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  1. #1
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    Former Cubs and the 2014 Hall of Fame Ballot

    I thought it might be worth discussing some of the Cubs we formerly adored, especially in this winter of our discontent. Eight of the thirty-six players on this year's ballot are former Cubs (I will not forgive the BBWA for dropping Lofton after only 1 ballot). I encourage people to check out Jay Jaffe's excellent series on the serious candidates for the 2014 ballot on SI (Links to the former Cubs will be in each section).

    You can see the full ballot with stats here: Link

    By order of years on the ballot:


    Lee Smith:
    Years on Ballot: 12
    Highest Vote: 47.8%

    As a Cub: 8 yrs, 681.1 IP, 180 SV, 2.92 ERA, 134 ERA+
    Career: 18 yrs, 1022 IP, 478 SV, 3.03 ERA, 132 ERA+

    Smith's strongest case was that he was one of the most dominate relievers in baseball in the late 80's and early 90's and is third all-time on the career saves list - a list he topped at his retirement. He was remarkably durable, posting 8 seasons in which he both topped 80 innings pitched while posting a 130 ERA+. I have a hard time supporting relief-only pitchers for the hall of fame unless they have cases like Mariano Rivera but Smith was one of the first good Cubs players who I ever followed and he closed out the first game I ever saw at Wrigley. He will always have a special place in my heart.

    Jay Jaffe on Lee Smith: http://mlb.si.com/2013/12/06/jaws-an...lot-lee-smith/


    Fred McGriff
    Fred McGriff
    YoB: 5
    Highest Vote: 20.7%

    Cubs: 1 1/2 seasons, 195 G, .276/.361/.518, 42 HR, 144 RBI, 130 OPS+, 3.3 WAR
    Career: 19 Seasons, 2460 G, .284/.377/.509, 441 HR, 1550 RBI, 134 OPS+, 52.6 WAR

    The Crime Dog's best case is his consistency, posting 7 straight 30+ HR seasons in the late 80's/early 90's. He also finished with the same number of HR as Lou Gehrig (who was a much much better all-around hitter). Unfortunately, McGriff never really stood out among his peers, achieving only two 6+ WAR seasons and no MVP seasons. He did win 4 silver sluggers and made 5 all-star appearances. With the Cubs, McGriff provided much-needed punch to pair with Sammy Sosa but the duo couldn't lift the Cubs into the playoffs.

    Jaffe on McGriff's case: Link


    Rafael Palmeiro
    YoB: 4
    Highest Vote: 8.8%

    Cubs: 4 yrs, 258 G, .294/.341/.462, 25 HR, 95 RBI, 120 OPS+, 15/5 SB/CS, 2.9 WAR
    Career: 20 yrs, 2831 G, .288/.371/.515, 569 HR, 1039 RBI, 137 OPS+, 71.8 WAR

    Drafted in the first round of the '85 amateur draft by the Cubs, Palmeiro made his debut only a year later. It took a while for his power to develop but Palmeiro met some fairly important milestones with over 550 career HR, 3,000 hits and over 1,000 RBI. His 71.8 career WAR places him 11th on the all-time list at first base, beating the average HoF inductee but he had a relatively low peak value compared to hall of fame first basemen. He never eclipsed 7 WAR in a season but put up a WAR of 4 or better in 9 out of 10 seasons from '90-'99. His career OPS+ ties him with Will Clark. Even if you ignore the PED scandal, which voters almost certainly won't, Palmeiro may be one of the few 3,000/500/1,000 hitters who does not belong in the hall. I guess there's something to be said for longevity, though?

    Jaffe on Palmeiro: Link


    Slammin' Sammy Sosa
    YoB: 2
    Highest Vote: 12.5%

    Cub: 13 yrs, 1811 G, .284/.358/.569, 545 HR, 1414 RBI, 139 OPS+, 181/79 SB/CS, 58.6 WAR
    Career: 18 yrs, 2354 G, .273/.344/.534 609 HR, 1667 RBI, 128 OPS+, 58.4 WAR

    Speaking of players with milestone numbers who might night have a great HoF case, even if you set aside the PED allegations, Sammy Sosa put up numbers that would have almost guaranteed him a HoF bid in earlier eras. Unfortunately, Sammy had a relatively low career OBP to go with an uninspiring OPS+ for a hall of fame candidate. What he did have was absurd value over a short span, accumulating over 20 WAR in 3 seasons from 2000-2002. Sosa had 1 MVP to go with 6 silver slugger awards and 7 all-star appearances. He led the Cubs to the 1998 playoffs and was part of the 2003 ALCS team.

