Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Congratulations Fred McGriff!

On Sunday, the Era Committee met to discuss an eight-player ballot for induction into the Hall of Fame.  Only Fred McGriff was elected.  McGriff was one of my little brother's favorite players when he started watching baseball.  

McGriff played for six teams over 19 seasons.  He came up with the Blue Jays, then played for the Padres, Braves, Devil Rays, Cubs and Dodgers.  He was a five-time All Star and won the Silver Slugger three times.  He led the league in home runs twice and OPS once.  For his career, he hit .284/.377/.509 with 493 home runs and 1,550 RBIs.  The big question is what hat he will wear.  He spent five seasons each with the Blue Jays, Braves and Devil Rays.  He came up with the Blue Jays, but he won a World Series with the Braves and was a bigger star there.  He was the first Devil Rays star and from the Tampa area originally.  I think it very possible he could have no cap on his plaque.

He is a welcome addition to the Hall of Fame, but I would argue he was not the best player on the ballot.  There were three choices that I would argue would have been better picks.  Before I get to them though, who are the also-rans?

Albert Belle played for the Indians, White Sox and Orioles over a 12-year career.  He was a dominant offensive force, but he was forced into early retirement due to injuries (this is going to be a theme).  He hit .295/.369/.580 with 242 home runs.  I do not see him as a realistic Hall of Famer due to the brevity of his career.  Belle was an All Star five times and also won five Silver Sluggers.


Don Mattingly spent his entire 14-year career with the Yankees, though he has been the manager in recent years for the Dodgers and Marlins.  Mattingly hit .307/.358/.471 with 222 home runs and 1,099 RBIs and was largely considered one of the best players in the mid to late 1980's.  His career went downhill quickly though after 1989 due to nagging injuries.  He was the 1985 AL MVP and was a six-time All Star, three-time Silver Slugger and eight-time Gold Glove winner.  I am not a proponent of Mattingly in the Hall, though he finished second on the ballot.  His numbers for a first-baseman are not that great overall.  But I do think that if he gets in based on how great he was in the 1980's, Nomar Garciaparra also has to get in.  That, I would be okay with.


Dale Murphy won back-to-back MVP awards for the Braves in 1982 and 1983.  He also played with the Phillies and Rockies in an 18-year career.  Like Belle and Mattingly though, his numbers took a sharp decline after the 1987 season.  He was a seven-time All Star, four-time Silver Slugger and won the Gold Glove five times.  Murphy hit .265/.346/.469 with 398 home runs and 1,266 RBIs.  He was a 30/30 man in 1983.  Murphy led the league in home runs twice, RBIs twice and OPS once.  Again, I do not see Murphy as a likely Hall of Famer, but in this recent voting history, he could certainly get in.


Rafael Palmeiro played 20 seasons for the Cubs, Rangers and Orioles.  He spent two stints with both the Rangers and Orioles.  Palmeiro's career was basically over after he became the first high-profile player to be suspended for PED use.  He was a four-time All Star, two-time Silver Slugger and three-time Gold Glove winner.  Notably, he won one Gold Glove for first base after spending much of the season at DH.  Palmeiro hit .288/.371/.515 with 3,020 career hits, 569 home runs and 1,835 RBIs.  He certainly has the numbers to make it to the Hall, but there is that PED suspension to deal with.


Now, for the three players who I think were better than McGriff, but did not get elected.

Barry Bonds is the single-season (73) and all-time (762) home runs leader.  He played 22 seasons with the Pirates and Giants.  He has won seven MVP awards and a 14-time All Star.  He also won 12 Silver Slugger Awards and eight Gold Glove Awards.  He was once one of the best all-around players in the game, then turned into the top hitter in the game.  Bonds of course, was implicated in steroid use in a high-profile court case involving the BALCO lab.  That has largely kept him from being elected to the Hall of Fame and it hurt him on the Eras ballot as well.  Bonds should be in, he is one of the greatest players of all time and he was never actually suspended for PED use.


Roger Clemens is one of the greatest pitchers of all time, and a seven-time Cy Young Award winner and should have won more.  He pitched 24 seasons in the Majors with the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees and Astros.  He was an 11-time All Star and won the 1986 AL MVP award.  He had a career record of 354-184 with 4,672 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.12.  He led the league in wins four times, ERA seven times and strikeouts five times.  Like Bonds, Clemens was implicated as using steroids, primarily by Jose Canseco in his tell-all book and in the Mitchell Report.  Clemens should be in the Hall of Fame, like Bonds.  He was also never actually suspended.  


Curt Schilling pitched 20 seasons for the Orioles, Astros, Phillies, Diamondbacks and Red Sox.  He was a member of three World Championship teams, including the first Red Sox championship in 86 years.  He never won a Cy Young Award, but finished second three times.  He was an All Star six times.  He led the league in wins twice and strikeouts twice.  He had a career record of 216-146 with an ERA of 3.46 and 3,116 strikeouts.  Schilling finished third on the ballot.  He does not have any steroid allegations against him, but his outspoken personality has led to some questionable comments on social media and elsewhere.  He is his own worst enemy.  That being said, his numbers are certainly Hall-worthy.

IF ELECTED, CAP WOULD BE: Phillies?  Blank is certainly possible.

My other issue with this ballot is the players not on it.  The last time this group was voted on, Lou Whitaker and Dwight Evans did well and looked like they could get in.  They should be in.  Neither was even on the ballot this time.  Bonds, Clemens, Schilling and McGriff just fell off of the BBWAA ballot.  Maybe they should have been kept off a bit longer to look closer at Evans and Whitaker.  Furthermore, Belle does not seem like a likely Hall of Famer and Palmeiro has the positive test to contend with.  All in all, I am happy for McGriff, but particularly disappointed Evans was not on the ballot and Clemens and Schilling did not get elected.  Hey, I am a Red Sox fan.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, Evans and Whitaker clearly should be in. Keith Hernandez, too. That Belle and Palmeiro were on the ballot over them is ridiculous.