Friday, August 10, 2007

Is Gary Sheffield a Hall of Famer?


I've been sitting on this post for some time now. Anyways, by my calculation, there are 11 active position players that are locked in for Cooperstown. One that's currently borderline? None other than the intimidating presence which is Gary Sheffield.

Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Frank Thomas, Ivan Rodriguez, Ichiro Suzuki, Mike Piazza, Albert Pujols, Craig Biggio, Ken Griffey, Barry Bonds. All of the aforementioned superstars are guaranteed plaques in Cooperstown. They could all blow their knee out tonight (knock on wood), and they should all be enshrined five years from now.

Along with Sheffield...Vlad Guerrero, Jim Thome, Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, Sammy Sosa, and Jeff Kent are all active players that reside in that next tier, as they are all currently Hall of Fame "cuff" players. For all of the "cuff" players, a persuasive argument could be made one way or the other.

Continuing with Sheffield...in November, he will turn 39. This being his 19th full season in the big's, Sheffield has compiled the following career stats:

.297 AVG
478 HR's
1568 RBI's
238 SB's
2502 hits
1522 runs
.398 OBP
.923 OPS

...9 All-Star appearances (all while playing all over the field...SS/3B/RF/LF/DH), six Top 10 MVP finishes (no MVP awards to date), and 5 Silver Slugger awards.

For Sheff's career, his 162 game average reads as follows:

.297 AVG, 33 HR's, 109 RBI's, 17 SB's, 106 runs

Per Baseball-Reference, the 10 batters which Sheffield's stats best compare to thus far are (in order): Jeff Bagwell, Ken Griffey, Willie Stargell (HoF), Fred McGriff, Billy Williams (HoF), Duke Snider (HoF), Mickey Mantle (HoF), Eddie Mathews (HoF), Frank Thomas, and Jim Rice.

...So, tell me -- is the former 6th overall pick, who has earned $143M on the field, a future Hall of Famer?

My personal feeling? Based upon stats alone, Sheffield is a no-brainer for the Hall. Think about it...of the 10 hitters which Sheffield's numbers most resemble, 5 of them have already been inducted into the Hall -- and another 3 of them are sure-fire Hall of Famers (Bagwell, Griffey, and Thomas). However, when discussing Sheffield, many other factors come into play.

The "Steroid Era"? Did he take steroids? If so, did he do so knowingly? His hot temper? His perception through the media? The list goes on. After all, Hall of Fame credentials are not scientifically calculated. Instead, the system is based upon a human vote. And, as we all know, humans have agendas and strong opinions.

Taking everything into consideration, would I vote Gary Sheffield "in"? Yes! Although 500 HR's are no longer considered a lock for Cooperstown, Sheffield's 5-tool talents are too superior to dismiss.

Now, will he get "in"? Assuming he finishes out his current contract with the Tigers (which goes thru the 2009 season), he will eventually be inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame...it just won't be on the first ballot.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

He gets my vote only if he brings back that Geri curl. Petey tried to start it up again in 04, but it fell flat... Sheff needs to lead the way now.

Lytedogg said...

You left out Omar Vizquel. He will be in the Hall based purely on his long career of stellar defense. People tend to overlook defense and only look at the offensive numbers. If that were the only criteria, Johnny Bench, Bill Mazeroski, and Ozzie Smith wouldn't have been inducted.

Ridin' Dirty said...

Vlad is in the Hall if he continues to hit 30hr, 100rbi, .300. He has one of the best arms from outfield of all time. His first half of his career he stole bases as well.

T.O. said...

he's in. and as an aside, i think he's a complete moron, but i can't get enough of the guy... on the field and off. he's a complete whack-job though, no question.

Chieftain said...

Omar Vizquel is not getting into the Hall. Different era.

Ozzie Smith = 15-time All-Star, 13 Gold Gloves, World Series champion, Top 20 in MVP voting 6 times (runner-up in 1987).

Vizquel = 3-time All-Star, 11 Gold Gloves, was once voted in the Top 20 for MVP (came in 16th in '99)

...The Wizard dominated the position in the 80's. Since then, the position (and era) changed.

Omar Vizquel...not so much. In the end, Vizquel won't sniff Cooperstown.

To me, Vizquel has had a VERY similar career to that of Tony Fernandez.

Lytedogg said...

I dont understand different era Chieftan... Are ground balls not hit the same? Gold Glove winner from 1993-2001 in the AL ( beating out your man crush), and Gold Glove in the NL 05 and 06. If Vizquel doesn't get in, I have lost all respect for the Hall. I think you put too much emphasis on offensive stats.

Anonymous said...

Sheffield is 25th all-time in RBI


That alone HAS to get him into the Hall