Craig Biggio- (3rd year, 74.8%) Biggio was one of those rare players who played their whole career with one franchise. He played 20 years in the big leagues, all of which was with the Houston Astros. He career slash line came out to .281/.363/.433 (112 OPS+) while accumulating 3,060 hits, 668 doubles, 291 homeruns, 1,175 RBIs, 1,844 runs scored and a career WAR of 65.1. Biggio was a seven-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner, five-time Silver Slugger, and finished in the top-10 of the MVP three times. Craig Biggio was a true gamer on the field and was willing to do whatever was necessary for the team. That included changing positions several times in his career. Biggio came up as a catcher but shortly became the Astros everyday second baseman.
Second base is probably what most fans remember Biggio playing but later in his career he moved to center field when Houston acquired Jeff Kent to man second base. Biggio moved back to second base, when Kent was no longer with the team, to finish his career. Not only did Biggio reach base by base hits and walks but he also was one of the league leaders in hit-by-pitches. Biggio led MLB in HBP five times and is second all-time with 285. He was always willing to crowd the plate to cover the outside part but that came with consequences. Craig Biggio has been snubbed the last couple of years but this could finally be the year where he is enshrined into Cooperstown.
Mike Piazza- (3rd year, 62.2%) Piazza played 16 years with five different teams. Eight of those years came with the New York Mets, seven with the Los Angeles Dodgers, five games with the Florida Marlins, one year with the San Diego Padres, and one year with the Oakland A’s. Piazza is arguably one of the greatest offensive catchers of all-time. He hit 427 career homeruns, 396 came as a catcher, which is the most ever by a catcher. Even though Piazza was known as a slugger his slash line of .308/.377/.545 (143 OPS+) shows he was a very good overall hitter. His 1,335 runs batted in his third all-time among Hall of Fame catchers.
Only Yogi Berra (1,430) and Johnny Bench (1,376) have more than Piazza. Piazza is also third all-time among Hall of Fame catchers in base hits with 2,127; Berra (2,150) and Carlton Fisk (2,356) are ahead of him. Piazza was a 12-time All-Star, 10-time Silver Slugger, 1993 Rookie of the Year, and finished in the top-15 of the MVP nine times. You will never mistake Piazza for a defensive catcher but what he did with the bat is more than spectacular. With 62.2% of the vote last year it looks like Piazza could be the 18th catcher enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
Jeff Bagwell- (5th year, 54.3%) Just like his teammate Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell spent all of his 15 seasons with the Houston Astros. Bagwell was one of the best power hitters during the 1990s into the early 2000s. He finished with 449 career homeruns, which is 38th all-time. Bagwell finished his career with 1,517 runs scored, 2,314 hits, 488 doubles, 1,529 runs batted in, 1,401 walks, and a career WAR of 79.6. His career slash line came out to .297/.408/.540 (149 OPS+) and his career OPS of .948 is 21st all-time which is very impressive when you’re ahead of the likes of Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. Bagwell was surprisingly only a four-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger, but he did win the 1991 Rookie of the Year and the 1994 Most Valuable Player Award.
Bagwell wasn’t a great first half performer but when it was all said and done he was in the MVP conversation as finished in the top-20 10 times. Bagwell is in a tricky situation as this will be his fifth year on the ballot and he is around 20% short of the 75% needed to get in. And when you consider the rule change of only 10 years of eligibility on the ballot time is winding down and the ballot is starting to get stuffed with sure-fire Hall of Famers. Bagwell definitely deserves this honor but he might not have enough time to convince the writers.
Tim Raines- (8th year, 46.1%) Time Raines played 23 seasons for six different teams (Montreal Expos, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Oakland A’s, Florida Marlins, and Baltimore Orioles) most noticeably 13 seasons with the Expos. Raines is probably the second best leadoff hitter of all-time behind the great Ricky Henderson. Raines is most known for his stolen bases as he finished his career with 808, fifth all-time. He ended his career with a slash line of .294/.385/.425 (123 OPS+), 2,605 hits, 1,571 runs, 430 doubles, 113 triples, 1,330 walks, and a career WAR of 69.1.
