With the election of new candidates to the Hall of Fame being announced this week, it's interesting to look at the players currently in the game and try to gigure out which ones have earned their immotality. Here's a quick list of who I think will make it in...
Players who are definitely in the Hall:
Cal Ripken, Jr.
Ken Griffey, Jr.
These choices are based on ideas presented by Bill James in his book on the baseball Hall of Fame. At this point there are only a dozen or so players who are "locks" for the Hall at this point. It seems to me that the only ones for whom you can make a case against first ballot entry are Sandberg and Smith. Boggs is closing in on 3000 hits, while Thomas's numbers over the last several seasons are overwhelming.
Players who have a good chance of making it:
Martinez is a borderline candidate for the Hall at best. He has over 240 career wins, but so do such non-immortals as Jim Kaat and Bert Blyleven. I think that public sentiment might push him over the top, but he's just not that special. Cone, Lofton, Hershise, Myers and Vaughn are a bit more borderline, but they've all had decent careers. Johnson may be the most questionable member if he group, but he seems close to being a Hall of Famer because of several spectacular years, like Sandy Koufax was. Alomar is very nearly a lock for the Hall. He falls just short on Bill James's scoring system, but he is commonly thought of as the best second baseman in the game right now, and has a number of good years still ahead of him.
Long shot candidates:
Some of these players certainly won't make it. Coleman, Raines, McGee and Black Jack were all dominant players in their prime, but never strung together enough strong seasons to merit serious consideration. Still, two or three more excellent seasons and they're strong candidates, at least.
Not Hall of Famers yet - working towards it:
This is the toughest area to predict because it's hard to tell the diffrence between a guy on a good run and an especially great player. Schilling, for instance, has had a nice career but seems to be rising to a higher level in the last several years. Ramirez is a wonderful power hitter, but can he keep it up?
And what about McGwire and Dennis Martinez? Good question.
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