In a bit of pageantry at the start of the 2022 Winter Meetings, Major League Baseball had its Contemporary Baseball Era vote on eight players who were close to hitting the 75% required for enshrinement during their voting period, but didn’t quite get there for various reasons.
Most expected just one player to be elected tonight, and sure enough, he was: long-time MLB first baseman Fred McGriff will be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
McGriff, who spent time with the Blue Jays, Padres, Braves, Rays, Cubs, and Dodgers in his 19-year career, posting a .284/.377/.509/134 wRC+ slash line. He had 2490 hits, 493 homers, and 1550 RBI. He even stole 72 bases for good measure. The silly thing is, if he’d just gotten seven more dingers in his playing days, I guarantee he would’ve been voted in originally.
The Crime Dog. Hall of Famer. Deserved. His vote was unanimous on the panel, by the way.
The panel of 16, which included a number of familiar faces (Theo Epstein, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, Greg Maddux, and Frank Thomas among them), did not elect any of the other seven eligible players: Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro, or Curt Schilling. None were particularly close, either:
Some of those guys are CLEARLY deserving, but are too tainted in the eyes of pretty much any panel to ever get to 75%. Just the way it is now.
As for McGriff, I can only assume he will go into the Hall wearing a Cubs cap for his 195 games with the team. I kid, of course, but he DID hit very well in his brief time with the Cubs in the second half of 2001 and through 2002 (.276/.361/.518/128 wRC+ at age 37-38). The Cubs got him from the Rays in 2001 in a trade for reliever Manny Aybar (who never pitched for the Rays and didn’t last long after that) and middle infielder Jason Smith (played in parts of nine seasons, but never hit).