His WAR is higher than another Hall of Famer who wasn’t known for his power and that’s Tony Gwynn (68.8). The fact Raines never hit one of those traditional milestones like 3,000 hits will continue to hurt his candidacy but there is no denying his ability to handle the bat and the impact he had on the game on a daily basis. Raines was luckily grandfathered into the old format so he has seven more years on the ballot and hopefully the ballot can get weathered down so one of the greatest stolen base machines gets in Cooperstown.
Roger Clemens- (3rd year, 35.4%) If you look strictly at the numbers there is no doubt Roger Clemens is a Hall of Famer. However, with him being linked to performance enhancing drugs it seems unlikely “The Rocket” will get in as it’s his third year on the ballot and he’s only at 35.4%. Clemens pitched for 24 years with four different teams (Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, and Houston Astros). Clemens was an 11-time All-Star, seven-time CY Young Award winner, and the 1986 Most Valuable Player Award. His seven CY Young’s are the most ever for a pitcher.
Another impressive accolade was the fact Clemens finished in the top-22 in the MVP race 10 times. Clemens finished his career with 354 wins (9th all-time), 3.12 ERA, 118 complete games, 4,672 strikeouts (3rd all-time) over 4,916.2 innings pitched (16th all-time), an ERA+ of 143 (11th all-time), and a WAR of 140.3 which is 3rd all-time among pitchers behind CY Young and Walter Johnson and 9th all-time among all players. His track record is impeccable but his link to PED use will keep him from Cooperstown, at least for the time being.
Barry Bonds- (3rd year, 34.7%) Barry Bonds statistically is probably the greatest hitter to ever play, but with the PED speculation hanging over his head there is reason to speculate whether his numbers are legitimate. Bonds played 22 years in the big leagues for only two teams (Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants). Since this writer is not judge or jury well just give you the numbers that read on the back of the baseball card. He holds the ML record for career homeruns (762), walks (2,558), and intentional walks (688). His career slash line is .298/.444/.607 (182 OPS+) with the aforementioned 762 homeruns, 1,996 RBIs, 2,935 base hits, 2,227 runs scored, 601 doubles, 514 stolen bases, and a career WAR of 162.4. Bonds finished sixth in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1986, 15-time All-Star (1990, 1992-1998, 2000-2004, 2007), eight-time Gold Glover (1990-1994, 1996-1998), 12-time Silver Slugger (1990-1994, 1996-1997, 2000-2004), and seven-time Most Valuable Player (1990, 1992-1993, 2001-2004).
From 1990-to-2004 Bonds received MVP consideration. The biggest thing that eludes Bonds is a World Series Championship, he did reach the 2002 WS with the Giants but the Angels defeated them. Bonds does hold the single-season homerun record with 73, but again with PED speculation there seems to be an invisible asterisk keeping the mystic of Roger Maris’ 61 homeruns in 1961. The sad thing about Barry Bonds is he didn’t even need the help of PEDs to become an all-time great but with the speculation it will probably keep him from Cooperstown as he received only 34.7% of the vote.
Lee Smith- (13th year, 29.9%) Before Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera came around Lee Smith was the best closer of all-time. In 18 years with eight different teams (Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, California Angels, Cincinnati Reds, and Montreal Expos) Smith recorded 478 saves, which is now third all-time. Lee Smith was a seven-time All-Star (1983, 1987, 1991-1993, 1994-1995), finished in the top-10 of the CY Young voting four times (1983, 1991-1992, 1994), and received MVP votes four times (1983, 1988, 1991, 1994). He finished his career with a 3.03 ERA while recording 1,251 strikeouts in 1,289.1 innings pitched, and a career WAR of 29.6. Smith was imposing figure on the mound and really took over the closer position during his career. It seems unlikely Smith will make the Hall of Fame as he has only two years left on the ballot and he’s about 45% away from getting enough votes.
Curt Schilling- (3rd year, 29.2%) Curt Schilling played 20 years in the big leagues for five different teams (Baltimore Orioles, Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Boston Red Sox). Schilling didn’t really become an everyday starter until he went to the Phillies in 1992. He never won 300 games but he ended up with a career record of 216-146 while supporting a 3.46 ERA (127 ERA+) and a 79.9 career WAR. Schilling was only a six-time All-Star (1997-1999, 2001-2002, 2004), finished in the top-4 in CY Young voting four times (1997, 2001-2002, 2004), and finished in the top-14 in MVP voting four times (1997, 2001-2002, 2004). The ace right-hander was known for his impeccable control as he led the league in SO/BB ratio five times (2001-2004, 2006). He also led the league in wins twice (2001, 2004), innings pitched twice (1998, 2001), complete games four times (1996, 1998, 2000, 2001), and strikeouts twice (1997-1998).
