A fellow blogger (“The Billerica Blowhard” can be found here The Billerica Blowhard) brought to my attention a couple of recent ESPN articles written by Jay Jaffe in which he singles out one player from each MLB team that should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. I’m going to list below the players and their career numbers and tell you why I think each player should or should not be in the Hall. I have caught myself contradicting my own logic on a few players, perhaps I just don’t like a player or I just feel like someone SHOULD be in, who knows? Comments are welcomed and encouraged, as always.
Baltimore Orioles: Bobby Grich: I’ve gotta tell ya, I’ve heard the name, but I never saw him play, so I’m strictly going off of basbeall-reference.com (great website for stat geeks) in making my determinations. .266 career batting average, 1833 hits, 224 home runs, 864 RBI, 6 time all-star and 4 time gold glove award winner from 1970-1986. A decent career, no doubt, but definitely NOT Hall of Fame worthy. Sorry, Bobby.
Boston Red Sox: Roger Clemens: No-brainer even without the stats, but I’ll give them to you anyways. 354-184 record, 3.12 ERA. 4674 strikeouts in 4916 innings, 11 time all-star, 7 time Cy Young winner, 10 time top 5 Cy Young, 1 MVP and 2 time top 5 MVP. The knock on Clemens is that he used PEDs. Yeah, he did, and I don’t care. There were so many players using them that I truly believe that you were in the minority if you WEREN’T using them. You can argue (like Barry Bonds) that he was a Hall of Famer BEFORE PEDs. Nobody will ever know, but those numbers need to be in the Hall, period. IN
Chicago White Sox: Minnie Minoso: Another guy I had to look up. Minoso had a career spanning from 1949-1980, whaaat? Interesting note, Minoso had 2 at bats in 1980 at the age of 54. Impressive! Stats are .298 career average, 1963 hits, 186 home runs, 1023 RBI, 205 stolen bases, 1136 runs scored, 7 time all-star, 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting, 4 time top 5 MVP and 3 time gold glover. Again, a fine career, but under 2,000 hits in parts of 17 seasons…Gonna take a pass, Minnie. Hall of Fame name though!
New York Yankees: Thurman Munson: .292 average, 1558 hits, 113 home runs, 701 RBI, 7 time all-star, Rookie of the Year, MVP and 3 time gold glove. This all happened in basically 9 and a half seasons (I won’t count his 26 games in 1969). Some of you know that Munson died tragically in an airplane crash in August of 1979 in his age 32 season. I’m fairly confident in saying that had he played a full career, he’d be in the Hall. Unfortunately, he didn’t and his numbers as they stand don’t get him in. Injuries, deaths, retiring early…they all impact final numbers and I’m more often than not, a final numbers guy. Had he had another 1,000 hits, or another 100 home runs, then we could argue his dominance and maybe put him in, but for me, he’s a NO.
Cleveland Indians: CC Sabathia: 251-161, 3.74, 3,093 strikeouts in 3577 innings, 6 time all-star, 1 Cy Young, 5 time top 5 Cy Young. Sabathia is an interesting case and I’ll tell you why. He ranks 16th all-time in strikeouts. Why is that significant? People say that 3,000 hits is automatic in the Hall, right? There are 32 players with 3,000 hits. Any idea how many pitchers have struck out 3,000 batters? 18! His ERA is high, but he hit the 3,000 K plateau. I can see arguments for YES and I can see arguments for NO, but for sake of this blog post, I’m saying, if you have 3,000 strikeouts, you’re in my Hall of Fame. This number could change over time as baseball seems to be leaning towards batters having higher strikeout totals in search of higher home run totals, but for now, 3,000 strikeouts is a shoo-in for me. IN
Detroit Tigers: Justin Verlander: 225-129, 3.33 ERA, 3006 strikeouts in 2982 innings, 8 time all-star, Rookie of the Year, 2 Cy Young awards, 8 time top 5 Cy Young. I say he’s IN. again, 3,000 strikeouts..he’s STILL pitching at the age of 37 and hasn’t shown much slowdown as he won the Cy last year and came in 2nd the year before. His numbers will only get better. IN! Even if he doesn’t pitch again.
