Long first baseman Fred McGriff He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and is the only player elected out of eight candidates under consideration by the era’s 16-person panel. McGriff was a unanimous vote, receiving the votes of all sixteen members.
Twelve votes were needed to be selected, and of the seven other players on the ballot, Don Mattingly came closest, with eight votes. Curt Schilling got seven votes, Dale Murphy Six votes and the other candidates (Albert BellAnd the Barry BondsAnd the Roger ClemensAnd the Rafael Palmero) Each of them received less than four votes.
509 with 493 home runs during his career, which spanned 19 seasons (1986-2004) with the Blue Jays, Padres, Braves, Rays, Cubs, and Dodgers. Crime Dog’s stellar resume included a World Series ring with the 1995 Braves, as well as the individual honors of five All-Star appearances, three Silver Slugger Awards, and six top-10 MVP voting. McGriff’s highest MVP finish was fourth, during the 1993 season split between San Diego and Atlanta.
The Yankees did indeed draft McGriff in the ninth round in 1981, but he was dealt to the Blue Jays in 1982 as part of a deal that longtime Bronx fans still remember with regret—ironically, having Mattingly as the Yankees’ future first baseman was One of the reasons New York has been so comfortable dealing with McGriff. Blossoming as a star in Toronto, however, McGriff found himself contracted to the Padres nearly exactly 32 years ago to this day, in one of baseball’s most iconic businesses. Jays McGriff and Tony Fernandez moved to the Padres for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter, in a swap that set a schedule for Toronto’s World Series titles in 1992 and 1993.
The Padres’ own hopes of competing were dashed, and McGriff was one of several notables dealt during a fire sale in 1993. The first baseman became one of the Braves’ strongest hits throughout the 1990s, and he enjoyed some championship success himself with Atlanta’s 1995 title. During his postseason career, McGriff continued to swing powerful at bats, hitting .303/.385/.532 with 10 homers on 218 PA in the playoffs.
McGriff then joined the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1998, as the Tampa native got a chance to play in his hometown. Over five seasons with the Devil Rays and then brief stints with the Cubs and Dodgers, McGriff was still an above-average hitter at least into his late 30s, before finally starting to slow with Los Angeles in 2003 and then a final season with Tampa Bay. in 2004.
Although McGriff was a staple of any “pro hitter” discussion, he was somewhat underestimated during his career, possibly due to the fact that he played for several teams during his career rather than becoming a prominent figure in one particular franchise. The 1994–1995 players’ strike has often been cited as a reason for McGriff’s lack of Cooperstown recognition, as those losing games certainly cost McGriff a chance to cross the 500 homer threshold, leaving him with “only” 493 big flies.
These may be reasons why McGriff never came close to the 75% voting threshold required for induction by book. It also didn’t help that McGriff had bad luck running for election amidst a crowded era for candidates, including several players hounded by suspicions of PED or other off-field issues – including Bonds, Clemens, Palmeiro and Schilling.
“Veterans Committee” is the general name for the annual committee of rotating membership, organized by the Hall Of Fame each year to measure the statuses of players who were not elected or considered by the writers, or individuals who are not part of the writers’ ballot. Candidates are considered to be from the “Modern Baseball” (1980–present) and “Baseball Classic” (1980–present) periods, and are divided into a three-year cycle…
- Contemporary Baseball, Players: 2022, 2025, 2028, etc.
- Contemporary Baseball, Directors/Executives/Referees: 2023, 2026, 2029, etc.
- Classic Baseball, All Candidates: 2024, 2027, 2030, etc.
As such, the seven players who did not vote on this year’s ballot will have to wait until December 2025 for another look, and it’s not necessarily a guarantee that any of those seven will make it to the 2025 shortlist. It changes every year, it is very likely that the HOF candidate who missed this time will be considered more favorably by a future committee.
However, the acute lack of support for Bonds and Clemens on this poll could be a strong hint that it will be a while before the hard feelings around the two stars’ alleged use of PEDs dissipate. While Bonds and Clemens were not recruited by writers, their final year of polling saw them each receive at least 65% of the vote, which is respectably close to the 75% threshold. Likewise, Palmeiro (who was suspended for using a PED in 2005) only lasted four years on the writers’ ballot before he fell, perhaps a surprising candidate for inclusion on this year’s Contemporary Baseball list. Schilling’s history of inflammatory and controversial statements and tweets also dented his support from the book, and his first appearance on an era committee made him far less introspective.
This year’s 16-person panel consisted of Angels owner Arte Moreno, former Blue Jays president Paul Beeston, Twins president/CEO Dave St. Peter, Diamondbacks president/CEO Derek Hall, White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams, Marlins GM Kim Ng, former Red Sox/Cubs front office chief Theo Epstein, San Francisco Chronicle’s Suzanne Slusser, Minneapolis Star Tribune’s La Phil E. Neal III, longtime statistician and broadcaster Steve Hurdt, and Hall of-Fame players Greg Maddox, Jack Morris, Ryan Sandburg, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell. Chipper Jones was initially supposed to be part of the committee, but he could not participate due to illness and was replaced by Hall.
More is coming…
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