Being the runner up in the CY Young three times isn’t bad but when you combine zero CY Young’s and the lack of wins it hurts his case. However, his postseason resume alone should get him to Cooperstown. In 19 postseason starts Schilling has a record of 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA, including four complete games and two shutouts. He struck out 120 batters in 133.1 postseason innings with a 4.8 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a WHIP of 0.968. That postseason dominance led to three World Series Championships (2001 Diamondbacks, 2004 and 2007 Boston Red Sox) and a World Series MVP in 2001. Curt Schilling was a bulldog on the mound and if you need a win on the biggest stage he was your guy. It will take some time but he should be enshrined into Cooperstown.
Edgar Martinez- (6th year, 25.2%) Edgar Martinez is probably the best designated hitter of all-time. He played all 18 seasons with the Seattle Mariners, which makes his career even more special. His career slash line is .312/.418/.515 (147 OPS+) with 309 homeruns, 1,261 RBIs, 2,247 base hits, 514 doubles, and a career WAR of 68.3. Martinez is a seven-time All-Star (1992, 1995-1997, 2000-2001, 2003), five-time Silver Slugger (1992, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2003), and finished in the top-16 in MVP voting five times (1992, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001). He also won two batting titles (.343 in 1992, and .356 in 1995), and led the league in RBIs at the age of 37 with 145.
Even though Edgar never really played a position defensively he was a pure hitter. Martinez was known for his doubles power but he did take his shots and drive some over the fence averaging over 20 homeruns a season. If Edgar Martinez played in a bigger market we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation in year six of the ballot. It would be a shame if he didn’t make the Hall because he was a primary DH.
Alan Trammell- (14th year, 20.8%) Alan Trammell is probably one of the greatest Detroit Tigers in their franchises history. He played all 20 of his seasons in Detroit playing the shortstop position. For his career he hit .285/.352/.415 (110 OPS+) with 185 homeruns, 1,003 RBIs, 2,365 base hits, 1,231 runs scored, 412 doubles, 236 stolen bases, and a 70.4 career WAR. Trammell finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1978, six-time All-Star (1980, 1984-1985, 1987-1988, 1990), four-time Gold Glover (1980-1981, 1983-1984), three-time Silver Slugger (1987-1988, 1990), and finished in the top-21 of the MVP voting seven times (1980-1981, 1983-1984, 1987-1988, 1990). Trammell’s numbers may not blow you away but he was an excellent defensive shortstop and when you compare his numbers to the great Ozzie Smith they are practically identical and he was a first ballot Hall of Famer. Obviously, Trammell won’t receive enough votes but it’s a shame.
Mike Mussina- (2nd year, 20.3%) Mike Mussina never wowed you throughout his career but his numbers are sneaky good and are worthy of Hall of Fame consideration. He pitched for 18 seasons with only two teams (Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees). Mussina’s career record is 270-153 with a 3.68 ERA (123 ERA+). In 3,562.2 innings Mussina struck out 2,813 batters with a 3.58 SO/BB ratio. “The Moose” was a five-time All-Star (1992-1994, 1997, 1999), seven-time Gold Glover (1996-1999, 2001, 2003, 2008), and finished in the top-6 of the CY Young voting nine times (1992, 1994-1997, 1999-2001, 2008). Mussina recorded double-digit win totals in 17 of his 18 seasons, including six seasons where he won more than 18 games. His lone 20-win season came in his final year where he went 20-9 with a 3.37 ERA. Unfortunately, Mussina was never a part of a Yankees World Series Championship but he always kept his team in games giving them a chance to win. Mussina has a case for Cooperstown but it will take some time due to the pitchers on the ballot that are ahead of him.