Kansas City Royals: Zack Greinke: 205-123, 3.35 ERA, 2622 strikeouts in 2872 innings, 6 time all-star, 1 Cy Young, 3 time top 5 Cy Young and 6 time gold glove. He’s close. At age 36 and an ERA 3.21 or lower since 2017 he hasn’t slowed much. He could get there someday, but with these numbers at the moment, he’s not quite there. We can definitely revisit at the end of his career. NO for now.
Los Angeles Angels: Mike Trout: .305, 1324 hits, 285 home runs, 752 RBI, 200 stolen bases, 903 runs, 8 time all-star, Rookie of the Year, 3 time MVP, 8 time top 5 MVP. We truly are watching greatness right now. Contradiction number 1 for me. His career numbers as they sit are not worthy of the Hall of Fame, however, I feel that Pedro Martinez and Sandy Koufax have set the bar that if you show you’ve been so dominant over a good stretch of time, that’s enough. This guy has played 8 full seasons. He’s played in every all-star game in that time and also has never finished worse than 4th in the MVP voting in those years. Regardless of if he were never to play another game, he’s IN. I don’t think I’d get too many arguments either.
Minnesota Twins: Joe Mauer: .306 average, 2123 hits, 143 home runs, 1,018 RBI, 6 time all-star, 1 MVP, 2-time top 5 MVP and 3 gold gloves. Some people say I should lessen my standards for catcher because of the beating they take behind the plate. I don’t buy into that. I could possibly give in a little bit if they show me Ivan Rodriguez type defense, but those people are few and far between. Joe Mauer doesn’t get into that category. A fine career, but he’s not in my Hall. NO on Mauer.
Texas Rangers: Adrien Beltre: .286 average, 3,166 hits, 477 home runs, 1,707 RBI, 1524 runs, 4 time all-star, 2 time top 5 MVP and 5 gold gloves. The argument I hear about Beltre is that he’s only compiled these numbers due to longevity. That’s the biggest load of crap I’ve ever heard. That’s EVERYONE’S career. You can’t get 3,000 hits WITHOUT longevity. Here’s a stat for you…Beltre was 38 (if you trust his birth certificate) when he got his 3,000th hit. I’m going to list everyone that was OLDER than 38 when they got their 3,000th hit and you can tell me who’s NOT a Hall of Famer among those names…Al Kaline, Wade Boggs, Cap Anson, Rafael Palmeiro, Lou Brock, Rod Carew, Rickey Henderson, Craig Biggio, Ichiro, Dave Winfied, A-Rod, Paul Waner, Cal Ripken, Jr., Nap Lajoie, Eddie Murray, Willie Mays, Paul Molitor, Carl Yastrzemski and Honus Wagner. All of the above names were 39 or older when they got their 3,000th hit. Please spare me the longevity argument. Beltre, IN.
Houston Astros: Jose Altuve: .315 average, 1568 hits, 128 home runs, 538 RBI, 254 stolen bases, 734 runs scored, 6 time all-star, MVP, 2 time top 5 MVP in 8 and a half seasons. Way too early to tell with Altuve and the video camera scandal may possibly hinder his chances in the future. As we are now, Altuve is definitely not worthy of the Hall.
Oakland A’s: Mark McGwire: .263, 1626 hits, 583 home runs, 1414 RBI, 12 time all-star, Rookie of the Year, 3 time top 5 MVP. This one is a bit controversial. 11th all-time on the home run list. Admitted to using PEDs at a time they weren’t actually banned substances. You bought a ticket to see McGwire crank one out of the park at any moment. He with Sammy Sosa brought the game back after fans left due to the player strike. I feel his impact on the game itself is too valuable NOT to be in the Hall of Fame. McGwire is a Hall of Famer for me, IN.
