Were it not for his awful testimony in 2005 before Congress, Mark McGwire would be in the Hall of Fame. He's a special case, so let's assume for a moment that he's in — as arguably he should be.
Excepting him, which currently eligible Hall of Fame candidate has the fifth-highest batting average, third-highest on base percentage, highest slugging percentage and highest OPS+ among the 15 men eligible for the Hall this year?
That would be the Hit Dog himself, Mo Vaughn, thanks to his still-impressive .293/.383/.523 line, good for a 132 OPS+. Sadly, Vaughn's career ended too quickly and too poorly to merit enshrinement — though he was deservedly inducted in 2008 into the Red Sox Hall of Fame.
I tend to favor peak over longevity when looking at the HOF, but even I think you need at least a few more than 10 full seasons (and parts of two others) in the big leagues. That 1994-98 run was beautiful though — a 149 OPS+ over five seasons, good for 10th in probably the most offensive-centric period of the game's recent history.
Anyway, Vaughn's not getting in (probably won't even hit 5 percent of the ballot) — and there are two players whose induction seems likely — Rickey Henderson in his first year and Jim Rice in his final one. We've gone over the Rice arguments before and I'm about sick of them. He's extremely borderline, and I've gone back and forth in my head for the last few months on it as well. In the end, I think he's barely a Hall of Famer, but I'd still vote for him.
- Bert Blyleven
- Andre Dawson
- Rickey Henderson
- Mark McGwire
- Tim Raines
- Jim Rice
- Alan Trammell