Jeff Kent- (2nd year, 15.2%) Jeff Kent played for six teams (Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets, Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros, and Los Angeles Dodgers) over 17 big league seasons. For his career Kent hit .290/.356/.500 (123 OPS+) with 377 homeruns, 1,518 RBIs, 2,461 base hits, 560 doubles, and a career WAR of 55.2. He was a five-time All-Star (1999-2001, 2004-2005), four-time Silver Slugger (2000-2002, 2005), and won the 2000 Most Valuable Player Award. Jeff Kent is one of the greatest power-hitting second baseman and has hit the most career homeruns from that position. Kent reached his peak once he went to the Giants (1997-2002) where he averaged 29 homeruns, 114 RBIs, and 41 doubles. He was a late bloomer and reached his peak in his thirties but when you’re considered a top-5 offensive second baseman there should be room for Kent in Cooperstown.
Fred McGriff- (6th year, 11.7%) The “Crime Dog” Fred McGriff played 19 seasons for six different teams (Toronto Blue Jays, San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Chicago Cubs, and Los Angeles Dodgers). His career slash line is .284/.377/.509 (134 OPS+) with 493 homeruns, 1,550 RBIs, 2,490 base hits, 441 doubles, and a career WAR of 52.4. For seven consecutive seasons (1988-1994) McGriff hit over 30 homeruns, and during that time frame he hit the most by any player. McGriff has a higher career OPS (.886) than Hall of Fame sluggers Harmon Killebrew, Wade Boggs, and George Brett; all of which were no doubters for Cooperstown.
He was always a consistent slugger and was overshadowed because of the time he played where offensive number sky-rocketed because of the use of PEDs. McGriff was a five-time All-Star (1992, 1994-1996, 2000), two-time Silver Slugger (1992-1993), and finished in the top-20 of the MVP voting eight times (1988-1993, 1994-1995). The Crime Dog is one of the greatest hitters of all-time and should be enshrined into Cooperstown but will probably fall off the ballot sooner than he should.
Mark McGwire- (9th year, 11.0%) Mark McGwire is another player who is hurt by his association with PEDs. Unlike other players who continually deny their involvement, McGwire actually came forward and admitted it. Even though we respect his honesty it’s hard to see him ever reaching the Hall of Fame because his career seems to be over tainted. Aside from the 583 career homeruns his numbers aren’t that impressive. His career slash line is .263/.394/.588 (163 OPS+) and he only had 1,626 hits, 252 doubles, 1,596 strikeouts, and a 62.0 career WAR in 16 seasons with two teams (Oakland A’s and St. Louis Cardinals).
His slugging percentage was through the roof but if he didn’t hit the ball out of the park or draw a walk he wasn’t reaching base and helping his team score runs in other ways. McGwire did win the Rookie of the Year award in 1987, he was a 12-time All-Star (1987-1992, 1995-1997, 1998-2000), three-time Silver Slugger (1992, 1996, 1998), and finished in the top-25 in MVP voting 10 times (1987-1990, 1992, 1995-1997, 1998-1999). McGwire did break Roger Maris homerun record in 1998 where he hit 70 homeruns, but Barry Bonds would later break that record. Without PEDs it’s hard to know how good McGwire would be, therefore, making it hard for him to reach Cooperstown.
Larry Walker- (5th year, 10.2%) Larry Walker played for three teams (Montreal Expos, Colorado Rockies, and St. Louis Cardinals) in 17 ML seasons. His career slash line is .313/.400/.565 (141 OPS+) with 383 homeruns, 1,311 RBIs, 2,160 base hits, 1,355 runs scored, 471 doubles, 230 stolen bases, and a career WAR of 72.6. The knock on Walker is the fact he played the peak of his career in Colorado where he averaged 28 homeruns, 92 RBIs, and 32 doubles from 1995-to-2003.Walker was a five-time All-Star (1992, 1997-1999, 2001), seven-time Gold Glover (1992-1993, 1997-1999, 2001-2002), three-time Silver Slugger (1992, 1997, 1999), and finished in the top-25 in MVP voting eight times (1992, 1994-1995, 1997-1999, 2001-2002). He did win the MVP in 1997 where he hit .366/.452/.720 with 49 homeruns, 130 RBIs, 208 base hits, 46 doubles 143 runs scored, and 33 stolen bases. Walker was also a three-time batting champion (1998-1999, 2001). His ability to hit for power and average combined with his base running and Gold Glove defense, Larry Walker is one of the greatest all-around players of his era.
