The Hall of Fame in 2025

In our community, we have a very active and enthusiastic sports interest group. Headed up by a retired New York City schoolteacher, who is also the world’s biggest Giants fan, we’ve been fortunate enough to have visits from Fergie Jenkins, Josh Hamilton, Matt Williams, Hall of Fame Baseball Executive Roland Hemond and dozens of other sports luminaries. Each Spring, as our homage to Spring Training and the new baseball season, we host a baseball panel discussion on a particular topic. In the past, we’ve reviewed the “Golden Age of Baseball” (the 50’s & 60’s), debated the Hall of Fame, previewed the upcoming season, rated the top ten players at each position, reviewed the ten greatest teams of all time and discussed All-Star teams by decade. This time, we looked into the future to see what major league baseball would look like in the year 2025.

 

Earlier this week in front of an enthusiastic audience, the other two panelists tackled the outlook of the DH moving forward and how technology might be utilized in the next decade. My responsibility was to see what the crystal ball has in store for the Hall of Fame. Here are my notes from the presentation…

 

DETERMINING HALL OF FAME RESULTS IS NEVER EASY AND THE PROOF IS THAT IN 1994, BILL JAMES PREDICTED BRETT BUTLER, JOE CARTER, DAVID CONE, DWIGHT GOODEN, JUAN GONZALEZ, JIM KAAT, AL OLIVER, STEVE GARVEY, DALE MURPHY, JACK MORRIS, DON MATTINGLY, JACK MCDOWELL, FRED MCGRIFF, DAVE PARKER, TED SIMMONS, LEE SMITH, RUBEN SIERRA, ALAN TRAMMELL & LOU WHITAKER WOULD ALL GET ELECTED TO THE HALL OF FAME BY 2019…NONE HAVE MADE IT YET.

 

SO, IT SEEMS LIKE A DAUNTING TASK FOR SOMEONE TO TRY AND PREDICT THE HALL OF FAME MOVING FORWARD. LUCKILY, I’M ACQUAINTED WITH A LOCAL RESIDENT WHO HAS A DELOREAN SPORTS CAR JUST LIKE THE ONE IN “BACK TO THE FUTURE”. LAST WEEK, WE WENT FOR A SPIN AND ONCE THE CAR GOT UP TO 88 MILES PER HOUR, WE WERE TRANSPORTED TO 2025. I STOPPED IN TO ONE OF THE THREE BOOKSTORES LEFT IN AMERICA AND PICKED UP A SPORTS ALMANAC. SO, EVERYTHING IN THIS PRESENTATION IS FACT, NOT JUST CONJECTURE. AND, IF YOU BELIEVE THAT, SEE ME AT THE END OF THE EVENING BECAUSE I HAVE A BRIDGE FOR SALE.

 

WHILE MANY IN THIS AUDIENCE ARE “OLD SCHOOL” BASEBALL FANS, THE REALITY IS THAT TODAY’S BASEBALL WRITERS DEPEND NOT ONLY ON THEIR EYES, BUT ALSO ON ANALYTICS. FOR INDIVIDUAL PLAYERS, “WINS ABOVE REPLACEMENT” IS NOW A MAINSTREAM STATISTIC. IT MEASURES THE VALUE OF A PLAYER BASED ON HOW MANY MORE GAMES A TEAM MAY WIN WITH THAT PLAYER INSTEAD OF A BENCH PLAYER OR MINOR LEAGUER. THE MVP WINNERS EACH SEASON ARE USUALLY ONE OF THE BEST IN THIS CATEGORY AND LIFETIME “WAR” IS ALSO A FACTOR FOR HOF VOTES. ONCE A PLAYER GETS TO A CAREER NUMBER OF 60 OR MORE, HE GAINS ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATION. THIS YEAR’S INDUCTEES ARE EXAMPLES…JEFF BAGWELL GOT IN ON HIS 7TH TRY WITH A WAR OF 79.6, TIM RAINES GOT IN ON HIS 10TH (AND FINAL) BALLOT AND HAS A WAR OF 69.1, WHILE IVAN RODRIGUEZ BECAME A FIRST BALLOT HOF WITH 68.4. THIS GAUGE ISN’T AN END ALL, BUT IT DOES HELP SUMMARIZE A PLAYER’S CAREER CONTRIBUTION.

 

WITH THAT BACKGROUND, LET’S ANALYZE TWO DIFFERENT CATEGORIES OF PLAYERS AS WE LOOK TOWARD THE YEAR 2025.

