Finally, after a two day delay (who knew that so much news would happen on the trade deadline?), we return to the Future Hall of Fame topic.
Okay, so a quick recap. First, I looked back and determined that the Hall of Fame had sort of stopped inducting players at a reasonable rate (at least, compared to what they had done historically). Then, I decided to look at some players who were active in 2006 to get an idea of candidates to make the Hall in the future, that way we might get an idea of what a slightly larger Hall might look like. However, my two-part retrospective didn’t really organize the players in any way, other than the order that they came to me.*
*If you were able to pick up on an order, please let me know. I’ve been trying to figure it out for years now with minimal luck.
However, that order may not be the order that they’re most likely to be inducted into the Hall. And so, I took that list and decided to organize it into something shorter and more coherent here. Also, in case you’re curious/don’t want to go find the numbers in the older pieces: 37 players is the traditional average and about 3% of the players at the moment; 43 and a half is 3.5%; 50 is 4%; 62 is 5%; 74 and a half is 6%; and 82 anda half is 6.643%, the average from 1901 to 1982.
These are the guys playing in 2006 who are, in my thinking, locks for the Hall. Maybe they don’t make it on the first ballot (for various reasons-steroids, suspected steroids, not Babe Ruth, not Willie Mays, too many voters get confused by a big word someone uses making their case, whatever the electorate thinks up), but their eventual addition to the Hall is basically inevitable. Again, the numbers are here as a counter-I’m sort of treating this entire tier as equal probability (something near 100%).
1. Albert Pujols
2. Alex Rodriguez
3. Barry Bonds
4. Ken Griffey, Jr.
5. Chipper Jones
6. Derek Jeter
7. Jim Thome
8. Mariano Rivera
9. Frank Thomas
10. Craig Biggio
11. Manny Ramirez
12. Ichiro Suzuki
13. Ivan Rodriguez
14. Mike Piazza
15. Roger Clemens
16. Greg Maddux
17. Randy Johnson
18. Pedro Martinez
19. Tom Glavine
This isn’t to say the other players I listed aren’t worthy. These are just the ones that I don’t think the Hall voters will pass on (or, in some cases, wouldn’t pass on were it not for the steroids). I don’t think many fans will object to this group, either. Usually, when I see people argue against this group, it’s pretty clear they’re just trying to be contrarian.
Also, I went more or less with older players for this group. That’s not a bias against younger players-there’s just less uncertainty involved. This group, if the players are still active, is more or less the “if they quit right now, they’d have a complete Hall case”.
Also, since this group only has 19 players, that leaves us just over halfway to the traditional 37 player mark (that is, on average, 37 active players at any one time will make the Hall eventually).
Think of this tier as the “Bert Blyleven Tier”. These are the players that are more than qualified, but who may take longer to get inducted because their case isn’t as apparent as the ones listed above. I’ll still be using the “if they retired today” criteria. This is sort of an extension of tier one in that way-all of these players already have enough of a case, and I’ve seen some other people already advocating them for the Hall. I’m just not sure if enough buzz will reach the Hall voters before they join the ballot.
20. Curt Schilling
21. Mike Mussina
22. John Smoltz
23. Jim Edmonds
24. Scott Rolen
25. Vladimir Guerrero
26. Jeff Kent
27. Gary Sheffield
28. Trevor Hoffman (With this one, I’m sort of guessing how the voters will respond.)
29. Roy Halladay (With a good chance to move up to Tier 1 before he retires.)
This tier is best described as the “Future Tier 1/2” players. The ones who may not have a case ready yet, but at the rate they’re going, it seems reasonable to assume that they’ll wind up more than deserving.
30. Adrian Beltre
31. Joe Mauer
32. Miguel Cabrera
33. CC Sabathia
34. Justin Verlander
35. Felix Hernandez
36. Zack Greinke
Granted, some of them require more assumption than others. However, based on their current career values and where they all are in their primes, I feel comfortable putting all of them here.
This tier is, once again, based on certainty. These are the players who more or less already have a Hall case built up. However, I don’t think the voters will see it. If they do, it most certainly won’t be right away. Think of it maybe as the “Ron Santo Tier”, or the “Kevin Brown Tier”.