Don Mattingly- (15th year, 8.2%) Don Mattingly, also known as “Donnie Baseball,” played all 14 of his years with the New York Yankees. During the 1980’s through the mid-1990’s Mattingly was the best thing the Yankees had. His career slash line was .307/.358/.471 (127 OPS+) with 222 homeruns, 1,099 RBIs, 2,153 base hits, 442 doubles, and a career WAR of 42.2. Mattingly was a six-time All-Star (1984-1989), nine-time Gold Glover (1985-1989, 1991-1994), three-time Silver Slugger (1985-1987), and finished in the top-20 in MVP voting seven times (1984-1987, 1989, 1993-1994). Mattingly won the 1985 MVP award where he hit .324/.371/.567 with 35 homeruns, 145 RBIs (led the AL), 48 doubles (led the AL), and 211 base hits.
He was never a power hitter when it came to homeruns but he knew how to find the gaps. What makes Mattingly and even better Hall of Fame candidate was his defensive ability at first base, only Keith Hernandez has won more Gold Gloves at first base than Mattingly. The biggest thing that hurts his case is the fact he played in only one postseason series and that was his last in 1995. Now he did hit .417 in the five games with one homerun and six RBIs but that’s a real small sample size. Mattingly was an all-around player back in the 80s but this is his last year on the ballot and he is way off from getting the 75%.
Sammy Sosa- (3rd year, 7.2%) Sammy Sosa is another player with PED speculation over his head. He played for four different teams (Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Baltimore Orioles) in 18 seasons. Sosa is a career .273/.344/.534 (128 OPS+) hitter with 609 homeruns, 1,667 RBIs, 2,408 base hits, 1,475 runs scored, and 234 stolen bases with a 58.4 career WAR. Sosa became an MVP candidate in 1995 as a member of the Cubs. He was a seven-time All-Star (1995, 1998-2002, 2004), six-time Silver Slugger (1995, 1998-2002), and finished in the top-20 in MVP voting 10 times (1995-2003). In his NL MVP season of 1998 Sosa hit .308/.377/.647 with 66 homeruns, 158 RBIs (led the NL), 134 runs scored (led the NL), and 198 base hits. Sammy Sosa has never admitted to using PEDs but it’s peculiar how he was a low batting average, low on-base percentage player with little pop with the White Sox and once he went to the Cubs he was one of the best power hitters of all-time. At 7.2% of the voting last year it looks like this could be the last year Sosa is on the ballot after only three years.
Randy Johnson- (1st year) Randy “The Big Unit” Johnson is one of the most imposing and dominant pitchers of all-time. At 6’10” Johnson is one of the tallest pitchers to take the mound in ML history and on top of that he is left-handed and throws around 100 MPH. He pitched for 22 years with six different teams (Montreal Expos, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees, and San Francisco Giants). Johnson’s career record is 303-166 with a 3.29 ERA (135 ERA+), 4,875 strikeouts (2nd all-time) over 4,135.1 innings pitched, 100 career complete games, 37 career shutouts, and a 102.1 career WAR. His 10.6 strikouts-per nine innings is the highest in ML history. Johnson is a 10-time All-Star (1990, 1993-1995, 1997, 1999-2002, 2004), five-time CY Young award winner (1995, 1999-2002), and finished in the top-25 in MVP voting nine times (1993, 1995, 1997-1998, 1999-2002, 2004).
To add more to his resume Randy Johnson won four ERA titles (2.48 in 1995 and 1999, 2.49 in 2001, and 2.32 in 2002), and led the league in strikeouts 10 times (1992-1995, 1999-2002, 2004). The Big Unit also won the 2001 World Series MVP with the Arizona Diamondbacks, co-MVP with Curt Schilling. Johnson’s career was so remarkable he seems to be a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer.
Pedro Martinez- (1st year) Pedro Martinez pitched for 18 years with five different teams (Los Angeles Dodgers, Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies). The bulk of his career was with the Boston Red Sox where he won 117 of his 219 career wins. Pedro’s career ERA is at 2.93 and his ERA+ is 154 (2nd all-time). In 2,827.1 innings pitched Martinez struck out 3,154 batters (13th all-time). He also had a career WAR of 84.0. Pedro was an eight-time All-Star (1996-2000, 2002, 2005-2006), three-time CY Young winner (1997, 1999-2000), and finished in the top-25 in MVP voting six times (1997-2000, 2002-2003). Martinez also won five ERA titles (1.90 in 1997, 2.07 in 1999, 1.74 in 2000, 2.26 in 2002, 2.22 in 2003), and led the league in strikeouts three times (1999-2000, 2002).