Seattle Mariners: Felix Hernandez: 169-136, 3.42 ERA, 2524 strikeouts in 2729 innings, 6 time all-star, 1 Cy Young, 4 time top 5 Cy Young. A really good pitcher on some really lousy teams. He’s only 34 years old, but his career trajectory is definitely not a plus. Could he get another 500 strikeouts? He has 573 since the start of 2015 and the covid-19 delay of the 2020 season is seriously going to impact any chance he may have to get there. Magic 8-ball says “outlook not so good.” Sorry, Felix. A really good career, but you don’t make the cut. Hernandez, NO.
Tamps Bay [Devil] Rays: Evan Longoria: .267, 1703 hits, 297 home runs, 1,015 RBI, 3 time all-star, Rookie of the Year and 3 gold gloves. At age 34 I don’t see Longoria’s numbers getting too much better than this. He’d need to average 200 hits til his age 40 season, and with 2020 being a half-season at best, I’m saying that’s not happening. Longoria shouldn’t even enter the conversation of being in the Hall. Longoria, NO.
Toronto Blue Jays: Dave Stieb: 176-137, 3.44 ERA, 1669 strikeouts in 2895 innings, 7 time all-star, 2 time top 5 Cy Young. Another one that I can’t even entertain here. I always liked him when I was growing up. I thought he was a really good pitcher in the 80’s, again, on some bad teams, but the numbers just don’t justify consideration. Stieb, NO.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Curt Schilling: 216-146, 3.46 ERA, 3,116 strikeouts in 3261 innings, 6 time all-star and 4 time top 5 Cy Young. So, I’m a little biased here being a Red Sox fan, but I say put him in, and he SHOULD go in as he garnered 70% of the votes in his 8th year on the ballot. 75% is needed to be inducted. He may be the best bridesmaid pitcher of all time. He came in 2nd in Cy Young voting 3 times. Twice to Randy Johnson and once to Johan Santana when he was on top of his game. He was also on some really lousy Philadelphia teams. Call me a homer or call me realistic, but Curt’s in MY Hall of Fame. IN!
Atlanta Braves: Andruw Jones: .254, 1933 hits, 434 home runs, 1289 RBI, 152 stolen bases, 6 time all-star, 1 top 5 mvp, 9 time gold glove. I’ve gotta tell you, I had much higher expectations for this kid and maybe that’s shame on me. There was a 4 year stretch where he could have been a 30 home run/30 stolen base guy, but it just didn’t happen, unfortunately. There was a time that simply hitting 400 home runs was good enough to get you in, but there ARE a handful of people now that have more home runs than Jones and just aren’t in, nor should they be. His overall hits and average are down just a little too much for my liking. The defense is close to making up that gap, but it’s just not enough. Any given night, this guy was on the highlight reel in one way or another, but it just doesn’t result in a Hall of Fame career for me. Close in my heart due to the fact that I believe he was the first player in the majors younger than me, but Andruw doesn’t quite get there. He’s a NO.
Chicago Cubs: Sammy Sosa: .273, 2408 hits, 609 home runs, 1667 RBI, 1475 runs, 7 time all-star, 1 MVP and 2 time top 5 MVP. 9th on the all-time home run list and 31st in RBI. Teamed with McGwire (mentioned above) to bring the fans back to the game after the 1994 stoppage with their home run barrage. I’m on the fence. The game needed him and he responded and gave them what they needed (putting asses in seats) yet he’s blackballed. He got busted with a corked bat when his bat broke after hitting a ball off of Geremi Gonzalez on June 3rd, 2003. If you want to hold him out for that, I’m ok with it. “But, dude! How can you say you’re ok with PEDs, but you draw the line at corked bats?” You’re right. I have no rebuttal to that. Contradiction number 2. Put him in, fine, for the game. Leave him out, fine, FOR THE GAME. I don’t think he’ll get in, but with the veteran’s committee, they’ll put undeserving (in my mind) players in (see Harold Baines) if they want. Final verdict FOR ME, put him in. Who knows if the game would have survived without him and McGwire knocking balls out left and right when the game resumed, but you know what? I thought it was just what the doctor ordered, so why punish them now?
