Now that we are at the end of 2014, it is time to reflect on the year that was. It is also almost time for the Baseball Writers of America to vote on who will be inducted into the 2015 MLB Hall of Fame. Everyone has their opinion on who will get elected and who won’t. So let’s make a case for some of the players who could be snub in 2015.
The former shortstop played in six All-Star games, won four Gold Gloves and three Sliver Slugger awards. Trammell received an AL MVP vote in seven out of the 20 seasons he played in the majors. He retired with 2,365 hits, a .285 batting average with 412 doubles, 185 home runs, 1,003 RBI, 236 steals and 850 walks.
Trammell also finished with a career 70.4 WAR, which is the eight best among shortstops. If it wasn’t for Tony Fernandez in the 1980s, Trammell probably would have won more gold gloves than he did. The problem is that Trammell played at the same era as Cal Ripken, Ozzie Smith and later Barry Larkin. Trammell is often compared to Ripken, Smith and Larkin and that’s not fair to him.
Trammell is one of the best shortstops to lace up cleats and his stats back that up. While he has two more years on the Hall of Fame ballot, it is unlikely the baseball writers will ever elect him to Cooperstown.
When Raines retired after 20 seasons in Major League Baseball, he was arguably the second greatest leadoff hitter of all-time (Rickey Henderson of course being number one). What hurts Raines is the same thing that hurts Trammell, he was overshadowed by a greater player.
From 1981-1984, Raines led the National League in stolen bases each season has he averaged 79 steals during that span. From 1981-1992, Raines averaged 60 steals and had a ridiculous 85.1 stolen base percentage.
Raines’ 583 steals during the 1980s only ranks second to Henderson’s 838. The biggest argument against Raines getting into the Hall of Fame is that he never reached 3,000 hits and he wasn’t a .300 career hitter, nor was he a power hitter (170 career homeruns).
The case for Raines other than his stole bases is his seven All-Star appearances, his 1986 batting title and his WAR in left field. Raines played most of his career in left field and he finished with the eighth best WAR (69.1) at his position.
Out of the seven players above him, four of them are Hall of Famers (Ted Williams, Henderson, Carl Yastrzemski, and Ed Delahanty). The other three (Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez and Pete Rose) should be in the Hall of Fame. While I think Raines is a Hall of Famer, it’s doubtful he will ever get in. If he was a .300 career hitter or if he had 3,000 career hits, Raines would have probably been elected already.
Larry Walker was one of the most underrated players in the 1990s. Even if voters don’t believe he is a Hall of Famer, you can’t overlook his career stats.
The outfielder finished with a .313 career average with 2,160 hits, 471 doubles, 383 homers, 1,311 RBI and 1,355 runs in 17 seasons. Walker also won the 1997 NL MVP and finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting three other times.
The best thing about Walker was, he was a rare all-around outfielder. He won seven Gold Gloves, was a five-time All-Star and won three Silver Slugger Awards. Walker also finished with 35 homers four times and stole at least 15 bases seven times during his career.
Two things hurt Walker’s candidacy for the Hall of Fame. The first thing is the era he played in. There are way too many candidates in his era that were better and not many people considered Walker one of the top 10 players of his generation. The biggest reason Walker may never get into Cooperstown is the stigma of playing at Coors Field.
He had a career .381 with 154 home runs and 521 RBIs in Denver, so it is hard to say the thin air didn’t help him. If Walker does ever get into the Hall of Fame, it would be on the Veterans Committee many years down the road. With the crowded ballot in 2015, he doesn’t have much of a chance.
If Fred McGriff was born a decade earlier, he would be a shoe-in for the Baseball Hall of Fame. As it is, he is a borderline candidate.
If you look at McGriff’s stats, they are very comparable to players that are already in the Hall. He had a career batting average of .284 with 493 homeruns, 2,490 hits, 1,550 RBI, 1,349 runs and 441 doubles in his 19-year career. Another reason McGriff should get more considering for the Hall of Fame is what he did during postseason play.
In 50 playoff games, McGriff had a .303 batting average with 10 home runs, 11 doubles, 37 RBIs. He also was the cleanup hitter for the 1995 Atlanta Braves, who won the World Series .McGriff hit 30 home runs 10 times in his career, but it is likely he will never get elected to Cooperstown.
McGriff never hit 40 home runs or never had more than 110 RBIs in a season. You can argue that the 1994-1995 MLB strike is the biggest reason he is not in the Hall of Fame. McGriff could have easily hit another 10 home runs during that span. If he did, writers would have probably view his career very differently.
McGriff is one of the most underrated player in baseball history. It is a shame players like Barry Bonds, Frank Thomas and Ken Griffey Jr overshadowed McGriff’s superb career.
Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio were the two leaders of the Houston Astros during the 1990s. While it is likely Biggio gets elected in 2015, Bagwell may never get into the Hall of Fame.
The case for the first baseman is he had a career .297 batting average with 449 home runs, 2,314 hits 1,529 RBI, 1,517 runs and 1,401 walks. He was also a four-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger award winner and won a Gold Glove Award in 1994. Bagwell also won the 1994 NL MVP and the 1991 NL Rookie of the Year. Two things are working against Bagwell ever getting into the Hall of Fame.
The first thing is Bagwell never reached 500 home runs or 3,000 hits. The suspicion that he used Performance-enhancing drugs is likely the biggest reason he will never receive a Hall of Fame plaque.
While there’s no evidence he ever used steroids, there have been rumors in a few circles since Bagwell was a muscular power hitter during the 1990s. Bagwell himself has denied ever using PEDs, so it is up to the writers to decide if they believe him.
Last year, Bagwell received 54.3 percent of the Hall of Fame votes. With the crowded ballot this year, his percentages aren’t likely to improve very much. With the recent rule changes, Bagwell will get 10 years on the ballot instead of 15, so time is of the essence for him since this will be his fifth year on the ballot.
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