His career strikeouts-per nine innings at 10.0 is the third best in ML history. Pedro was excellent in big games and was one of the key cogs in 2004 for the World Series Champion Red Sox. His 1999 CY Young award season was one of the greatest of all-time. He went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA and struck out 313 batters with a 13.9 strikeout-per nine innings ratio. Normally a really good pitcher has two plus pitches they can go to get outs, but Pedro had three plus pitches and he could throw all for strikes. He was a wizard on the mound and made even the greatest hitter look silly. Like the Unit, Pedro should be a no-doubt first ballot Hall of Famer.
John Smoltz- (1st year) John Smoltz is one of the best pitchers to ever start and then move to the bullpen and become the closer and then go back to the rotation. He had a remarkable career that lasted 21 years with three different teams (Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals). Of course 20 of his 21 seasons came with the Braves. Over his career he won 213 games while saving 154 games. His career ERA comes out 3.33 (125 ERA+) and his career WAR is 69.5. Smoltz was a eight time All-Star (1989, 1992-1993, 1996, 2002-2003, 2005, 2007), and finished in the top-10 in the CY Young voting five times (1996, 1998, 2002, 2006-2007) including 1996 where he won it. That year Smoltz won 24 games (led the NL), pitched 253.2 innings (led the NL), and struck out 276 batters (led the NL). What sets John Smoltz apart from most pitchers is his postseason excellence.
Now playing for the Braves during their 14 straight years of postseason play you get a lot of opportunities but he did more than just show up, he dominated. In 41 games (27 starts) Smoltz went 15-4 (2nd most postseason wins in ML history) with a 2.67 ERA while saving four games. He pitched 209 innings and struck out 199 batters. Smoltz suffered some injuries in the middle of his career and decided he would move to the bullpen for the betterment of the team. He was a team player and did what was necessary to win games. Even though the Braves won only one World Series it was still exciting to look Smoltz pitch regularly, along with the other members of the Big 3 (Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine).
Gary Sheffield- (1st year) Gary Sheffield was one of the most feared hitters in the game during his 22 year career. He played with eight different teams from both leagues (Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Florida Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, and New York Mets). Sheffield finished his career as a .292/.393/.514 (140 OPS+) hitter with 509 homeruns, 1,676 RBIs, 2,689 base hits, 1,636 runs scored, 467 doubles, 1,475 walks, 253 stolen bases, and a 60.2 career WAR. He was a nine-time All-Star (1992-1993, 1996, 1998-2000, 2003-2005), five-time Silver Slugger (1992, 1996, 2003-2005), and finished in the top-10 in MVP voting 6 times.
Even though Sheffield was an elite slugger with an aggressive swing he never struck out more than 100 times in a season, which is pretty uncommon for power hitters in today’s game. Sheffield’s best seasons came in 2003 with the Atlanta Braves where he hit a career high in batting average (.330), base hits (190), doubles (37), runs scored (126), and RBIs (132) while smashing 39 homeruns and finishing third in the MVP race. Sheffield was a great all-around player who played with plenty of great players but it seemed Sheffield was the one who stood out. With the crowded ballot he might not get in this year but he is a sure fire Hall of Famer.
Brian Giles- (1st year) Brian Giles played with only three teams (Cleveland Indians, Pittsburgh Pirates, and San Diego Padres) that spanned over 15 seasons. Giles was a very good hitter from the left side and finished his career hitting .291/.400/.502 (136 OPS+) with 287 homeruns, 1,078 RBIs, 1,897 base hits, 1,121 runs scored, 1,183 walks, and a 50.9 career WAR. Giles was a two-time All-Star (2000, 2001), and finished in the top-25 in MVP voting five times (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005). During his peak with the Pirates Giles was overshadowed because of the teams he played on but you could count on his for over 30 homeruns and 100 RBIs while hitting around .300.