Colorado Rockies: Todd Helton: .316, 2519 hits, 369 home runs, 1406 RBI, 5 time all-star, 1 time top 5 MVP. I have always liked Todd Helton, but he falls victim of the Coors Field advantage. A .345 hitter at home with 227 home runs and a .287 hitter with 142 home runs on the road. Wish he had other numbers I could work with but it is what it is. NOT a Hall of Famer.
Miami/Florida Marlins: Gary Sheffield: .292, 2689 hits, 509 home runs, 1676 RBI, 9 time all-star, 3 time top 5 MVP. Close to 2,700 hits, over 500 home runs and 1 place ahead of Sammy Sosa on the all-time RBI list at 30, so why my hesitation? Well, he was a dick. SHOULD that be a factor? Probably not, but being a dick probably kept Albert Belle from winning an MVP award one year, so it DOES factor into people’s opinion. 8 teams in 22 years usually means “malcontent” and I’m sure it does here as well, BUT, numbers are numbers. COULD you tell the story of baseball through the 1980’s and 2000’s without uttering Sheffield’s name? Yeah. He led the league in average one year and OBP one year, but overall, that’s about it. I’d say he gets in at some point (through the veteran’s committee), so I may as well say IN even if my heart isn’t completely into it.
Philadelphia Phillies: Dick Allen: .292, 1848 hits, 351 home runs, 1119 RBI, 7 time all-star, Rookie of the Year, MVP, 2 time top 5 MVP. He played in the 60’s and 70’s when those power numbers meant more than they do now, but combined with the hit total, I don’t think he warrants much of a discussion. Allen is a NO for me.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Barry Bonds: IN…IN IN IN IN IN! .298, 2935 hits, 762 home runs, 1996 RBI, 514 stolen bases, 14 time all-star, 7 MVPs, 12 time top 5 MVP and 8 gold gloves. Let me preface…I grew up a Pirates fan, so again, call me biased if you must. Surrounded by PEDs…hearing non-stop about the cream and the clear…I still don’t care. We’ll never see a Barry Bonds again, and that’s not to say we’ll never see a “cheater” again, but let me throw this at you. Through Mike Trout’s (currently the best baseball player) full 8 and a half year career, he currently has exactly 100 intentional walks, which are the ultimate sign of respect in baseball. Bonds had 120 intentional walks IN THE 2002 SEASON and 688 in his career. IF the DH is adopted in the NL, this will be another of those “untouchable” records that will never be seen or heard from again. PEDs don’t help your eyesight. They don’t help you put the bat on the ball. They don’t help you fielding (except maybe you reach more fly balls than you would have otherwise). Like it or not, he’s the career home run leader and you can’t have a Hall of Fame without that. That’d be like not letting the all-time hits leader in…oh, right, about that…clearly you should be able to tell that I think Pete Rose should be in too. Anyways, Bonds…a once in a generation player. He’s my Babe Ruth, minus the pitching. IN!
Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto: .307, 1866 hits, 284 home runs, 944 RBI, 6 time all-star, MVP, 3 time top 5 MVP and 1 gold glove. It looked like Votto was Hall-bound early in his career, but he’s kind of done a nosedive in recent years. He gets on base like nobody’s business, leading the league 7 times, but it just doesn’t look to be enough at the moment. If he can get to 2,500 hits and 350 home runs while keeping his OBP above .400 and his slugging above .500, then I could reconsider, but at 36 and missing at least a half-season, I’m gonna say NO.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw: 169-74, 2.44 ERA, 2464 strikeouts in 2274 innings, 8 time all-star, 3 Cy Youngs, 1 MVP, 7 time top 5 Cy Young. Again, as with Mike Trout, even if he never tosses another pitch again, Hall of Famer. He’s been too dominant for too long NOT TO be in the HOF. Kershaw IN, and like now!
