There are two more players on the Hall Of Fame ballot (in addition to Ken Griffey Jr – see previous post I think should be elected making it a trio of inductees as we saw last year (see the full list of candidates here). The first is a relief pitcher who held the record for career saves until someone named Rivera came along and the second is a catcher who hit the most home runs ever for a player at that position.
Trevor Hoffman recorded his final save at the age of 42. A dominant right handed closer, he appeared in seven All Star Games, won two Rolaids Relief Awards, and recorded 603 saves. You can’t dismiss someone who’s been replaced by a player of the stature of Rivera who is destined to be a unanimous electee when he is eligible. Relief pitching is still in a state of flux in terms of its ever increasing role in today’s game. I just hope that some of the old time writers recognize that it’s a part of the game that’s here to stay – good or bad.
My second and final choice this year is a bit more complicated. Whether valid or not, Mike Piazza has been drawn into the steroid era of baseball. Currently, he sits at 69.5% which is just shy of the 75% minimum to get elected. When innuendo is in play (there’s no proof that he was a user), we need to be fair and let it go. Piazza’s numbers, while not overwhelming, are outstanding – especially given the challenges of the position he played. A brief recap: 427 home runs (a record), .308 career batting average, .377 on base percentage, and a 12 time All Star. According to Baseball Reference, his numbers compare to Hall members such as Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra.
All in all, Griffey Jr, Hoffman, and Piazza combined make a decent showing for this year’s selections. We’ll see what the writers think soon.