37. Kenny Lofton
38. Carlos Beltran (With a good chance to move into Tier 2, especially if he can get another season like this one.)
39. Todd Helton
40. Bobby Abreu
41. Andruw Jones
42. Brian Giles
This one is more or less interchangeable with Tier 4. This is like Tier 3, but with less to go on. More of these players will fall by the wayside before they lock up their cases than in previous tiers. However, there are still good chances that they solidify their odds.
I guess you could think of this one as the “Yeah, but...” tier. They all already have compelling candidacies to build off of. However, every one of them has some issue that may prevent them from becoming Tier 1, 2, or 3.
43. Chase Utley
44. Lance Berkman (Yeah, but...can they put in one to three more solid seasons before injuries finish them off?)
45. Evan Longoria (EDIT: Looking back at this, I just realized I totally messed up on this one. Longoria debuted in 2008. I'm leaving him here though, because he's already here, it keeps the third base trio together, and it makes the 2012 list more convenient.)
46. Ryan Zimmerman
47. David Wright (Yeah, but...will the Hall voters eventually come to acknowledge that third base is, in fact, a position?)
48. Robinson Cano
49. Dustin Pedroia
50. Troy Tulowitzki (Yeah, but...will their bodies wear down from the rigors of the middle infield?)
51. Matt Holliday (Yeah, but...can he stay this good? And for how much longer? And if he does, will anybody notice?)
52. Hanley Ramirez (Yeah, but...can he rediscover whatever it was that made him so good a few years ago?)
53. Prince Fielder (Yeah, but...will his body hold up? And if his value doesn’t keep up, will they care enough about milestones?)
54. Cliff Lee
55. Jered Weaver
56. Matt Cain
57. Cole Hamels
58. Jon Lester
59. Josh Johnson (Yeah, but...they’re pitchers. Are you kidding? They may burst into flame at any minute. Or snap a ligament. Something along those lines.)
60. Dan Haren
61. Adam Wainwright
62. Jake Peavy
63. Josh Beckett (Yeah, but...they’re even older pitchers. One of them might pitch until they’re 40 and build up a solid case. Several of them might. None of them might. Do you want to bet on any specific one?)
64. Johan Santana
65. Roy Oswalt (Yeah, but...if you’ve been paying attention, to this article or the games lately, I shouldn’t need to clarify these two too much.)
This is sort of the errata. If Tier 5 was the “Yeah, but...” tier, this is the “Well, maybe...” tier.
66. David Ortiz
67. Mark Teixeira
68. Paul Konerko
69. Adam Dunn (Well, maybe they’ll reach 500 home runs and get rubber-stamped in.)
70. Johnny Damon
71. Michael Young (Well, maybe they’ll reach 3000 hits.)
72. Omar Vizquel (Well, maybe he’ll reach 3000 hits or voters will overestimate his glove.)
73. Brian McCann
74. Yadier Molina
75. Jorge Posada (Well, maybe voters will pick another catcher to go with Joe Mauer for the 2000s generation.)
76. Bernie Williams (Well, maybe he wasn’t so awful of a fielder.)
77. Mark Buehrle (Well, maybe he can keep doing his Mark Buehrle thing for another half a decade.)
79. Tim Hudson (Well, maybe he’ll do that if Mark Buehlre can’t.)
78. Javier Vazquez (Well, maybe he’ll come back and get close to 3000 strikeouts.)
80. Chris Carpenter (Well, maybe this time the paper clips and chewing gum in his arm will hold for a few years.)
81. Andy Pettitte (Well, maybe this comeback is a multi-year thing.)
82. Joe Nathan
83. Billy Wagner
84. Jonathan Papelbon
85. Francisco Rodriguez (Well, maybe one of them will remain effective into their 40s, becoming Mariano Rivera’s heir apparent for the title of Best Closer in the League. Failing that, maybe the voters still don’t know what to make of closers.)
What does this mean exactly?
Well, this is by no means my last look at the Hall of Fame in the present day. This is piece is more a spring board to the (actually) modern day piece-with this more established players out of the way, I can take a more speculative stance. Looking at 2006 was also good for setting up the next few Hall ballots, I think.
In a different sense, this 2006 Series didn’t quite build off the original “How Big Should the Hall Be?” piece they way I wanted. Fortunately, I have a much better idea of how to accomplish that. Hopefully, that (along with the 2012 article) will come next week, with possibly one or two articles between now and then.