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Fun Cards: “Baseball Immortals – SNUBBED” Fred McGriff

McGriff

This is the one I just don’t understand. Clean player, 493 home runs, 1550 RBI. Five-time All-Star. Three Silver Sluggers. If it weren’t for the strike in 1994, Fred McGriff would have certainly hit the magic number 500 home runs. This guy is, in my book, hands-down a Hall of Famer. Yet, in his first nine years on the ballot, he couldn’t garner even 25% support from the BBWAA. He is polling at 38.7% tonight, far short of the necessary 75%. I’m sure the Veterans Committee will set it right in a few years, but it is disappointing that the Crime Dog isn’t getting the support now.

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The next Blue Jay in the Hall of Fame?

Manny Ramirez retired a couple of days ago, and the baseball world was (for some reason) shocked. Carlos Delgado officially announced his retirement earlier today, and no one said a word. In an era of juiced-up sluggers, Delgado was reportedly clean. In any other era, he would be ushered into Cooperstown on the first ballot. But now? I’m not so sure.

Granted, he will have some stiff competition. In 2015, three pitching greats will also be debuting on the ballot: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz. The offensive competition isn’t as heavy: Troy Percival, Nomar Garciaparra, and the cheater Gary Sheffield. How much support will Delgado receive?

How much does he deserve?

In a career that spanned 17 seasons, he hit 473 home runs, drove in 1512 runs, and batted a respectable .280. His OPS+ was 138 for his career. He finished in the top ten for MVP voting 4 times, and received votes in 3 additional seasons. The negative? He was only a two-time All-Star.

The only non-PED eligible candidate with more home runs is another former Blue Jay, Fred McGriff…and it’s a crime the Crime Dog isn’t already there. The main knock against Delgado (and McGriff) seems to be that they failed to hit 500 home runs…but they came so close.

If you ask me, both should be in the Hall. I believe McGriff will get there some day, but I’m not sure Delgado will ever garner the support from the BBWAA for induction.

The best Blue Jays outside of Cooperstown

When I think of the Blue Jays, I think of their awesome 1980s uniforms in contrast to their boring duds worn today. There are some players that immediately come to mind as well, such as Dave Stieb, Jimmy Key, and Tony Fernandez. It was no surprise that those players were among the ones selected to the Blue Jays’ All-Time NON-HOF by position team on baseball-fever.com.

Among the players on my ballot, I believe McGriff and Alomar should be in the Hall of Fame already, and Alomar will almost certainly get the call in January. McGriff, on the other hand, will have some more campaigning to do.

My picks:
C: Darrin Fletcher
1B: Fred McGriff
2B: Roberto Alomar
SS: Tony Fernandez
3B: Kelly Gruber
LF: George Bell
CF: Devon White
RF: Joe Carter
sub1: John Olerud
sub2: Jesse Barfield
LHP: Jimmy Key
SP: Dave Stieb
SP: Juan Guzman
RP: Tom Henke
sub3: Cliff Johnson

The top picks of the BBF think tank:
C: Ernie Whitt
1B: Fred McGriff
2B: Roberto Alomar
SS: Tony Fernandez
3B: Kelly Gruber
LF: George Bell
CF: Devon White
RF: Jesse Barfield
LHP: Jimmy Key
P: Dave Stieb
P: Pat Hentgen
P: Doyle Alexander
RP: Tom Henke
sub1: John Olerud
sub2: Joe Carter

This is a pretty formidable team if you ask me. There are a lot of really good but not great players that passed through Toronto, and there was agreement on several of the positions. Alomar, Fernandez, Stieb and Key were all unanimous selections, while Henke was named on all but one ballot.

The Baseball Hall of Fame

Today is the day a bunch of guys who believe in the old adage “the pen is mightier than the sword” get to decide who should be immortalized forever in Cooperstown. And today is also the day a bunch of us guys who know better than those guys are going to complain about their decisions. We could do better, and through our obsessive habit of collecting baseball cards or memorizing statistics or however else we may manifest our love for the greatest sport ever invented, we will forever immortalize in our own minds the greats that the BBWAA ignores.

So the question is, who is on your fake ballot? Remember you can only pick 10 guys. Here is my list, in the order that I would put them in:

Dale Murphy
Tim Raines
Bert Blyleven
Barry Larkin
Roberto Alomar
Alan Trammell
Don Mattingly
Andre Dawson
Jack Morris
Dave Parker

The reason that the Murph is at the top of my list is because I believe he is the most glaring omission from the Hall of Fame. No, he didn’t reach the “magic numbers,” but for a time he was one of the best players in baseball. Never the best, but one of the best. There was never a doubt in my mind, and there still isn’t, that Dale Murphy belongs in the Hall of Fame.

The same can be said about all the guys on that list except Parker. I would vote for him every time, but I won’t be upset if he never makes it. I will be upset if Murphy doesn’t make it…in fact, I’m upset he’s not in right now. I know that he won’t get the call today, and probably never will from the BBWAA. He will have to wait for the Veteran’s Committee and hope that they do the right thing. But he should be there.

Raines is second on the list, even though I believe he is even more deserving than Murphy. He hasn’t been on the ballot as long as Murphy, and that’s why Murphy’s position is higher, but Raines absolutely should have a plaque in Cooperstown.

Of the first-timers on the ballot, Larkin and Alomar are the only two that I would vote for, and not just because I only have 10 spots on the ballot. Fred McGriff just doesn’t do it for me. Maybe in a few years I’ll change my mind, but he just misses the mark in my opinion. I like the guy and don’t have anything against him, and won’t throw a fit if he is enshrined, but I won’t vote for him (at least not yet). Same goes for Edgar Martinez. It has nothing to do with the DH role that he played…I just never ever ever considered him a Hall of Famer.

When I was a kid I had my baseball cards separated into shoeboxes – stars, rookies, Hall of Famers, future Hall of Famers, and commons. Some of the guys I had in my FHOF shoebox shouldn’t have been there (Tommy John, Steve Garvey), but if they were even a borderline candidate, that’s where they went. McGriff was never in that box, and neither was Edgar. Nor was Galarraga, and it blows my mind that some people are thinking about voting for him. And Kevin Appier? Are you kidding me?

We’ll know the results later today, and while I expect two returnees (Blyleven, Dawson) and one newcomer (Alomar) to garner enough votes, I would really like to see this guy go in on the first ballot also…

Who is on your make-believe ballot?

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