 

 

#1 HALL OF FAME – WHICH RETIRED PLAYERS WILL BE IN THE HALL OF FAME BY 2025?

 

> CURRENTLY ON THE BALLOT

 

* TREVOR HOFFMAN ONLY MISSED THE HALL BY 1% IN 2017 AND IS LIKELY TO GET IN NEXT YEAR…BY THE NATURE OF THE STAT, RELIEF PITCHERS DON’T ACCUMULATE BIG WAR NUMBERS AND HE’S AN EXAMPLE WITH 28.4. GOOSE GOSSAGE HAD 41.8 AND BRUCE SUTTER ONLY HAD 24.5. DENNIS ECKERSLEY ACCUMULATED 62.5 WAR BUT HE WAS A STARTING PITCHER FOR ALMOST HALF OF HIS CAREER.

 

* VLADIMIR GUERRERO RECEIVED 71.7% IN HIS FIRST YEAR OF ELIGIBILITY WILL PROBABLY JOIN THE HALL IN 2018…HIS WAR IS 59.3

 

* EDGAR MARTINEZ GOT 58.6% IN HIS 8TH SEASON ON THE BALLOT AND HE MIGHT GET ENOUGH VOTES IN 2019, HIS LAST TIME ON THE BALLOT (SIMILAR TO TIM RAINES IN 2017)…THE WAR NUMBER IS 68.3

 

* ROGER CLEMENS AND BARRY BONDS BOTH ENDED UP WITH 54% THIS YEAR. THE BIAS AGAINST “PED” GUYS SEEMS TO BE SLOWING DOWN AS THE VOTERS GET YOUNGER AND THE OLDTIMERS ARE ELIMINATED. THE BEST GUESS IS THAT THEY COULD BOTH GET IN AS PART OF THE 2020 CLASS…IT WOULD BE THE 8TH YEAR ON THE BALLOT FOR BOTH.

 

* MIKE MUSSINA WAS AT 52% THIS TIME IN HIS 4TH TRY AND THE NUMBERS SHOULD CONTINUE TO GO UP…WE’LL SAY 2021 IS HIS YEAR TO CROSS THE 75% THRESHOLD. HIS WAR NUMBER OF 83 IS VERY IMPRESSIVE.

 

* CURT SCHILLING IS AT 45% IN HIS 5TH YEAR OF ELIGIBILITY AND SOME FEEL HE’LL GET IN EVENTUALLY…MANY THINK HE IS THE EQUAL OF MUSSINA DUE TO HIS POST-SEASON RECORD AND HIS WAR IS SIMILAR AT 79.9. IT SEEMS, HOWEVER, THAT HIS MOUTH AND CONTROVERSIAL COMMENTS COULD KEEP HIM FROM GETTING IN.

 

 

> NEW TO THE BALLOT IN 2018

 

* CHIPPER JONES SEEMS TO BE A FIRST-BALLOT “NO DOUBTER” WITH A 84.6 WAR.

 

* JIM THOME WILL RECEIVE IMMENSE SUPPORT AND WILL PROBABLY BE ELECTED BY 2019….HIS WAR IS 68.9.

 

* OTHER NEW ADDITIONS WILL CLOG THE BALLOT AND INCLUDE SCOTT ROLEN, ANDRUW JONES, JOHAN SANTANA, JOHNNY DAMON & OMAR VIZQUEL

 

> NEW TO THE BALLOT IN 2019

 

* MARIANO RIVERA WAS THE BEST EVER AT HIS SPECIALITY AND WILL APPROACH A RECORD PERCENTAGE DESPITE A 39.7 WAR…GRIFFEY HOLD THE RECORD AT 99.3%.

 

* ROY HALLADAY, TODD HELTON, ANDY PETTITTE & LANCE BERKMAN ALSO BECOME ELIGIBLE

 

> NEW TO THE BALLOT IN 2020

 

* DEREK JETER IS ANOTHER FIRST BALLOT LOCK AND WILL GARNER A HUGE PERCENTAGE…FOR THE RECORD, HIS WAR IS 71.7.

 

* OTHER CANDIDATES INCLUDE BOBBY ABREU, JASON GIAMBI & CLIFF LEE.

 

> NEW TO THE BALLOT IN 2021

 

* TIM HUDSON, MARK BUERHLE & TORII HUNTER TOP THE LIST BUT NONE SEEM TO HAVE THE CREDENTIALS.