New York Mets: Carlos Beltran: .279, 2725 hits, 435 home runs, 1587 RBI, 312 stolen bases, 9 time all-star, Rookie of the Year, 1 time top 5 MVP. There are 8 people in the 300 home run and 300 stolen base club and Beltran is one of them. On the face, that was enough for me, however, upon further review, Steve Finley, Reggie Sanders and Bobby Bonds are also on that list, so it’s not a gimme. Beltran was supposedly the mastermind behind the Astros sign stealing fiasco and that COULD and most likely WILL tarnish his chances. It’s a coin-flip if the veteran’s committee will put him in eventually, but for me, NOT a Hall of Famer. I like him…he put up some really good numbers, but he’s not in my Hall.
St. Louis Cardinals: Albert Pujols: .300, 3,202 hits, 656 home runs, 2075 RBI, 10 time all-star, Rookie of the Year, 3 MVPs, 10 time top 5 MVP. I could have stopped at 3,202 hits, but I think you all needed to see the numbers. Since 2001, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better offensive player than Pujols. No-doubter that he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer. IN!
San Francisco Giants: Buster Posey: .302, 1,380 hits, 140 home runs, 673 RBI, 6 time all-star, 1 MVP and Rookie of the Year. Well, a catcher/first baseman and 32 years old, he’s definitely got his best years behind him. It was a solid career with 3 rings to his credit, but unless he gets another 1,000 hits, there’s not much to talk about here. Posey is NOT in my Hall of Fame.
Washington Nationals: Max Scherzer: 170-89, 3.20 ERA, 2692 strikeouts in 2290 innings, 7 time all-star, 3 Cy Youngs, and 7 time top 5 Cy Young. As with Trout and Kershaw, he doesn’t need to touch another baseball to be in my Hall of Fame. Too dominant for too long to not be. He’ll be 36 in July, he came in 3rd in Cy Young voting last year, 2nd the year before that, and WON the two years prior. Even if there’s a decrease in effectiveness, he should top 3,000 strikeouts and may even hit 200 victories. Hall-worthy for me. IN!
Milwaukee Brewers: Christian Yelich: .301, 1,067 hits, 139 home runs, 500 RBI, 2 time all-star, MVP, and 2 time top 5 MVP. Still in his 20’s and not even close to being Hall-ready. It’s taken 6 and a half seasons to get his first 1,000 hits, which isn’t bad, but it’s faaar away from being where he needs to be. Could he be in the hall someday? If he continues on this trajectory, sure, it’s possible, but it’s also possible he could get a career ending injury or worse. That’s why you’ve gotta play the games. He hasn’t been dominant for a significant amount of time to be in the conversation just yet. Yelich is a NO, for now.
San Diego Padres: Manny Machado: .279, 1,200 hits, 207 home runs, 598 RBI, 4 time all-star, 2 time top 5 MVP and 2 time gold glove winner. DICK! Absolutely NOT in my Hall of Fame. He’s the epitome of a lousy player. Yeah, he might put up numbers, but he’s a nasty player. He’s injured players, in my opinion, on purpose, on multiple occasions. I’d be fine with booting him from the game, but that won’t happen. You can see him kick Jesus Aguilar or his dirty take-out slide on Dustin Pedroia, who’s never been the same since. It’s just NOT what the games about. Machado will NEVER be in my Hall, which is probably why MLB doesn’t give me a ballot. Machado, an emphatic NO!
So there you have it, folks. My take on Jay Jaffe’s articles on which player from each MLB team should be in the Hall of Fame. Please keep in mind that I don’t use WAR or OPS in factoring Hall-worthiness as these metrics weren’t around when everyone was playing. As the late, great, Mickey Mantle once said, “Hell, if I had known 40-40 was going to be a big deal, I’d have done it every year!” You can’t put these new stats on players of yesteryear because it’s completely unfair, but again, my opinion and I don’t get a ballot.
Drop us a line and let us know what you think about our selections and let us know how you differ, but more importantly, WHY you differ.