Jason Farmer: Who should be elected to baseball's Hall of Fame, part 2
Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame voting is the last of the major baseball related news to be announced before Spring Training starts in mid-February. The results of this year's election will be announced on Wednesday, Jan. 9.
In my previous column I broke down the first five Hall of Fame candidates that I would vote for on this year's Hall of Fame ballot. Since voters can make up to 10 selections, I am going to break down the five remaining players I would give my vote to today.
Being limited to 10 names, I left several worthy players off. Those players include Dale Murphy, Jack Morris and Curt Schilling. If three players from this year's ballot gain election, Morris and Schilling would be on my list next year. Unfortunately for Murphy, this is his 15th and final try. Even knowing that, I still could not vote for him above any of the other names I did vote for.
6. Mark McGwire
McGwire finished his career with 1,626 hits, 583 home runs, 1,414 RBIs and a .263 batting average. When he retired he was fifth all time among MLB's career home run leaders. However, he is currently 10th on the chart.
McGwire broke many home run records throughout his career. He set a rookie record with 49 home runs in 1987. He was the first player to hit 30 or more home runs in his first four full seasons of play. McGwire was a September call up in 1986 and thus he did not hit 30 or more in his first season, a season in which he played just 18 games and hit three home runs.
McGwire became the first player to hit 20 or more home runs with two different teams in the same season when he was traded from the Oakland A's to the St. Louis Cardinals in July of 1997. He had 34 home runs with the A's and hit another 24 for the Redbirds. He broke the single season home run record when he became the first player to hit 70 home runs in a single season in 1998. He hit more home runs per at bat than any Major League Baseball player in history. McGwire hit his 400th home run in 1998 and then hit his 500th the very next year in 1999.
McGwire led the American League in homers twice, once as a rookie in 1987 and again in 1996. He then led the National League in home runs in 1998 and 1999. A side note was the 1997 season when McGwire hit 58 homers. He led all of Major League Baseball that year, but because he was traded from one league to another, he actually led neither league.
McGwire was a 12-time All Star. He is a World Series champion (1989) and won a Gold Glove. McGwire was the 1987 AL Rookie of the Year. McGwire won the 1999 Lou Gehrig Award as well as the inaugural Babe Ruth Home Run Award in 1998. McGwire also won the 1992 All Star Home Run Derby at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego.
7. Barry Bonds
The Major League Baseball career home run leader led his league in home runs twice. The first time was in 1993, his first year with the Giants. He also won the RBI title that year and finished fourth in the batting race with a .336 average. Bonds other home run title came in 2001 when he broke McGwire's record for homers in a season. Bonds hit 73 that year. He went on to finish his 22 year career with 762 home runs, seven more than Hank Aaron hit.
From 1990 through the 2004 season, Bonds hit 25 or more home runs every year. For his career, Bonds hit 20 or more homers 19 times. He also had 14 seasons in which he hit 30 or more homers, including 13 consecutive years. Eight times Bonds finished with over 40 homers. His only season over 50 was his record-breaking year in 2001.
But Bonds wasn't just a power hitter. He was also very dangerous on the bases. Bonds is the only player in baseball history to hit over 500 home runs and steal over 500 bases. Bonds finished his career with 514 stolen bases. In 1996, Bonds became just the second member of the 40/40 club when he hit 42 homers and swiped 40 bags. Since then, only two other players have accomplished the feat.
In 2002 and 2004 Bonds won the National League Batting title. He finished his career with 2,935 career hits (good for 32nd all time) and scored 2,227 runs (third all time). His 601 doubles is 14th overall and in addition to his career home run record, Bonds also holds the record for most career walks with 2,558. His 1,996 RBIs are the fourth most in history.
Bonds is a seven-time National League Most Valuable Player. He won the award twice while with the Pittsburgh Pirates and five times while with the San Francisco Giants, including four straight times. Bonds finished in the top 5 of the MVP voting five other times, including as the runner-up twice. Bonds was a 14 time All Star. He won 12 Silver Slugger Awards and eight Gold Gloves.
8. Roger Clemens
Pitchers in today's game look at the numbers Clemens put up and realize that they will never match his numbers. Clemens won 354 games, the ninth most in history. His 4,672 strikeouts are good for third all time.
Five times Clemens finished with over 20 wins in a season and four of those times he led the league in wins. Clemens also won seven ERA titles and five strikeout titles. In 1997 and 1998, Clemens' lone two seasons with Toronto, he won the American League pitching Triple Crown. Clemens is one of just 38 pitchers to lead the league in wins, ERA, and strikeouts during a single season. He became the first American League pitcher to win the award since 1945 when Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser won it for Detroit.
He was an 11-time All Star and won the Cy Young Award seven times. Clemens finished in the top 3 of the Cy Young voting three other times, including once as the runner-up. In 1986, Clemens won both the American League Cy Young Award and the AL MVP Award, becoming just the eighth pitcher (at the time) to accomplish the feat. Since 1986, it has happened twice.
Clemens pitched in six World Series' with three different teams. He was a member of two Fall Classic championship teams, the 1999 and 2000 Yankees.
9. Sammy Sosa
Sosa was given up on twice before he made his name with the Cubs. Former President of the United States George Bush was one of the team owners to trade Sosa.
Sosa is the only player in Major League Baseball history to hit 50 or more in four straight seasons. He is also the only player to hit 60 or more home runs in a season three times. He is one of just two players to hit 60 or more in back-to-back seasons. But, during all of his career, Sosa won only two home run titles. The first was in 2000 when he hit 50 and the second was in 2002 when he had 49.
Slamming Sammy, as he was known, finished his career with 609 home runs, good for eighth all time.
Twice Sosa led the league in RBI's (1998 with 158 and 2001 with 160). He had nine straight years of driving in over 100 runs. His 1,667 RBIs are good for 27th all time. He also led the league in runs scored three times.
Sosa blossomed in the Windy City. He was named to seven All Star teams and won six Silver Slugger Awards. In 1998 Sosa finished second in the great home run race, but still won the National League MVP. Five other times Sosa was among the top 10 in MVP voting, including a runner-up finish in 2001.
10. Jeff Bagwell
Bagwell was one of the biggest steals via trade of all time. He played his entire Major League career with the Houston Astros.
He was a four-time All Star and a three time Silver Slugger winner. Bagwell won the 1991 National League Rookie of the Year and the NL MVP three seasons later (1994). He also won a Gold Glove for the 1994 season. Five times Bagwell finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting and twice in the top 5. Bagwell finished as a runner-up to the MVP Award in 1999.
In the 50 year history of the Astros, no player has hit more home runs or driven in more runs than Bagwell. He hit 449 home runs for his career while driving in 1,529 runs.
Bagwell just missed finishing with a .300 batting average (.297). While he never won a home run title, Bagwell hit 20 or more home runs for 12 consecutive years. He had nine seasons of 30-plus home runs and three times hit 40 or more. Bagwell also drove in over 100 runs eight times, including six straight years.
Contact Jason Farmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.