Thursday, January 9, 2014

Three Down, Many More to Go

Yesterday a trio of all-time greats--Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas--were voted into the baseball Hall of Fame. They will be officially inducted on July 27th alongside Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony LaRussa, the three unanimous selections from the Expansion Era ballot. Congratulations to all of them for receiving such a well-deserved honor.

But let's not give the BBWAA too much credit. Maddux, Glavine, and Thomas were all slam-dunks (as were the three skippers), and a failure to vote them in would have been incredibly shortsighted. Consider, though, that this Hall of Fame still has yet to induct:
  • Barry Bonds--baseball's all-time home run and walks leader, as well as the only player with seven MVP awards (nobody else has more than three)
  • Roger Clemens--the only pitcher with seven Cy Young awards (nobody else has more than five) also won seven ERA titles, 354 games and an MVP award
  • Craig Biggio--3,060 hits and more doubles (668) than any righthanded hitter in history
  • Mike Piazza--the best hitting catcher of all-time
  • Jeff Bagwell--a better all-around player than Thomas and only first baseman with more than 400 home runs and 200 steals. Has the fourth highest JAWs score of any first baseman to debut after 1880
  • Edgar Martinez--the sport's best DH in the position's 40-year existence as well as one of its best pure hitters with 514 doubles and a .312/.418/.515 career batting line
  • Tim Raines--the best percentage basestealer in the sport's history swiped 808 bags with an 84.7 percent success rate and reached base more times than Tony Gwynn
  • Mark McGwire--prolific slugger went yard 583 times in his career, broke Roger Maris's single season home run record and owns the best AB/HR ratio of all-time
  • Sammy Sosa--609 home runs and the only player to top 60 in three seasons
  • Rafael Palmerio--one of only four men with at least 3,000 hits and 500 home runs (the others are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Eddie Murray)
  • Jeff Kent--MVP with more long balls than any second baseman
  • Fred McGriff--one of just ten players to retire with an OPS over .886 in more than 10,000 plate appearances
  • Larry Walker--MVP with seven Gold Gloves and .313/.400/.565 career batting line
  • Alan Trammell--almost identical to Barry Larkin
  • Curt Schilling--best postseason pitcher in history with the best career K/BB ratio since 1900
  • Mike Mussina--one of baseball's 25 most valuable pitchers per bWAR
Not to mention...
  • Pete Rose--baseball's all-time hit king with 4,256 base knocks
  • Shoeless Joe Jackson--Deadball era legend has the third highest batting average (.356) and eighth-highest adjusted OPS (170) of all-time
  • Ted Simmons--top ten catcher (per JAWs) who ranks second among backstops in hits, doubles, and RBI 
Make no mistake: the system is still broken, and there is much work to be done.

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