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??
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???