    Jaffe on Sosa: Link


    Greg Maddux
    YoB: 1st

    Cubs: 10 yrs, 302 G, 133-112, 3.61 ERA, 1828 Ks, 163 ERA+
    Career: 23 yrs, 744 G, 355-227, 3.16 ERA, 3371 Ks, 132 ERA+

    Maddux is probably a first ballot hall of famer. He has received votes on all publicly available ballots to date. Maddux ranks 8th all-time in wins, 10th in K's and 25th in ERA+. The wins and ERA+ numbers are pretty incredible for a pitcher from his era of baseball. He won 4 Cy Youngs, including 3 in a row, made 8 all-star appearances with 3 starts, and won the Gold Glove in 18 of 19 seasons from 1990-2008.

    Jaffe on Maddux: Link


    Luis Gonzalez
    YoB: 1st

    Cubs: 2 yrs, 223 G, .278/.365/.454, 22 HR, 113 RBI, 115 OPS+, 4.6 WAR
    Career: 19 Yrs, 2591 G, .283/.367/.479, 354 HR, 1439 RBI, 119 OPS+, 51.5 WAR

    Luis had a nice long carer. He posted his best season in 2001 with 7.9 WAR, winning his only silver slugger along the way. He was a big part of the 2001 Diamondbacks championship season in which they heroically slew the New York Yankees. Other than that, he doesn't stand much of a chance for the hall of fame.

    Jaffe on Gonzalez: Due out Dec. 23rd


    Moises Alou
    YoB: 1st

    Cubs: 3 yrs, 438 G, .283/.353/.484, 76 HR, 258 RBI, 116 OPS+, 5.2 WAR
    Career: 17 yrs, 1942 G, .303/.369/.516, 84 HR, 1287 RBI, 128 OPS+, 39.7 WAR
    Alou is another former Cub who had a nice career. Hitting .300 over the course of 17 seasons is no small feat. He'll never be in the hall of fame but I have a feeling Cubs fans won't soon forget him.


    Jacque Jones
    YoB: 1st (and probably last)

    Cubs: 2 yrs, 284 G, . 279/.327/.455, 32 HR, 147 RBI, 98 OPS+, 15/4 SB/CS, 1.6 WAR
    Career: 10 yrs, 1302 G, .277/.326/.448, 165 HR, 630 RBI, 98 OPS+, 82/45 SB/CS, 11.5 WAR
    Jones was signed to play right field for the Cubs in '06 and took over centerfield in '07. The most notable part of his career for the Cubs may be that he was traded for Omar Infante in the winter of 2007 who was flipped for Jose Ascanio. He put up numbers for the Cubs that were nearly identical for his career marks. I didn't realize how efficient he was at stealing bases for the Cubs. Maybe they should have sent him a little more often...

    It looks like Maddux is on his way to join the HoF on the first ballot while Smith may pick up a few votes this year and possibly get some serious consideration from the veteran's committee? It looks like there are also some writers who are very serious about their McGriff votes so that's a story potentially worth watching in the future.

  2. #2
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    Obviously Maddux gets in, the absurd part is that he won't get in unanimously.

    It's not happening for any of these other guys though, this year nor likely ever.

    Jacque.





  3. #3
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    I find it interesting that Alou has the same career OPS+ as Sosa.

    If anyone has a shot at getting unanimously voted in, it's Maddux.

    It looks like it will be up to the Veterans Committee to one day decide on the PED users, which seems just.

