he'll be second to Mariano Rivera.  Now, the Hall of Fame has been unkind to some other closers (Lee Smith anyone?)...but I have a feeling that Hoffman and his 601 saves eventually make their way to Cooperstown.

OUT (in random order).

Garret Anderson.

The Angels' franchise leader in just about every offensive category, Anderson quietly put together one of the better careers of the last 20 years.  That said, there's no way dude gets into the Hall of Fame.  Simply put, while his .293 batting average, 2529 career hits and 522 doubles are the mark of a great career...there are too many others that fared much better.

Mike Hampton, Bobby Howry, Randy Winn, Troy Glaus, Luis Castillo, Mike Lowell, Brad Ausmus, Mark Grudzielanek and Mike Sweeney.

ON THE BUBBLE.

Andy Pettitte.
Alright, how soon until people completely forget Pettitte's admission to using steroids?  I only ask because while some of his contemporaries while be left out in the Cooperstown cold, there are plenty of people out there that believe the five-time World Series champ has done enough to be enshrined.  What do I think?  I love the rings, his post season prowess and his 240-138 career record...but the 3.88 ERA and only 2251 isn't impressing me.

Billy Wagner.
It's quite possible that after Mariano Rivera surpasses Trevor Hoffman as the all-time saves leader, the career of Wagner will begin to come into focus.  Right now, he sits fifth all-time in saves (with 422) and carries with him a 2.31 career ERA...half a run better than Hoffman.  And while I'm saying Hoffman is "IN" and Wagner is "On the Bubble"...I'm not so sure that Wagner doesn't get in first.  We'll see.

Jim Edmonds.
"Jimmy Baseball" is one of those players that if, in 2016, he got 50% or 5% I wouldn't be surprised.  His numbers, while pretty good, aren't great.  But then again...you can plenty worse than his eight Gold Gloves and 393 home runs. 


So there you have it, gang...your week-long look ahead at the next five years of first ballot-eligible Hall of Famers comes to a close.  In case you missed any of them, check them out.

Monday:  2012
Tuesday:  2013
Wednesday:  2014
Thursday:  2015


 

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