The Hall of Fame ceremony was this weekend, and some of my friends from back home in DC traveled up to attend since Cal Ripken was going to be inducted. And we got to talking about future inductions, which had me looking at the list of eligible guys for each year. Assume I’m not even considering them for the Hall and just talking about their careers unless I expressly say otherwise.
Brady Anderson – I hear he’s still got sideburns, which is tremendous. He was a solid player. I always enjoyed watching him for the Orioles. He of course is best known for his bizarre one year 50 HR performance, which combined with his tremendous physique at that time raised a lot of suspicions.
Andy Benes – He had a few good years, but not much consistency at a high level.
Delino DeShields – I have fond memories of Delino when he came up with the Expos. He was a fun player to watch with his speed and hustle. I also remember his Upper Deck rookie card in 1990 well, although I’m not sure why.
Shawon Dunston – First overall pick of the 1982 draft. That didn’t turn out too well.
Chuck Finley - Hot wife. Crazy, but hot. Actually a pretty good pitcher during a period of inflated offense.
Travis Fryman – Very reliable player. He’s the sort of solid, unspectacular guy with limited upside that I never draft on my fantasy teams.
David Justice – When I first became a baseball fan, David Justice was the man. I thought of him as a future Hall of Fame type for sure. Unfortunately that didn’t come together. Still, he had a nice career. I think he’s a guy that deserves to remain on the ballot for a couple years, although obviously he’s never coming close to being elected.
Chuck Knoblauch – Think he regrets his trade demand from the Twins? The pressure of the Yankees killed his career. He’s not even 40 yet, and he had as good of, if not a better, start to his career than Craig Biggio.
Mike Morgan – Generic name, generic career. Wonder if he gets a sympathy vote from someone.
Robb Nen – Wow, he’s already eligible? Short career, but when he was on he was a great pitcher.
Tim Raines – “Rock” had a solid career. Oodles of stolen bases, and a good hitter with a lot of hits, too. He’s the best candidate from the 2008 class, but I don’t see him getting in. Certainly not first ballot.
Greg Swindell – Can you believe he pitched 17 years? He had one really strong year in 1988 but mostly was just around.
Randy Velarde – Who’d he pay to get on the ballot?
Mark Wohlers – See “Randy Velarde.”
Steve Avery – He’ll ultimately be remembered as the answer to a trivia question – the third member of the Braves’ young trio of Avery, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz.
Jay Bell – Solid major leaguer. Good fielder, good hitter. Mostly played out of the spotlight, though.
John Burkett – I’ve blocked out most of his career, as I still remember him almost exclusively as a Giant (although I recall him in a Red Sox and Ranger cap as well).
David Cone – I liked David Cone a lot. He was even cool with me when he was with the Yankees, which was quite the feat. I remember being in awe of him having a 20-3 record and 2.22 ERA in 1988, which just looked absolutely ridiculous as far as numbers go (and is for that matter). He managed to get in at least one really strong season for every team he played for. He was a very good pitcher during an era where it was hard for pitchers, and absolutely deserves Hall consideration even if he isn’t going to make it.
Mike Bordick – He was the guy the Orioles signed to move Cal Ripken permanently to third base. It turned out okay, but Bordick was nothing special. I’ll always remember Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell shilling for Bordick, and I could never figure out why.
Ron Gant – Had his peak with the Braves, just like David Justice. But for whatever reason, he never seemed like as big of a deal.
Mark Grace – Great name, great player. I don’t think he’s a Hall of Fame level guy, but I’d certainly be willing to entertain the notion. Very good defense and contact hitting, but ultimately that isn’t what people in this era want out of a first baseman.
Rickey Henderson – Finally a yes. Clearly he’s a Hall of Famer. First ballot. Greatest leadoff man of all time.
Denny Neagle – His contract with Colorado was a mistake of staggering proportions.
Dean Palmer – I didn’t realize until looking at his stats how many times he hit close to or over 30 homers and close to or over 100 RBI. Speaks to the era, because he totally was under the radar with that.
Dan Plesac – An average middle reliever. He wouldn’t be on the ballot if he didn’t have saves at the beginning of his career, and I don’t much care about saves anyway.
Greg Vaughn – He had a combined 95 home runs and 237 RBI from 1998-1999 and finished with 355 home runs. Again, this was a crazy era for power hitting.
Mo Vaughn – It’s too bad Mo Vaughn doesn’t end up in the Hall of Fame. He was a really great hitter, nice guy, and unlike most of the guys on the list, he was really one of the game’s elite players for a few years there. But his career was cut short.
Matt Williams – Very good hitter. He had a nice run with the Giants, and then a resurgence with the D-Backs. He won’t get in though.
