Musical Hall Chairs

The New York Times today points out the impressive number of players with impressive Hall of Fame credentials who remain unsigned with less than a month before pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report:

By then, perhaps Pedro Martinez, Ken Griffey Jr., Frank Thomas, Iván Rodríguez and Tom Glavine will have jobs. Or maybe they will still be searching for a place to play.

Retirement could be an option, too. (Jeff Kent will go that route Thursday.)


Some of these guys will find homes once they get desperate enough to lower their asking price. Martinez especially should be a low-cost flier for someone. Maybe even Thomas. But it's realistic, given their recent performance, that Griffey, I-Rod and Glavine are done.

Consider also that Mike Mussina and Greg Maddux just retired. That leaves us a possible 2014 Hall of Fame voting ballot with the following first-time nominees (HOF Monitor ranking is in parentheses, with the average HOFer's being 100):

  • Tom Glavine (176.5)
  • Ken Griffey Jr. (235)
  • Jeff Kent (122.5)
  • Greg Maddux (256)
  • Pedro Martinez (202.5)
  • Mike Mussina (121)
  • Ivan Rodriguez (228.5)
  • Frank Thomas (194)

That's eight deserving players for a 10-person ballot. Meanwhile, the following interesting (either statistically or steroidally) cases will become eligible between now and then:

  • Edgar Martinez (2010, 131.5)
  • Fred McGriff (2010, 100)
  • Kevin Brown (2011, 93)
  • Juan Gonzalez (2011, 120.5)
  • Rafael Palmeiro (2011, 178)
  • Larry Walker (2011, 147)
  • Bernie Williams (2012, 133)
  • Barry Bonds (2013, 353.5)
  • Roger Clemens (2013, 331.5)
  • Kenny Lofton (2013, 94)
  • Curt Schilling (2013, 171)
  • Sammy Sosa (2013, 201)

Meanwhile, it seems certain Lee Smith, Tim Raines and Jack Morris will still be leading the backlog of candidates, and Mark McGwire will still be hanging around. And I'm assuming swift induction of Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza and the induction within the next two years of Andre Dawson and Bert Blyleven.

That's as many as 30 players with at least a respectable Hall argument who are already eligible or coming eligible in the next five years. Inducting all of them (not that they all deserve it) would require an average class of six per year, which hasn't ever happened. Come 2014, when the aforementioned eight come in, the backlog could already be huge, particularly since the writers do not seem inclined to forgive the players their trespasses during the PED era.

It could be an interesting five years over at the Hall of Fame.

8 comments… add one

  • Poor Mike, haha. Usually shorted, but then again, no one’s going argue he’s a first balloter anyhow, unless he got to 300. Ah well.

    Lar January 22, 2009, 1:14 pm
  • I’d actually like to see Pedro retire, just because it’s depressing to watch him be the shell of what he once was – for a time, arguably the most dominant pitcher in the history of the game. But I’ll keep rooting for him as long as he pitches.
    I think Moose is a Hall of Famer, but I don’t expect it to happen for a long time. I would not be surprised to see him have a Blyleven-esque run on the ballot (speaking of, ELECT HIM ALREADY).

    Micah-SF January 22, 2009, 2:45 pm
  • Yeah, Mussina and Kent are probably going to have to wait a while, but they both deserve it. Schilling, too, unless he sails in on the 2013 ballot as kind of the anti-steroid candidate (Bonds, Clemens, Sosa all on that ballot for the first time, with Palmeiro a holdover from two years before).
    But if all eight players hit the ballot at once, I could see even Glavine and Thomas slipping to the second ballot. That would still leave Maddux, Pedro, Griffey and I-Rod. A class of four would be pretty amazing. I-Rod may have to wait, too, under that scenario.

    Paul SF January 22, 2009, 3:17 pm
  • I think Kent is a legit first balloter. It’s a rough year, but I would vote for him in a heart beat. Great offensive stats for a 2B, and he wasn’t juiced (and even advocated for testing!)
    I thikn people just underrate him because he’s an asshole. But ya. Of the people listed above, I think only:
    Pedro
    Maddux
    IRod
    Frank Thomas
    maybe Glavine
    I would vote above him. This is assuming the ‘roids stuff is still an issue or whatever..

    Lar January 22, 2009, 3:35 pm
  • I don’t know how I forgot about the Kid. But still.

    Lar January 22, 2009, 3:37 pm
  • Pedro, Maddux, IRod should be first ballot though, so it’s a rough year for him, but perhaps in normal years.. (and maybe if the writers don’t hate him that much..)

    Lar January 22, 2009, 3:38 pm
  • Wow, 2008/2009 will be amazing. Bonds and Clemens still deserve to be in the Hall because they were HOF’ers before the steroids. I can’t stand either of them, but they should make it to the Hall eventually.

    Atheose January 22, 2009, 11:19 pm
  • If Griffey Jr. can play centerfield, why don’t the Yankees take a look at him? They could get him cheap and need a temporary fit until Austin Jackson is ready.

    the mayor January 25, 2009, 10:04 am

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