With Frank Thomas (500 homers) and Craig Biggio (3000 hits) reaching career milestones, yesterday, I’m moved to assess the prospective “Hall Of Famers” currently playing in the big leagues. Sure, this list can be really scrutinized and open to interpretation. Thus, I’ve decided to consider players on their accrued merits, to date …. and not what they’re forecasted to do in the future. If you’re not a “shue in,” you’re not on my list.
I’ll have to issue an apology, in advance, to all Derek Jeter and Ichiro fans. They simply haven’t been in the game long enough to achieve the statistical greatness. That said, I harbor little doubt Jeter will achieve HOF status, eventually …. he’s that steady. He’s amassed nearly 2300 hits, and at 33 years old, 3000 hits is well within range. He’s also a leader and has been to the postseason every season of his major league career.
As for Ichiro, I think he’ll simply run out of time and steam …. before he reaches the critical plateaus. He’s collected more than 1400 hits in 1000 games, which is impressive. Yet, even at the blistering pace he’s set, he’ll need to average about 150 hits, per season, over the next 6 seasons to reach 3000 hits. He’s going to be 34 in October. I don’t see it happening.
The same can be said for Mike Mussina (242 wins) and Curt Schilling (213 wins) who just don’t have the numbers to secure entry into Cooperstown. There will be mitigating factors combating these guys, as well. Mussina has never won 20 games in a season and has never dominated the game. Schilling has maintained a lukewarm relationship with the media …. they decide the balloting and he should’ve learned the “going to war with people who buy their ink by the barrel” slogan a long time ago.
Okay, so enough with guys who don’t make it. Here’s your current American Leaguers guaranteed an induction day into the Hall Of Fame:
Manny Ramirez, Boston Red Sox – 481 homeruns, .313 average
Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees – 492 homeruns, .306 average, 2-Time AL MVP
Sammy Sosa, Texas Rangers – 601 homeruns
Frank Thomas, Toronto Blue Jays – 500 homeruns, .303 average, 2-Time AL MVP
Roger Clemens, New York Yankees – 349 wins, 4600 k’s, 7-Time CY, 1 AL MVP
So, this is the list of “guarantees.” I realize Sammy Sosa will be debatable, from a moral perspective, for many fans. However, more than 75% of voters are gonna employ the “not what you believe, but, what you can prove” theory with Sosa. He’s getting in, unless the “smoking gun” appears.
Frank Thomas ruled the game in the mid-1990’s and he’s remained steady over the years. He’s clearly a stats driven guy …. and he’s achieved them. He’ll also get more than 75% of the votes, on the first ballot.
Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez are threatening imminent entry into the “500 Homerun Club” and they’ve got a lot left in the tank. As for A’Rod …. he’s got an awful lot left. If he stays healthy through the next decade – and that’s a big IF – he could threaten the crown Barry Bonds is stealing from Hank Aaron.
As for Clemens, I doubt anybody really wants to argue he’s the greatest pitcher of our generation …. do you? He’s simply dominated the game and will probably garner nearly 100% of all votes. Yeah, I’m sure some knothead, purest will leave him off the ballot as a sign of their quirkiness and at an opportunity for their 15 minutes of infamy.
So, there it is. Tomorrow, I’ll ring up the National League “Hall Of Famers” …. a longer list, indeed.