Every year around mid to late July you can set your sights on Cooperstown, NY. As you can see here, I wrote about the Hall of Fame last year as well. Hall of Fame Weekend is always fun to watch, especially if one of the inductees was one of your favorite players. This year will be no different as there are 6 more inductees. The players are great DH’s Harold Baines and Edgar Martinez. There are also two great starting pitchers being inducted in Mike Mussina and Roy Halladay. Finally, two great closers being inducted are Lee Smith and Mariano Rivera. I wanted to take a brief look at their careers and what players have a shot at being inducted next year.
Let’s start with Baines and Martinez, Harold Baines was a somewhat controversial selection. He was voted in by a committee, not the writer’s association. He played in over 20 seasons which is amazing. However, he played the field mainly during his first 7 seasons and was primarily a DH for the rest of his career. Baines was a 6 time all-star and compiled some amazing career numbers. When you look at his overall numbers they are impressive as he had over 2800 hits, almost 400 homers, over 1600 RBI’s, and 1300 runs scored. Those numbers sure are impressive and if his selection is controversial to the writers, clearly someone felt he was worthy. Edgar Martinez played his entire career for the Mariners. Few people would argue that he is Hall of Fame worthy as he had a marvelous career. He produced over 2200 hits, over 500 doubles, over 300 homers, over 1200 rbi’s, and over 1200 runs. When comparing his numbers to Harold Baines’s, Baines was superior. However, Martinez had a better batting average, better on base percentage, and better slugging percentage.
Let’s move on to the two starters, Mussina and Halladay. Mike Mussina played for the Orioles and the Yankees during his career. He is not necessarily a controversial decision but it should have been a no-brainer. Mussina won 270 games in his career, while spending his entire career in the toughest division in baseball. Mussina also has the 13th best war among pitchers since WWII, that statistic alone should have been enough to get him in immediately. Roy Halladay is the other starter on the list. Unfortunately, Halladay died in a plane crash a couple of years ago. He does not have the massive numbers that many other pitchers have compiled, but he has the right numbers. He was an 8 time all-star, 2 time Cy Young winner while being runner up twice. He also threw a no-hitter in a playoff game.
I want to finish with the closers. Lee Smith played for eight teams, but most remember him as a Chicago Cub. Lee Smith retired as the all-time leader in saves. You could argue that he helped shape the modern closer role. I wanted to close with the best closer of all-time, Mariano Rivera. I could give a million different stats to justify his enshrinement. I will only give a couple, they are staggering. Rivera has the lowest career era of any pitcher in the last 100 years. He managed to turn it up in the playoffs and had a career .70 earned run average. Quite simply, Mariano was awesome!
There will be another vote in a few months and next year at this time we could be discussing a new group of enshrinees. Players like Jeter, Konerko, Cliff Lee, and Alfonso Soriano will be on the ballot for the first time. You could also finally see names like Shilling, Clemens, and Bonds get inducted. No matter who gets voted in they will undoubtedly be deserving. Every year there is an argument about who got in and who did not, but in my opinion if the majority votes for you that is clearly enough. I know I enjoyed watching all of these players over the years, even if they help beat the Yankees.