Hall Of Fame Debate: Cast Your Vote For Fred McGriff. YES or NO

Hall Of Fame Debate: Cast Your Vote For Fred McGriff.  YES or NO

We are just 30 hours removed from one of the biggest baseball announcements in recent history.  And the ‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ on ’30-Year Old Cardboard’ continues to march onward!!!

I will be the first person to admit that I am an opinionated guy.  I don’t hide from that fact; it is simply part of my personality.

But, I am not so opinionated that I cannot be educated or even swayed with my opinion.

And when it comes to discussions about my favorite sport and hobby, I tend to be pretty passionate with my opinions.

That all leads up to this week’s ‘Hall Of Fame Debate’.  Fred McGriff is a guy that I really don’t have a strong opinion about.  Sure, I cheered for him as a player and I thought he was really, really good; even fantastic at times.  I just don’t know if he is worthy of Hall of Fame enshrinement.

As a player, McGriff is probably best known for being a top-notch run producer.  During his 19 seasons in the big leagues, McGriff drove in 1,550 runs including eight seasons of at least 100 or more RBI.  He also had a knack for hitting home runs as he clubbed 493 dingers during his career, with 10 seasons of at least 30 or more home runs.

Those numbers are super-impressive.  It also shows that McGriff knew his role – to get runs across the plate.  And he did that very well!

But, is that enough for Hall of Fame entry?  I’m not so sure.

McGriff is a lifetime .284 hitter and has 2,490 career hits.  He is a five-time All-Star, and he won three Silver Slugger awards.  He is also a member of the 1995 World Series Championship winning Atlanta Braves.

BUT…

McGriff was never considered the best player at his position at any time during his career.  He never really challenged for the league’s MVP Award, though he does have a few Top 10 finishes to his credit.  And when ranked amongst the All-Time greatest hitters, Baseball Reference puts McGriff between Sherry McGee and Buddy Bell, two players that hardly make you think Cooperstown.

So, where would my vote lie if I had to cast a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ for ‘The Crime Dog’??

Hmmmmm…

This is a very tough one for me.  But, I have to go with my gut.  And sadly, my gut says ‘No’.  There are just too many players from the same era of the sport that lasted just as long at McGriff that offered a more well-rounded game.  McGriff had a fantastic career, and I really enjoyed watching him amass some pretty solid numbers, but I just don’t think that he is worthy of being mentioned with the likes of the elite.

What do you think?  If you had a vote would Fred McGriff get it?  Has he accomplished enough as a big leaguer to earn his way into the Hall of Fame?  Make your case, you may just sway my vote….

But, until that time, I have to say ‘No’.

Gavel

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27 responses to “Hall Of Fame Debate: Cast Your Vote For Fred McGriff. YES or NO

  1. Yes!!! Here goes.

    With a 134 OPS+ Crime Dog ranks tied 121st all-time, with HOFers like Al Kaline and Paul Waner, one point or two ahead of HOFers like Orlando Cepeda, Billy Williams, and Tony Gwynn, and a point behind HOFer George Brett. That’s good company. In context, that’s an OPS+ for a 19-year career. People that ding his chase for 500 HR as stat accumulation are just overlooking that fact that his career was defined by steady excellence.

    His JWAR ranks 28th all-time at 1B, though it’s ahead of HOFer Cepeda and a guy from the era frequently debated as being a HOFer, Don Mattingly.

    True, if your main criteria are things like “led the league in x” or “got votes in the MVP balloting,” he’s not your guy. But if you want a guy whose career averages out as elite and all-time great, he’s in.

  2. Yes, Fred McGriff is a HOFer!!!

    McGriff may be the most underrated player of his generation. From 1988 – 1995 he finished in the top 20 for the MVP 8 times and out of those 8 top 20 finishes he finished in the top 10 six times!!!

    His 2490 hits place him 97th all time ahead of Mantle, Rice, Thomas and Bagwell among others.

    His 493 Homeruns place him 26th all time tied with Gehrig ahead of Musial, Yazstremski, Stargell, Winfield and Billy Williams among others.

    His 1550 RBIs place him 42nd all time ahead of Mantle, Stargell, Bagwell and Billy Williams among others.

    Here are some Average 162 game seasons comparing McGriff to HOFer Eddie Murray (my favorite player all time) and to Don Mattingly ( whom many people who read this blog think he belongs in the HOF).

    McGriff

    Avg OBP HR RBI R OPS
    .284 .377 32 102 89 .886

    Murray

    Avg OBP HR RBI R OPS
    .287 .359 27 103 87 .836

    Mattingly

    Avg OBP HR RBI R OPS
    .307 .358 20 100 91 .830

    1st base is the toughest position to stand out in because there are always of number of great players at that position. McGriff is ahead of a lot of HOF players in a lot of key categories and he deserves much more attention than what the writers are giving him.

    • Matt- It is very hard to argue with any of your comments – McGriff was great. My stance would be that at no time during his career was McGriff the most feared player in his league, or possibly his team.

      I wonder if you polled today’s crop of GM’s and asked them what 1st baseman from the 1985-2000 would you draft to your team, who would they select? How many would say Fred McGriff??

      I guess that my point is that McGriff was always overshadowed by bigger talents and personalities. I would compare him to someone like Larry Walker as it relates to talent and output. And similarly, if you asked GM’s to pcik an outfielder from the same era, my guess is that Walker’s name would also not get mentioned often…

  3. Under normal circumstances I would agree that McGriff isn’t a hall of famer, given that his numbers pale in comparison to some others from his era.