Mike Williams – The first guy who I couldn’t immediately identify. Not Mitch Williams, right? And not Mike Williams the wide receiver? Oh yeah, Mike Williams the mediocre reliever for the Phillies. God bless the guy, but he really shouldn’t be on the ballot.
2010:Roberto Alomar – Yes. Beautiful hitter, beautiful fielder, nearly 3000 hits. Yes, his career rapidly fell apart after the trade to the Mets. But that doesn’t diminish his earlier career. He belongs in the Hall.
Kevin Appier – I wonder if he would have been more highly regarded if he didn’t play in KC most of his career.
Rod Beck – R.I.P.
Ellis Burks – I give him credit for resilience. He looked like a guy seriously on the decline with the Red Sox, but then he revitalized his career with the Rockies. Then again it looked like he was done, and he came back with the Giants and Red Sox. He feels like a guy that didn’t live up to his potential but his stats are respectable.
Andres Galaragga – Another guy with unexpectedly strong stats, which just emphasizes how hard it’s going to be to evaluate hitters in this generation. I always liked the Big Cat. Really good seasons for the Expos, Braves and Rockies.
Pat Hentgen – His career started off so well that I always expected him to regain that success, but he never did.
Mike Jackson – I remember his name a lot better than his career.
Eric Karros – Played 12 straight seasons with the Dodgers, which is impressive in the current era. Good first baseman, but nothing special.
Barry Larkin – 12 time all star, 9 silver sluggers, 3 gold gloves and an MVP. He’s going to get Hall support for sure. He’s close, but I’m not sure he gets in. He just doesn’t feel quite special enough to me. Certainly the best shortstop in the NL during that period, though.
Edgar Martinez – Excellent professional hitter. I expect him to get a small amount of support, but it will never grow. Too many excellent hitters to consider and he was mostly a DH.
Fred McGriff – Another tough call. Almost 500 home runs and 2,500 hits. He’d probably have a better shot if he had one season that really stood out.
Shane Reynolds – I had totally forgotten he played his last two seasons in uniforms other than the Astros uniform. Competent third starter type.
Robin Ventura – I think he should get in, just so they can put him getting popped by Nolan Ryan on his plaque.
Todd Zeile – He played for a whopping 11 different teams.
Wilson Alvarez – I remember him more for the disastrous contract he signed with the D-Rays than anything. Boy, what a cursed franchise.
Carlos Baerga – Great name, and great career peak. Too bad it didn’t last very long.
Jeff Bagwell – I lean yes. If he could have played a few more years in the bigs he’d likely be an easy choice. But he was a feared slugger for pretty much his entire career, and one of the top players in the majors.
Bret Boone – I thought he would fall off after his freaky good year in 2001, but he maintained it a few more years after that.
Kevin Brown – I might get laughed at for this, but I would seriously consider him. Not just as in he should be looked at, but as in I think he might belong in. He doesn’t have the wins that most hall of famers do, but this is a guy with a 3.28 career ERA in a hitter’s era. Top six for Cy Young 5 times. Top 2 for ERA 4 times. He was a really good pitcher.
John Franco – I think of his career as ending around 1997, so it’s amazing he kept going for so long. Good pitcher. Won’t go to the hall of fame, but a guy you want in your bullpen.
Juan Gonzalez – He sure started like a hall of famer. Then it all fell apart. He doesn’t get in.
Marquis Grissom – He was just a guy that was around.
Mike Hampton – He’s not a hall of famer, but he’s got something more valuable: lots and lots of money.
Al Leiter – He had a solid career. Doesn’t really stand out.
Tino Martinez – Valuable part of the best 90s Yankees teams and a solid major league career.
Raul Mondesi – I always felt like he had tremendous talent but could never put it all together. He ultimately didn’t have a very noteworthy career.
Hideo Nomo – Nomo, on the other hand, had a very noteworthy career. He was something really special when he debuted, both in terms of his actual performance and in terms of the significance it took on. He was probably the most important player in the importation of top Japanese talent, and a great pitcher for the Dodgers before other teams started to figure out how to hit him.
John Olerud – Olerud was a memorable figure with the helmet on the field, the .363 season, and jumping straight to the majors. Nice player for sure.
Rafael Palmeiro – Even in the 90s, 3,000 hits and 500 homers gets you in. And I’m not disqualifying anyone for steroids based on my assumption that anyone could be using during this period and most probably were.
Troy Percival – Very good closer for the Angels.
Benito Santiago – He had a very interesting career. He was a noteworthy player for the Padres, then seemingly vanished prior to a resurgence with the Giants.
Ugueth Urbina – He won’t be making the hall of fame, and he wouldn’t be able to attend the ceremony anyway.
Larry Walker – He benefited from Coors Field, but he was very good for the Expos too. He also was a solid fielder. He had a very nice career.