Nomar Garciaparra- (1st year) Nomar is one of the most intriguing cases in this draft class. He played for four different teams (Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland A’s) during his 14-year career, but if you just account for his nine years with the Red Sox he looked like a legitimate Hall of Famer. Injuries slowed down the latter part of his career but he was one of the true power-hitting shortstops this game has ever seen. For his career he batted .313/.361/.521 (124 OPS+) with 229 homeruns, 936 RBIs, 1,747 base hits, 927 runs scored, and a career WAR of 44.2. Garciaparra won the 1997 Rookie of the Year award, six-time All-Star (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006), 1997 Silver Slugger, and finished in the top-13 in MVP voting seven times. Nomar was also a two-time AL batting champion (.357 in 1999, .372 in 2000). Garciaparra had a tough break in 2004 where he was traded to the Cubs and of course Boston goes on to break the curse and win the World Series.
Carlos Delgado- (1st year) Carlos Delgado was a consistent power threat for 17 seasons with three different teams (Toronto Blue Jays, Florida Marlins, and New York Mets). He finished his career as a .280/.383/.546 (138 OPS+) hitter with 473 homeruns, 1,512 RBIs, 2,038 hits, 1,241 runs scored, 483 doubles, 1,109 walks, and a 44.3 career WAR. Delgado was a two-time All-Star (2000, 2003), three-time Silver Slugger (1999, 2000, 2003), and finished in the top-21 in MVP voting seven times (1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008). His peak from 2000-2003 he averaged 40 doubles, 109 runs scored, 39 homeruns, and 123 RBIs. In 11 of his 17 ML seasons Delgado hit more than 30 homeruns, three of which he hit more than 40. Delgado was overshadowed by other sluggers who were linked to PEDs and hit over 50 homeruns per year but he was a consistent power threat and from what we know did it the right way.
Darin Erstad- (1st year) Darin Erstad played 14 seasons for three different teams (Anaheim Angels, Chicago White Sox, and Houston Astros). Erstad was the number one overall pick in the 1995 MLB draft. He ended up being sixth in the Rookie of the Year voting in 1996. His career slash line was .282/.336/.407 while hitting 124 homeruns, 699 RBIs, 1,697 base hits, 179 stolen bases, and a career WAR of 32.3. Erstad was a two-time All-Star (1998, 2000), three-time Gold Glover (2000, 2002, 2004), and a Silver Slugger (2000). Erstad finished 8th in the MVP race in 2000 where he hit .355 with 25 homeruns, 100 RBIs, 121 runs, 28 stolen bases, and led the American League in hits with 240. He was also a part of the Angels 2002 World Series team.
Tom Gordon- (1st year) Tom “Flash” Gordon played for eight different teams in 21 seasons (Kansas City Royals, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, and Arizona Diamondbacks). Gordon was one of those pitchers who had success early in his career as a starter and then moved to the bullpen later in his career. Gordon finished his career with 138 wins and 158 saves. In 1989 he finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting, three-time All-Star (1998, 2004, 2006), and even finished 13th in the MVP voting in 1998 where he saved 46 games.
Jason Schmidt- (1st year) Jason Schmidt played for four teams in 14 ML seasons (Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers). For his career Schmidt had a win-loss record of 130-96 with a 3.96 ERA (110 ERA+) and a 29.6 career WAR. In 1,996.1 career innings pitched he racked up 1,758 strikeouts. Schmidt was kind of a late bloomer and had a very short peak. After he left the Pirates and went to the Giants Jason Schmidt became one of the best pitchers from 2002-2005. During that four-year stretch Schmidt went 60-27 with a 3.34 ERA. The 2003 season was by far his best where he went 17-5 with a 2.34 ERA, 180 ERA+, and a 0.95 WHIP while finishing second in the CY Young award. Schmidt finished in the top-5 of the CY Young award twice, three-time All-Star, and even received MVP votes in 2003.
Cliff Floyd- (1st year) Cliff Floyd played in parts of 17 seasons with seven different teams (Montreal Expos, Florida Marlins, New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, and San Diego Padres). For his career Floyd hit .278/.358/.482 (119 OPS+) with 233 homeruns, 865 RBIs, 1,479 hits, 148 stolen bases, and a career WAR of 25.9. He finished fifth in the 1994 Rookie of the Year voting with the Montreal Expos. His only All-Star appearance came in 2001 with the Florida Marlins. Floyd also received MVP votes in 2001 (Marlins) and 2005 (Mets). You wonder what Cliff Floyd could have done if he was healthier. In his 17 ML seasons Floyd played more than 145 games in a season only four times.