  4. #4
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    I don't care what anyone says, Sammy should get in.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad IBCB View Post
    I don't care what anyone says, Sammy should get in.
    I feel like Sammy will have a better case than a whole lot of players who will get in and he has a better case than some players who are already in. I think, ultimately, he's going to be screwed by holier than thou writers who don't consider him a hall of fame player by reputation and, therefore, won't vote for him. I feel like he contributed enough to the game that he deserves to be there.

  6. #6
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    Terencem....you did a great job with that opening post

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad IBCB View Post
    I don't care what anyone says, Sammy should get in.
    I think he lacks in too many ways to actually be deserving of getting in.

    The whole roid/corked bat/no one believing it was legit thing aside. His numbers, minus the raw home runs, would leave him well short.

    126th in career rWAR (58.4) is right next to Darrell Evans, Dick Allen, John Olerud, Bobby Bonds

    And that's way low for a hall of famer...where the average position player rWAR is about 65.0

    For his position, he is outside the top 20 right fielders of all time.

    Holding him down is that .344 OBP for his career. It is possible, that he is a top 60-65 hitter of all time, but that's it for his value. 609 career home runs is great, but 424 other extra base hits is pretty low for a power hitter.

    And if you are worried this is some sort of anti-Cub bias, it's not. McGwire doesn't belong in in my opinion either.

    Statistically, Lofton and Palmerio would go in before Sosa

  8. #8
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    609 Home runs speak for Sammy. He's 8th in HISTORY. And he's going to be 8th and top 10 for quite some time.

    If that isn't Hall worthy, I don't know what is.

    Not to mention he also never tested positive AFTER MLB banned PEDs.
    Last edited by Brad IBCB; 12-24-2013 at 02:03 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffy25 View Post
    I think he lacks in too many ways to actually be deserving of getting in.

    The whole roid/corked bat/no one believing it was legit thing aside. His numbers, minus the raw home runs, would leave him well short.

    126th in career rWAR (58.4) is right next to Darrell Evans, Dick Allen, John Olerud, Bobby Bonds

    And that's way low for a hall of famer...where the average position player rWAR is about 65.0

    For his position, he is outside the top 20 right fielders of all time.

    Holding him down is that .344 OBP for his career. It is possible, that he is a top 60-65 hitter of all time, but that's it for his value. 609 career home runs is great, but 424 other extra base hits is pretty low for a power hitter.

    And if you are worried this is some sort of anti-Cub bias, it's not. McGwire doesn't belong in in my opinion either.

    Statistically, Lofton and Palmerio would go in before Sosa
    I think this sums up the arguments against Sosa pretty well. From a stats angle, other than a few power categories, like SLG, RBI, HR, he doesn't have a strong case. It comes down to whether or not the home runs alone are worth voting him in. He hit an insane amount of HR over a short period of time but he doesn't have a well-rounded profile for the hall.

    I also think voters are hell-bent on punishing him for never having to answer for whether or not he used PEDs.

  10. #10
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    Theriot should get in eventually.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brad IBCB View Post
    609 Home runs speak for Sammy. He's 8th in HISTORY. And he's going to be 8th and top 10 for quite some time.

    If that isn't Hall worthy, I don't know what is.

    Not to mention he also never tested positive AFTER MLB banned PEDs.
    By that logic, McGwire, Bonds, and others should easily belong too.

    Sammy probably will never get in.

  12. #12
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    They really need to put in some guidelines as far as the whole PED things goes.
    The Great Enabler gets in on his first try and he was practically trafficing the stuff most of his career. But the on the field guys get shafted on suspisions or simply because they played in that era? Ridiculous.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cubboy View Post
    They really need to put in some guidelines as far as the whole PED things goes.
    The Great Enabler gets in on his first try and he was practically trafficing the stuff most of his career. But the on the field guys get shafted on suspisions or simply because they played in that era? Ridiculous.
    I think this goes beyond PEDs. The idea of Jack Morris being in the hall of fame but not Sosa or dozens of far more qualified players who aren't tied to any illegal PEDs is pretty crazy. I'd start listing off names but I don't have enough time in the day. The problem is that the rules are so vague:
    5. Voting: Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.
    And that's it. There are some specifics about player eligibility but the guidelines for voting are pretty intentionally vague.

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