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Looking Ahead: The Hall Of Fame Class Of 2011

Looking Ahead:  The Hall Of Fame Class Of 2011

With the Hall of Fame still on my mind, I started thinking about what the Class of 2011 may look like.

Of the guys that missed the cut this year, I think that it is pretty safe to assume that Bert Blyleven and Robert0 Alomar will gain entry in 2011.  Besides those two, I don’t see anyone else that has been on the ballot prior picking up enough steam to grab 75% of the votes.

But, what about the guys on the ballot for the first time? 

Well, here is that list: 

2011: Jeff Bagwell, Rafael Palmeiro, John Olerud, Kevin Brown, Larry Walker, Juan Gonzalez, Tino Martinez, B.J. Surhoff, Marquis Grissom, John Franco, Bret Boone, Al Leiter, Benito Santiago, Carlos Baerga, Raul Mondesi, Bobby Higginson, Wilson Alvarez, Rey Sanchez, Charles Johnson, Jose Offerman, Ugueth Urbina, Ismael Valdez, Dan Wilson, Paul Quantrill, Cal Eldred, Kirk Rueter, Steve Reed

The list includes All-stars, MVPs, and World Series champions!!!  But once you start to look at the numbers, there are only 2 guys with a real shot at entry into Cooperstown; and for one of them, it may take a few years…

Those two guys are Jeff Bagwell & Rafael Palmeiro.

Lets start with Bagwell.  He’s a likable guy, and his numbers are solid.  A 15-year career that can be compared to the best first baemen from his era, Bagwell has a ROY and MVP award in his pocket.  He is also a 4-time All-star and winner of 3 Silver Slugger Trophies and 1 Gold Glove.  And while Bagwell hit close to .300 during the duration of his career, his 449 home runs and 2,314 hits leaves him well short of a few major milestones that usually guarantee enshrinement.

That takes us to Rafael Palmeiro.  He has all of the personal achievements.  Heck, he is 1 of just a small handful of players to reach both the 500 Home Runs plateau and 3,000 hits landmark.  But Raffy was never considered as the game’s best at any point during his playing days.  Sure, he was an All-star, and he won a few Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards, but Rafael was never elevated to elite status by winning MVP awards.  And then there is the whole steroid issue – it will loom over Rafael Palmeiro in the same manner that it has with Mark McGwire.  And that does not bode well for his chances; especially on his first ballot.

If I were voting, 3 players would get my vote – Blyleven, Alomar, and Palmeiro.  And while I like Jeff Bagwell, and Barry Larkin for that matter, I just need a few more years to think about how they rank among the best to have ever played the game…