Jermaine Dye- (1st year) Jermaine Dye played for four teams in his 14 major league seasons (Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Royals, Oakland A’s, and Chicago White Sox), Dye finished sixth in the 1996 Rookie of the Year voting with the Braves. He was sent to the Kansas City Royals the very next year where he spent five seasons. Dye spent the next four seasons with the A’s before ending his career with the White Sox who played with for five seasons. His career slash line was .274/.338/.488 (111 OPS+) with 325 homeruns, 1,072 RBIs, 1,779 hits, 984 runs scored, and a 20.3 career WAR. Dye was an All-Star twice (2000, 2006), Gold Glover (2000), Silver Slugger (2006), and MVP candidate (5th in 2006, 15th in 2008). The biggest accomplishment for Jermaine Dye had to be in 2005 when he won a World Series with the White Sox and ended up being the MVP of the series.
Rich Aurilia- (1st year) Rich Aurilia played for 15 years with four different teams (San Francisco Giants, Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres). The bulk of his career came with the Giants where he played there for 12 seasons. His career slash line came out to .275/.328/.433 (99 OPS+) to go along with 186 homeruns, 756 RBIs, 1,576 hits, and career WAR of 18.1. Aurilia’s best season came in 2001 when he was an All-Star and Silver Slugger, while finishing 12th in the MVP race. It was also a year where he set career highs in homeruns (37), RBIs (97), batting average (.324), on-base percentage (.369), slugging percentage (.572), OPS (.941), doubles (37), and hits (206) which led the National League.
Troy Percival- (1st year) Percival played for four teams on 14 seasons (Anaheim Angels, Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Tampa Bay Rays). He is best known as an Angels as he spent 10 of his 14 seasons in Anaheim. Percival closed out 358 games, which is 9th on the all-time saves list. He ended his career with 3.17 ERA (146 ERA+) and a 17.5 WAR. Percival was a four-time All-Star, came in fourth in the 1995 Rookie of the Year voting, and finished 15th in the MVP race in the 2002 the same season the Angels won the World Series. With Percival being a top 10 closer of all-time he might make the 5% needed to remain on the ballot but it will be difficult since the ballot is so clogged.
Aaron Boone- (1st year) Aaron Boone comes from a very rich baseball family and is a third generation ballplayer. His grandfather is Ray Boone, his father Bob Boone, and his brother is Bret Boone. Aaron played for 12 years with six different teams (Cincinnati Reds, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Florida Marlins, Washington Nationals, and Houston Astros). He hit .263/.326/.425 (94 OPS+) with 126 homeruns, 555 RBIs, 1,017 hits, 107 steals, and a 13.5 career WAR. Boone’s best years came a Cincinnati Red where he hit 86 of his 126 career homeruns and was an All-Star in 2003. However, Aaron Boone is best known as a Yankee when he was traded there at the deadline in 2003 and ended up hitting the dramatic walk-off homerun in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series against the Red Sox to advance to the World Series.
Tony Clark- (1st year) Tony Clark played 15 years for six different teams (Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, San Diego Padres). His career slash line came out to .262/.339/.485 (114 OPS+) with 251 career homeruns, 824 RBIs, 1,188 hits, and a career WAR of 12.5. Clark finished third in the 1996 Rookie of the Year voting. His only All-Star appearance came in the 2001 with the Tigers and finished 18th in the MVP voting in 1997. Clark may not become a Hall of Famer as a player but he is now the Chief of the MLB Players Association, I’d say he is doing well for himself after a nice playing career.
Eddie Guardado- (1st year) Eddie Guardado pitched for 17 years and played for four teams, 12 of those years were with the Minnesota Twins. It didn’t work out in the starting rotation early in his career but he flourished in the bullpen. Guardado accumulated 187 career saves including 45 in 2002 where he was named an All-Star. He had a career ERA of 4.31, an ERA+ of 109 which is above league average. “Everyday Eddie” pitched 944.2 innings in 908 appearances, struck out 798 batters, and held a career strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.29.