Hall Of Fame Debate: Cast Your Vote For Gary Sheffield!!!

Hall Of Fame Debate: Cast Your Vote For Gary Sheffield!!!

The list of baseball players that debuted during the 1988 and 1989 baseball seasons that went on to have fantastic careers is a lengthy one; very lengthy!

And among that list of players is Gary Antonian Sheffield.

And unlike most of the players that emerged from the rookie crops of 1988 and 1989, few had the same amount of weight on their shoulders that Gary Sheffield did.  You see, Gary Sheffield’s uncle, Dwight Gooden, made his major league debut five years prior and his impact on the sport was instant and game-changing.

Did Sheffield live up to the hype and attention put upon him as a result of his family tree?  Sure, you could say so.

But, while Gary Sheffield had a very solid 22-season career, he was at no time the phenom that many expected he would become.  He never quite took the crown away from his famous uncle…

So, tonight I ask you to cast your vote for Gary Sheffield – Is he a Hall of Famer or is he not??

Sheffield Rookie

A few numbers from Sheffield’s lengthy career:

  • 22 seasons, 8 teams
  • 2,689 hits
  • 467 doubles
  • 509 home runs
  • 1,636 runs scored
  • 1,637 RBI
  • 253 stolen bases
  • .292 batting average
  • .393 on-base percentage
  • 1992 batting champion
  • 9-time All-Star
  • 5-time Silver Slugger
  • (3) Top 3 MVP finishes
  • Member of 1997 World Series Champions

There is no doubting that Gary Sheffield had a superb baseball career.  His numbers are top-notch, and at times they could be called staggering.

Sheffield’s 1996 baseball season as a member of the Florida Marlins could easily be tagged as the greatest offensive season in Marlins’ history.  And the 2004-06 stretch that Sheffield had with the Yankees was spectacular.

In addition to what can be called a high batting average for a guy that repeatedly belted 30+ home runs a season, Sheffield also proved to be a smart base runner with his 253 career swipes.

Sheffield had 8 seasons of at least 30 home runs and 100 RBI – and that cannot be ignored.  The fact that it happened over the span of 18 seasons shows that Sheff was a dependable and durable teammate.

What also cannot be ignored is that Gary Sheffield’s power numbers spiked sharply while in the twilight of his career.  Yes, he hit for power prior to his 30th birthday, but 38% of his career home runs came during the season in which he turned 32 years old.

Personally, when I think of Gary Sheffield my head goes to Marlins and Yankees – as these are the teams in which he left the most memorable impacts on my viewing of him as a player.  And those seasons were spectacular, for sure.

But is that enough to gain election into the Hall of Fame?  What effect, if any, does the steroid era have on this?  How does being teammates and friends of players that were also in the middle of the PED mess effect Sheffield’s status?

Let me say this – I would not at all be surprised if Gary Sheffield was involved with steroids, PEDS, etc.  It was a part of the game while he was at his best, and that makes it a relevant point when discussing his worthyness for entry into the Hall of Fame.  But, like others, Sheffield did a lot while relatively small-statured during the first decade of his career.  He was an accomplished hitter and good base runner.

As for the Hall of Fame?

I have to go with ‘Yes’.  I don’t feel as strongly about Sheffield as I do other future eligibles, but you cannot deny what he did on the field.  I think that the biggest knocks against Sheffield are that he (1) played for too many teams during his career (2) was not able step up and be ‘the reason’ that the Yankees won a title while with the team.

Still, the run production is sold, and the hitting is much better than the average or above average ‘slugger’.  For the peak years of his career, Sheffiled was a constant MVP threat and he was one of the best hitting outfielders in the game.  And when looking at his competition for that tag, it is very impressive.

So, yes, I give my vote to Gary Sheffield.  How about you???

Gavel

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29 responses to “Hall Of Fame Debate: Cast Your Vote For Gary Sheffield!!!

  1. Not a chance. He’ll be viewed just an above average power hitter during the steroid era. He has no defining moment or really any memorable season. I’m sure you remember him as a important piece if that Marlins World Series team, but that’s not a reason to put him in the hall.

  2. Ron Churchwell

    500 home runs is good enough for me. Plus, being a Marlin’s fan, I am a bit biased lol

    • Ron- 500 HR’s was not good enough for Raffy or Bonds or McGwire… And those guys impacted the sport more than Sheff, right??