    HOWEVER… if voters aren’t going to acknowledge the numbers of those players with better career numbers, McGriff’s performance could be considered the standard for the era. If numbers like Bonds’, Sosa’s and McGwire’s are tainted, then you’d have to say McGriff was one of the best players of that generation.

    So, I guess my real answer is: Yes*

  4. Yes, absolutely. He deserves better. I remember when he was at the end of his career playing for the Cubs or the Dodgers & someone asked him what he was most proud of. He replied I havent changed over the years. Im still the same size. He was pure talent. He played the game gracefully. If he had been a Red Sox or a Yankee he’d already in the HOF. The poor guy played for six different teams. He never really had a home. And yet he was able to hit 493 home runs. He deserves the HOF because he did these two things. 1. Performed 2. Played clean
    Hes one of the most underrated players of his era and since he didnt put up steroid numbers the voters continue to overlook him. Crime Dog belongs in HOF. Hes 100 % Natural / Nothing Artificial about the guy.

    • Honestly, I think this is the key phrase “If he had been a Red Sox or a Yankee he’d already in the HOF.” There are a number of guys like McGriff with solid credentials who, because they played in lesser markets with less influential writers, don’t get the credit they deserve. As Matt D. above points out, McGriff is largely superior to Mattingly. Yet Mattingly gets far more press about going in/not going in the HOF.

      • McGriff was drafted in the 9th round of the 1981 draft by the New York Yankees. Traded to Toronto 12/9/82 with Dave Collins, Mike Morgan and cash for Tom Dodd and Dale Murray.

      • carlcrawfordcards- This is an excellent point.

        And it also has me wondering about the geogrpahy of the BWAA. I wonder of the 600+ members how many are in the NY, CA, IL, TX areas. I also wonder how manhy are in Toronto, Atlanta, and San Diego specifically… How in the world would we find this out??

    • McGeeFan-Fan51, very well said! Still not convinced on my side, but the team aspect cannot be ignored. If the ‘underrated’ tag got players votes, than Raines, Whitaker, Trammell, and others would be in as well…

  5. McGriff needed those 500 home runs to get in. Without them he’s on the outside looking in

  6. The GM’s list would probably read Murray, Bagwell, McGwire, Thome, McGriff, Palmeiro, Mattingly, Hernandez, Olerud, W. Clark, J. Clark, Galaragga and T. Martinez. Overall I’d rank McGriff 2nd behind Murray. It’s a shame that great players like McGriff and Gil Hodges can’t get support from anyone to get elected into the HOF.

    • Matt- I don’t think that the GM’s list would extend beyond 3-4 names: Murray, Mattingly, McGwire, and maybe Keith Hernandez. I don’t believe that many of the other guys you mentioned, while good and some great, would be thought of.

  7. Well said McGee-Fan51!

  8. Yes. Does stating that he would have over 500 home runs if it wasn’t for the strike-shorten season, help change your mind?

    • Charley- And if my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle! Sorry, I have been wanting to use that one for a while now… LOL

      I am not certain that 500 home runs guarantees anything anymore. There are too many others in the club, though tainted, to reduce the importance of that milestone. If it was 3,000 hits, Yes. But maybe not 500 home runs…

      • Hey Brian, good one. If my Aunt had balls, no doubt she would be in the Hall of Fame.

        Based on the metrics below of the 30/100 season plateau you set, McGriff, if not for the strike-shorten end to the 1994 season and start of the 1995 season, would have 8 seasons of 30/100…more than Reggie and equaling Killabrew. In 1994 (113 games), Fred had 34/94 and in 1995 (144 games), 27/93.

        I don’t even need to mention he was so close to equaling 30/100 in ’89, ’96 and ‘2000.

        If not for the strike, we would be looking at over 500 homeruns and 1600 RBIs.

        Congrats, I think this is the most comments/reaction I’ve seen on your blog so far!

      • Charley- thanks for all of your support over the years, I truly appreciate it!

        30-YOC’s Hall of Fame Debate is taking over!!!!

  9. Any player from his era who I’ve heard has said that he deserves it. Harold Reynolds had a good point – when he was with the Orioles in 1993, they were in a playoff push, and they all wanted one guy at the trade deadline.

    Fred McGriff.

  10. Charley, I didnt even think about the strike…. thank you for mentioning it! It only strengthens my opinion on why McGriff deserves the HOF. Excellent point.
    Great topic Brian. Im glad you blogged it. Ive enjoyed reading your audiences comments.

  11. I’m a huge Crime Dog fan, and my gut says no, just because I don’t know if I would ever consider him in the “elite”. However, I would value him equally or even ahead of other HOFers like Andre Dawson and Jim Rice.

    • Marucs- I am with you. And I would probably say more like Rice than Dawson because of the base stealing and defense that Dawson offered. If I had to select a few more players to compare to McGriff, they would be Bagwell, Rice (as you mentioned), Thome, McGwire – guys known more for HRs and run production, just two aspects of the sport.

  12. Here is one more thing to consider. I have often thought that achieving 30/100 was a way to measure a player’s dominance in the batting line-up; especially for guys that batted 4 and 5 in the lineup.

    McGriff reached this 6 times in his career.

    Here are a few more comparisons of similar players:

    Jeff Bagwell – 8
    JIm Rice – 4
    Mark McGwire – 7
    JIm Thome – 9

    And a few HOFers known for run production:

    Willie McCovey – 4
    Reggie Jackson – 6
    Harmon Killebrew – 8

    After reviewing these numbers, this does alter my thoughts a bit on McGriff and his value. This is not an easy feat. And when compared to other potential HOF players as well as some of the great sluggers of all-time, he stacks up very nicely….

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