We continue our Hall of Fame prediction quest with Major League Baseball.
Yesterday, we had some fun with the NBA and uncovered that — from young to old — an NBA player’s path to enshrinement isn’t overly rugged.
The MLB Hall of Fame is a whole different animal. It’s easily the most exclusive of all sporting annals, though I’m not sure I mean that in a good way. Specifically, there are only 312 elected members to the MLB Hall of Fame in well over 140 some odd years of existence.
For years the MLB has fallen by the wayside to the mega-popularity of the NFL and NBA. It’s perceived as archaic to those who view it. And those who write about it might as well be penning their scathing dinosaur reviews on stone tablet.
Induction to the Hall is nearly 100 percent decided on statistics.
The MLB Hall of Fame needs a makeover. But as much as I would like to give it one by inducting greats like Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens I can’t. For now, I’ll settle for prognosticating the active Major League Baseball players that will see their name and face in Cooperstown one day.
Baltimore Orioles: None.
What a boring team to start off with. Silly American League alphabet.
Boston Red Sox: David Ortiz*, Dustin Pedroia
David Ortiz gets an asterisk, though he shouldn’t because I have no doubt in my mind that he’s a Hall of Fame baseball player. He’s the greatest ever player to play his position, even if that position only requires him to hit a baseball.
When it’s his time, we’ll see just how much he’s haunted by the failed tests from early in his career. But 500 home runs and 1,600 RBI is nothing to trifle with.
As for Pedroia, it’s always tough for second basemen to stand out. But the 2007 ROY, 2008 AL MVP, four-time Gold Glover, and two-time World Series champion gives Pedroia as good a resume as any.
Chicago White Sox: None.
I wish I could confidently say that Chris Sale’s arm won’t fall off.
Cleveland Indians: None.
Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn should get honorary consideration for all he’s doing for the HIV community.
Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera
Miggy has played 12 full MLB seasons (13 total) and has batted over .320 in nine of them. Think about that for a second. He’s a career .321 hitter and is the last player to complete the coveted Triple Crown.
First ballot in Cooperstown tomorrow if I had a vote.
Houston Astros: None.
Considering the Astros are like a combined 17 years old I don’t think there’s much to work with here. Dallas Kuechel has a dope beard tho.
Kansas City Royals: None.
If only the Hall of Fame was for fundamentals the Royals would be killin’ it.
Los Angeles Angels: Albert Pujols, Mike Trout
Mike Trout is 24 years old and has played four full MLB seasons so perhaps he’s the most premature player on this list. But in those four years, he’s never finished lower than second in an MVP voting. And he’s been voted in all four years.
Albert Pujols, well. Yeah. He’s about as sure-thing as LeBron in the NBA.
Minnesota Twins: None.
What could have been if Joe Mauer didn’t fall off the face of the planet the last four years or so.
New York Yankees: Carlos Beltran, Alex Rodriguez*
Alex Rodriguez is a first ballot Hall of Famer to anyone who has a brain and understands that steroids and the steroid era is an important era in baseball history. Baseball is nothing today without it. But he’ll never get in for the same reason Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, etc, aren’t in and I’ll acknowledge that.
And I legitimately didn’t realize that Carlos Beltran’s been in the big leagues since 1998. That’s unbelievable. One of the most consistent players of the past 15-20 years. He’ll find his way in.
Oakland Athletics: None.
Moneyball as a fine film tho.
Seattle Marniners: Robinson Cano, Felix Hernandez
Robinson Cano with the Yankees was projecting to be a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer. In the two years since moving to the Seattle Mariners he’s lost a lot of his flash (nice way of saying his HR numbers have plummeted). He’s still a career .307 hitter and finished top-six in MVP voting five consecutive seasons.
Give me one more good season so I can put this to rest.
As for King Felix, well, that guy has over 2,100 career strikeouts and he’s only 29 years old. The model for consistency in modern day pitching.
Tampa Bay Rays: None.
I’m pretty sure every player on this list has a higher contract total than the Rays have payroll.
Texas Rangers: Prince Fielder.
Prince Fielder is a player that is currently right on the cusp of the Hall of Fame but would surely benefit from one or two more really solid offensive years. But at age 31 he’s boasts a career .287 average and his career .906 OPS is eighth amongst active players — five of whom ahead of him are also on this list.
Toronto Blue Jays: None.
Mark Buehrle’s argument is really strong, but may come up just short.
Arizona Diamondbacks: None.
The Diamondbacks haven’t had a memorable person play for them since Luis Gonzalez. Paul Goldshmidt is awesome tho.
Atlanta Braves: None.
It’s not the late-90’s, early-00’s anymore, Toto.
Chicago Cubs: None.
Until they win the World Series this year and then the entire roster is getting a bust.
Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto
Joey Votto is the patron saint of plate discipline. He lead the entire league in walks four different seasons, won the 2010 NL MVP, and has a career OPS+ of 156 — a number higher than Hank Aaron, Joe DiMaggio, Mel Ott, and Honus Wagner.
Colorado Rockies: None.
The Rocks have to be the most obscure team in baseball. But Troy Tulowitzki circa 2010, damn.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Chase Utley, Clayton Kershaw
Can I get a nod for Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez? No? OK, darn. Utley and Kershaw it is.
Miami Marlins: Ichiro.
The greatest international player of all time, without question. Don’t argue me on this.
Milwaukee Brewers: None.
If Ryan Braun wasn’t such an asshat I would consider him. But Ryan Braun is a huge asshat and the only post-baseball honoring he’s going to receive is a spokesmanship for a Herpes Cream Medication.
New York Mets: David Wright.
David Wright’s career is the definition of really good but nothing great. But hey, sometimes durability and consistency gets the job done, and in Wright’s case I think it might. Not to mention, a Mets World Series wouldn’t hurt in the eyes of the voters.
Philadelphia Phillies: None.
I swear Philadelphia-area sports is like the ‘Crying Jordan Meme” of American cities.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen.
McCutchen is one of my players that’s sitting on a meteoric trajectory, though his current stats aren’t screaming Hall of Fame. He has an NL MVP in his pocket and is a total OPS monster.
Keep an eye on this one.
San Diego Padres: None
The San Diego Latino Fathers. I love names.
San Francisco Giants: Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner
5 World Series Games:
At 26, that’s all you need to know about Madison Bumgarner.
In six MLB seasons Buster Posey has a Rookie of the Year, an NL MVP, and three World Series championships. Done.
St. Louis Cardinals: None.
Your tears are like PEDs to me.
Washington Nationals: Bryce Harper
He’s Mike Trout with better hair…depending on your definition of good hair.