Hall Of Fame Debate: Cast Your Vote For Juan Gonzalez!!!
During the boom of the long-ball, there are few sluggers that put up the kind of numbers that Juan Gonzalez did.
During the 1990’s Gonzalez personified what you wanted out of the guy that batted clean-up for your team – home runs and run production. From 1996-98, it could be said that Gonzalez was the most dynamic power hitter in the game.
His game was somewhat limited to the offensive side of the sport, but when it comes to offense, Juan Gonzalez put up numbers that many Hall Of Famers would envy.
Gonzalez spent 17 seasons in the major leagues, playing 13 for the Texas Rangers. And once he earned a full-time spot, in his third season with the team, he soared. From 1991-2001, Gonzalez hit home runs at a rampant pace. He connected for 40 or more dingers in five of those seasons, and had another 2 seasons of 35 and 39.
The power led to a lot of runs being scored by the Texas offense and ‘Juan-Gone’ was responsible for a lot of runs crossing the plate in Texas’ favor. He drove in 100 or more runs in eight different seasons, including one season of 157 RBI in 1998.
While a solid slugger, Gonzalez did not fall into the ‘one-dimensional player’ group. He is a lifetime .295 hitter and had seven seasons of at least 150 hits and five seasons in which he hit .300 or better.
Juan Gonzalez is a 3-time All-Star and a winner of 5 Silver Slugger Awards. He captured the American League MVP Award in the 1996 and 1998 baseball seasons and also placed in 4th and 5th place in two other very successful campaigns.
With all of the individual success that Juan Gonzalez had during his impressive MLB career, he only made the playoffs in four of his 17 seasons. And in each of those four post-season match-ups, he and his teams were eliminated in the first round.
So, is Juan Gonzalez Hall of Fame worthy?
Should he be enshrined at Cooperstown among the greatest players to have ever played the game?
Like many of the sluggers that starred in the same era, Juan Gonzalez’s name has been linked to PED or steroids at some point over the last few years. There are no reports , however, that have resulted in a positive test report for him. Unfortunately, whether guilty or not, because the number of home runs that Gonzalez hit is similar to what others that have been positively linked to steroids have been able to amass, he is kind of guilty by association.
But, does he get your vote??
For me, it is a no-brainer! Juan Gonzalez put up monster numbers during his prime seasons – many of which were greater than what the greatest sluggers in the game achieved. And while a great source of power and run production, he did not excel at other areas of the game that would have established him as a ‘well-rounded’ player. But, you cannot argue that for the role he had on offense, he was superb, even elite.
So, for me – YES, he deserves to be inducted. And to be honest, I am shocked that he is off of the ballot already; after being on it for just one year and earning just 23 of 573 votes cast. Maybe the writers know something that I don’t. Maybe I missed an article somewhere. Maybe being teammates with Canseco, Palmeiro, and A-Rod is enough to be ‘guilty by association. Maybe, the writers have it all wrong…
Am I crazy??
Sound off. Please!