 

> NEW TO THE BALLOT IN 2022

 

* DAVID ORTIZ COULD GET IN ON THE FIRST BALLOT, ESPECIALLY IF DH EDGAR MARTINEZ IS ALREADY  IN THE HALL…HIS WAR IS ONLY 50.5 DUE TO THE DH FACTOR.

 

* ALEX RODRIGUEZ WILL ALSO BE ELIGIBLE BUT HIS RECORD OF MULTIPLE OFFENSES WON’T BE OVERLOOKED…AND NOW THAT HE’S DATING JENNIFER LOPEZ, SHE WON’T GET MANY VOTES EITHER.

 

ANOTHER FACTOR BETWEEN NOW AND 2025 WILL BE THE RESULTS FROM THE NEW “TODAY’S GAME” COMMITTEE. THE DISCUSSION ON PLAYERS LIKE JACK MORRIS, ALAN TRAMMELL, DICK ALLEN AND DWIGHT EVANS MIGHT BUBBLE UP ONCE AGAIN…12 OF 16 VOTES ARE NEEDED FOR INDUCTION.

 

 

 

 

#2 HALL OF FAME – WHICH CURRENTLY ACTIVE PLAYERS WILL BE HALL OF FAMERS?

 

> THESE PLAYERS WILL NOT BE IN THE HALL BY 2025 UNLESS THEY RETIRE IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF YEARS, BUT WE CAN SPECULATE WHO WILL MAKE THE HALL IF WE’RE HAVING THIS DISCUSSION IN EIGHT YEARS.

 

* ICHIRO SUZUKI WILL BE A FIRST BALLOT INDUCTEE IN 2024 IF HE PLAYS TWO MORE SEASONS…3,000+ HITS AND TEN CONSECUTIVE GOLD GLOVES MAKE THE CASE…HIS WAR IS CURRENTLY 59.9.

 

* ADRIAN BELTRE WILL SURPASS 3,000 HITS THIS YEAR, HAS 445 HR’S AND FIVE GOLD GLOVES AS WELL AS A WAR OF 90.2…FIRST BALLOT IN 2025?

 

* ALBERT PUJOLS’ CONTRACT RUNS THROUGH 2021 AND HE ALREADY HAS 591 HR’S,  2,800+ HITS, THREE MVP’S AND A 101.1 WAR…95%+ IN 2027?

 

* ROBINSON CANO HAS PLAYED 12 SEASONS AND JUST HAD ONE OF HIS MOST PRODUCTIVE YEARS IN 2016…HE’LL PROBABLY BE CONSIDERED ONE OF THE TEN BEST 2B IN HISTORY. HIS WAR IS AT 62.4 AND HE’S STILL IN HIS PRIME.

 

* MIGUEL CABRERA WOULD PROBABLY BE ELECTED ON WHAT HE HAS DONE ALREADY (446 HR’S, 2,500+ HITS, TWO MVP’S, TRIPLE CROWN, 69.6 WAR) AND HIS CONTRACT RUNS THROUGH 2023.

 

* IF MIKE TROUT PERFORMS THE SAME WAY OVER THE NEXT FIVE SEASONS THAT HE HAS FOR HIS FIRST FIVE SEASONS, HE COULD BE A HALL OF FAME LOCK BY THE TIME HE’S 30. THINK ABOUT THIS…HE’S FINISHED 1ST OR 2ND IN THE MVP VOTING FOR ALL FIVE YEARS OF HIS CAREER AND ALREADY ACCUMULATED A WAR OF 48.5.

 

* SPEAKING OF YOUNGER GUYS, WHAT DO YOU THINK THE CAREER PATHS OF BUSTER POSEY, MAX SCHERZER, CLAYTON KERSHAW, MADISON BUMGARNER. JOSE ALTUVE & JOEY VOTTO MIGHT LOOK LIKE IN 2025?

 

AND, OF COURSE, THE HALL OF FAME ISN’T JUST FOR PLAYERS…MAYBE BRUCE BOCHY & TERRY FRANCONA IN THE COURSE OF TIME?

 

IT’S ALWAYS A GREAT DISCUSSION BECAUSE IF EVERY PERSON IN THIS ROOM HAD A BALLOT, YOU CAN BET THAT NO TWO WOULD BE ALIKE.

Drook Panel 17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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