Fred McGriff, Does the Hall Await?

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

fred mcgriff

Patrick Languzzi (Cooperstown Correspondent):  and Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner):

The 2013 Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) Hall of Fame ballot was announced on November 28th. Frederick ‘Crime Dog’ McGriff’, will again accompany the ballot for what will now be his Fourth Year.

Results are expected to be announced on January 9, 2013 and a player must receive 75-Percent of the votes to be elected.

McGriff rounds out the last Three Years with 21.5, 17.9 and 23.9 Percent of the votes respectively, and certainly brings consistency to the ballot.

This year however, will invite a new crop of players to the ballot, most of which have been linked to PED’s and certain to take away votes from the Crime Dog.

McGriff’s career ranged from 1986 – 2004.  He made his Major League debut the same year as Mark McGwire, and over his 19-Year Career, McGriff amassed 493 Home Runs (tied with Lou Gehrig), 2,490 hits and 1,550 RBI’s with a .284 Life-time Batting Average.  He also collected 2494 Hits and featured a 3 slash line of .284/.377/.866.  McGriff also walked 1305 times and clubbed 958 Total Extra Base Hits.

He was a Five-Time All-Star, Three-Time Silver Slugger Award winner, a World Series Champion and the 1994 Major League Baseball All-Star Game MVP.

McGriff was the first player [1992] since the dead-ball era, to lead both the American and National League in Home Runs.

McGriff2

So what is keeping McGriff from a clear path to the the Hall of Fame? The era in which he played.

He began his career in what some might consider pre-PED, and played right through the heart of what is now known as the Steroid era, certain to have an effect on the voting outcome.  Let’s delve into his career playing stints with 6 different teams before assessing a final verdict.

Toronto Blue Jays Days:

1986-1990  1B  .278  125 HRs  305 RBI and .530 SLG:  McGriff was a dominant power hitter in his 5 Year Career with the Jays.  He led the American League in in HRs and OPS during the 1989 season-with 36 HRs and an OPS of .924.  The ‘Crime Dog’ is 3rd on their ALL-Time franchise list for Slugging Pctg.  McGriff was a Silver Slugger in 1989 and had 2 straight top 10 AL MVP voting finishes in 1989 and 1990.

San Diego Padres Days:

1991-1993  1B  .281  84 HRs  256 RBI and .519 SLG:  In his 2 of his 3 Years as a Padres player, he won 2 Silver Slugger Awards and finished 4th, 6th and 19th in NL MVP Voting in that time frame.  He made the ALL-Star Team in 1992.  In these 3 years, he posted 3 straight 30+ HRs and drove in 100+ RBI.  It should be noted that McGriff split time in 1993 between San Diego and Atlanta.

Atlanta Braves Days:

1993-1997  1B  .293  130 HRs  446 RBI and .516 SLG:  McGriff made three straight ALL-Star Games with Atlanta from 1994-1996.  The lanky 1st Baseman also hit .323 (54-167 AB) in 4 different playoff runs with the Braves from 1993-1997, bashing 10 HRs and 34 RBI.  McGriff added 2 HRs and 3 RBI – to help Atlanta win the 1995 World Series in 6 games over the Cleveland Indians.

Tampa Bay Rays Days:

1998-2001, 2004  1B/DH  .291   99 HRs, 359 RBI  .864 OPS:  McGriff was a one time ALL-Star with the Rays and provided them with the necessary pop out of the 1st Baseman position.  He is 6th on their ALL-Time Franchise list for HRs and 2nd in OPS to Evan Longoria.  He had 2 30+ HR and 100 RBI+ years for the Rays and was an early fan favorite.  He attempted to make a comeback to the Rays for his 500th HR in 2004, but he fell 7 HRs short.

Chicago Cubs Days:

2001-2002  1B  .278  42 HRs 144 RBI  .879 OPS in 693 AB:  McGriff only played in 46 games during the 2001 year which limited him to 12 HRs, however he hit 32 HRs and added 103 RBI in 146 Games during the 2002 year, his last full year in the MLB.

Los Angeles Dodgers Days:

2003  1B   .249  13 HRs 40 RBI in 297 AB:  McGriff battled injuries with the Los Angeles club and managed to play about half a season.

Although never linked to PED’s, McGriff gets lost in the explosion of the power numbers (see charts below) during that era, especially among First Basemen Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro. Some voters might even say it’s difficult to identify McGriff with any given team, having played for six different over his tenure.

                                McGriff’s Home Run Totals vs Peers

Player ’86–‘94 ’95 -’04 Total
McGriff 262 231 493
McGwire 238 345 583
Palmeiro 155 414 569

                                McGriff’s AB per HR vs Peers

Player ’86–‘94 ’95 -’04 Total
McGriff 15.2 20.7 17.8
McGwire 14.0   8.2 10.6
Palmeiro 27.8 14.9 18.4

McGriff did put up some impressive numbers though, such as 10 seasons of 30-plus Home Runs (tying him with Lou Gehrig). Reaching base 3834 times, just behind  Jimmie Foxx, but ahead of  Hall of Famer’ players Tony Perez and Willie McCovey. He drove in 100 Runs 8 different times and finished in the top 10 for the MVP voting six-times.McGriff  hit his HRs with  6 Teams: ATL-130, TOR-125, TB-99, SD-84, CHC-42 and LAD-13. McGriff led the AL in HRs in 1989 with the  Blue Jays and the NL in 1992 with the San Diego Padres.

McGriff hit his HRs with 6 Teams: ATL-130, TOR-125, TB-99, SD-84, CHC-42 and LAD-13. McGriff led the AL in HRs in 1989 with the Blue Jays and the NL in 1992 with the San Diego Padres.

What hurts his case, is that he played most of his career evenly between 4 teams:  TOR/SD/ATL and TB.  Evidence to this point is that he is the only player in MLB History that has hit 80+ HRs with 4 different baseball franchises.  Not spending enough time in one city, makes it tough for him to form an identity as a top-tier player amongst the BBWAA voters.

But at the end of the day, McGriff remains on the border, not because he doesn’t deserve to be elected, but because the voters will lose him within the era he played.

McGriff3

References: Baseball-reference, Tubbs Baseball

(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)

 ***A Big thank-you goes out to our Cooperstown Correspondent, Patrick Languzzi for his great work towards this feature column. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Patrick on Twitter:   Also, please feel free to check out Patrick’s grass roots campaign in support of Dwight “Dewey” Evans for the Hall of Fame at: Call to the Hall***

Patrick Languzzi

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Posted on December 25, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Nice post Patrick. McGriff has always puzzled me — one of those guys with great all-around numbers yet not even a blip on the HOF radar screen for many fans (or voters). Joe Carter is another on this list. Actually, Carter may even be MORE puzzling — as he was also on two World Series-winning teams and had history’s most forgotten huge hit, his HR to win the ’93 World Series. Seems like both of them are products of their time: so far behind the known cheaters that the fact they probably didn’t cheat becomes lost in the translation.

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