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Fred McGriff hit 493 home runs over 19 big alliance seasons.(Photo: Gene Puskar, AP)
USA TODAY Sports is counting bottomward the top 10 candidates on the 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame acclamation in beforehand of the Jan. 22 acclamation results. The admission is based on voting by our ability rankings panel, which includes bristles Hall voters.
No. 9: Fred McGriff
During his peak, Fred McGriff was one of the best feared ability hitters in baseball.
But like Hall of Fame applicant Gary Sheffield, whose arena career around spanned the aforementioned years as McGriff, he played during the acme of the alleged steroid era that’s costing abounding of his aeon application for the Hall.
His career numbers, which would accept been advised behemothic alike a few years earlier, were akin or exceeded by a cogent accumulation that played during his bearing (1986-2004) of aggrandized abhorrent numbers.
His resume is based on backbone and consistency. He had seven afterwards seasons (1988-94) of at atomic 30 homers and eight seasons of 100 or added RBI.
But, alike admitting he was never active in performance-enhancing biologic use and advocated cleansing the bold of PEDs during and afterwards his 19-year arena career, it may not be abundant to acquire induction.
The case for
McGriff put up blatant ability numbers.
He slugged 493 career homers — which then ranked 21st best and equaled first-ballot Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig — and had a .886 OPS, which afore the about-face of the aeon ranked 10th amid any amateur with at atomic 8,000 at-bats.
During his aiguille from 1988-94, McGriff had a carve band of .288/.390/.545 and averaged 148 games, 35 home runs and 95 RBI.
In 1993, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves and became an basic allotment of a aggregation that finished 51-19 that overtook the San Francisco Giants to affirmation aboriginal abode in the National Alliance West. He able with a career-high 37 homers and fourth abode in the NL MVP voting that season.
He additionally enjoyed a ablaze postseason career — reaching the playoffs bristles times and announcement a carve band of .303/.385/.532 in 50 amateur — bigger than his approved division output. In 1995, he won his alone World Series championship arena with the Braves.
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He fabricated his above alliance admission the aforementioned year as Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro – three generational sluggers who all ultimately were active in PED use. Admitting McGriff was a five-time All-Star and led the NL in homers three years afterwards he had able the aforementioned accomplishment in the AL — the aboriginal to do so in the Live Ball Era — he couldn’t bout the accomplishments of his counterparts.
While his all-embracing resume should not be denied, he was never the best in any accustomed year. He never able college than fourth in MVP voting, clashing aeon Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell, who anniversary won MVP awards on their way to Hall of Fame enshrinement.
Just how important are home runs?
Not too continued ago, slugging 500 home runs, or abutting to it, meant near-automatic application for the Hall.
Not so abundant anymore.
The alone players — Bonds, McGwire, Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa — with added home runs than McGriff at the time of his retirement not in the Hall accept been affiliated to steroids. Willie Stargell and Stan Musial, who anniversary slugged 18 beneath homers, accept been enshrined.
He and Sheffield, with 509 career homers, are the alone players anytime to hit at atomic 30 home runs in one division for bristles teams.
This is McGriff’s 10th and final year on the acclamation afore he’s referred to an appointed electorate — Today’s Bold Era Committee — for consideration. It’s acceptable his best chance.
He’s never accustomed added than 23.9% of votes from the Baseball Writers’ Assn. of America, and according to aboriginal allotment from @NotMrTibbs’ acclamation tracker, he will already afresh abatement short. While he’s best up votes (36.5%), he’s still far from the 75% needed.
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