November 27 - Slim Pickins’ for Hall Voters
The members of the baseball Writers of America who get to vote for the Hall of Fame will be getting
their ballots shortly. The first thing they will notice is the lack of a sure thing on the ballot among
players who are eligible for induction for the first time.
The list reads like a who’s who of baseball players who were very good but not Hall of Fame caliber.
The list includes in alphabetical order: Rick Aguilera, Albert Belle, Will Clark, Gary DiSarcina, Alex
Fernandez, Gary Gaetti, Dwight Gooden, Ozzie Guillen, Orel Hershiser, Gregg Jefferies, Doug Jones,
Hal Morris, Walt Weiss and John Wetteland.
Who among those players is a no-doubt-about it Hall of Famer? The
answer is none of the above. Orel Hershiser is the only player on the list
above who should get any consideration for the Hall of Fame. Hershiser
had a nice 18-year major league career, 12 of those seasons with the
Dodgers. He won 204 major league games, the 1988 National League
Cy Young Award and a World Series MVP. He also still holds the major
league record for consecutive scoreless innings (59), which he also
accomplished in 1988. But, if you look at his career, he really had only
one dominant season. If you take away 1988, Hershisers’ career record
is a slightly above average at 181-142. Hershiser does not belong in the Hall of Fame, but he might
garner enough votes to keep his name on the ballot for another year.
Albert Belle had a very nice major league career. Belle hit 381 home runs and knocked in1239 runs
in 12-season major league career. From 1991 to 2000 he was one of the most feared hitters in the
major leagues. Belle was certainly good enough to get some votes. His problem however, is that he
treated the media (and others) like trash. This is good time for members of the media to show Albert
Belle what they think about him. My guess is Belle does not get enough votes to make the Hall.
Some of the other 12 players eligible for the first time certainly had their moments in the sun. From
1984-1988, Dwight Gooden was 91-35, but Doc won only 103 games over the next 11 seasons and
his well documented off the field problems will certainly keep him out of Cooperstown.
The voters will have some leftover players to vote on as well. Players who have been on the ballot
previously who keep getting enough votes to stay on the ballot but not enough to get to Cooperstown.
That list includes Bert Blyleven, Dave Concepcion, Andre Dawson, Steve Garvey, Rich Gossage,
Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Willie McGee, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Jim Rice, Lee
Smith, Bruce Sutter and Alan Trammell. All very good players. All players I would love to have on my
team. But Hall of Famers?
We’ll have to let the voters decide.