      • Ron Churchwell

        They were also accused of using PED’s. That is the reason they are not in, not their power numbers. Or any other stats for that matter.

      • Ron Churchwell

        And in it’s history, the HOF has never not voted in a 500 HR club member, except for those caught cheating.

      • Ron- I tried finding the story about his relationship with Bonds and how it deteriorated as the PED reports started to blow up. Wasn’t Sheffield basically linked to everything that Bonds was linked to?

      • Ron Churchwell

        I can’t remember at the moment, but it would not surprise me if he were.

  3. Had a very good career BUT he is NOT a HOF !!

    Sent from my iPad

  4. He had a really great career in terms of numbers. The PED/Bonds connection is really strong as they used to “train” together during the off season. I think that voters will treat him the similar to the way that have treated Palmeiro, Bonds, McGwire and Clemens. I really don’t think he will get in.

    • Matt- Thanks for confirming on the Bonds/Sheffield relationship; I vaguely recall that. The more that I think about it, I think he still has a good chance, but he may have to wait it out a bit. After Bonds, and maybe even a few years after that too.

      • Do you think that Sheffield will fall into the Lee Smith category? Good player who played for a lot of teams and voters don’t know what to make of their careers?

      • Matt- Excellent comparison to Smith. For the writers that may not have been writing for the player’s full career, they may only recall the last few seasons in which they hopped from team to team to team!

      • Ron Churchwell

        I personally think that playing for more then one team could be considered as a good thing. It means that that many more people wanted to have you on their team. While it is commendable that some players spend their entire careers with just one team, a la, Cal Ripken or Tony Gwynn, for example, it should in no way affect they status for the Hall.

        And if there are voters that do no know what to do with certain players, then they should in no way be voting in the first place. After all, THEY are supposed to be the experts.

      • Ron- Excellent final point by you! But getting back to the multiple team thing – this cannot be seen as a strong thing, especially if it was many teams through free agency and not via trades, right? If a team really wanted a player to stick around, a multi-year deal would have been reached.

      • Playing for a lot of teams could be a good thing for player, but it could also mean you’re problem child. It depends on the player. To me Sheffield always seemed like he had a chip on his shoulder. Maybe he was a poor clubhouse guy and didn’t get a long with teammates and it got to a point where management felt it was easier to get rid of him.

      • Brian- Wasn’t Sheffield part of the Marlins fire sale in 1998? He probably didn’t have a say in that. Probably the one time a team wished they didn’t have to trade Sheffield.

      • Matt- Sheffield was traded to the Dodgers and Mike Piazza became a Marlin for five games!!

      • What an awful trades. The Marlins trade away two potential HOFers within a week and got nothing to show for it.

      • Matt- That is what we deal with during the ‘Firesale of 1998′. Sad…

  5. aside from being connected to a certain ‘era’, I think he has a different problem for this question. I don’t think he was generally popular in the clubhouse with the other players, or his managers. If I Recall Correctly, as they type on the Internet. Not sure about his relations with the writers, but I think he would have a tougher time with the veterans than some. I could be wrong here, but it is my thought that comes to mind on this question. Great player, great #s. But that 8 teams # might be a kicker.

    ?

    I vividly recall listening to all of the games his last week as a Tiger as he went for HR #500.

    • basebetcalling- There are a lot of guys in the HOF that could be tagged as ‘unlikable’. And while some may be more accomplished than Sheffield, they probably did not deal with similar media types and the number of people in the press that a player of the 1990s and 2000s dealt with.

      I do agree that 8 teams is a tough one…

  6. Sheffield has the numbers but not the intangibles.
    He threw balls away on purpose to get his pouty butt traded out of Milwaukee.
    Later in his career when he was traded to the Tigers he said he was going to wear number 3 and then asked Alan Trammell if he could wear his old number.
    Then with the Tigers he was brutal in LF but cried like a baby when he was DH’d. He then became so pre-occupied with hitting 500 HR he fell into a terrible slump before the Tigers ditched him.
    So I say no the Sheffield as a HOF’er.

    • Brandon- He was certainly a prima donna, no doubt about that. But he is not the first, nor will he be the last, player to have a huge ego. The sad part is that the maturity did not grow with him as he got older…

  7. i think Sheff had a solid career, possibly great…but i have to say no on the hall of fame.

  8. I say he gets in after: McGriff, Wlaker, Murphy & Lee Smith. If these guys don’t get the call neither should he.

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