384 home runs
6 All Star Appearances
11 20 home run seasons
3 100 rbi seasons
13 20+ double seasons
The Case for Baines
Baines was one of the top designated hitters of the 80′s and 90′s, amassing 2866 career hits, 488 doubles, 384 home runs, and a career line of .289/.356/.465. He made 6 All-Star appearances, and had a career OPS+ of 120.
The Case Against Baines
Baines became a full-time designated hitter after the 1987 season due to knee problems. Unfortunately for him, that was only a mere 6 seasons into his career. 384 homeruns is a fairly low total considering the era he played in.
The first thing that stands out to me about Baines is the length of his career. I was very curious to see if his career totals were a product of prolonged excellence, or simply having a long career. So let’s take a look at his single seasonnumbers and determine whether he had that period of dominance in him or not.
He appears to have shown some flashes of dominance, posting 3 straight seasons (1989-1991) with an OPS+ over 130. His best season appears to have been 1984, when he posted an OPS+ of 142, with a .304/.361/.541 with 29 homers, 94 rbi, 28 doubles, 10 triples. From 1982-1987, Baines had at least 50 extra base hits and 81 rbi. He also had 4 seasons with 10 outfield assists or more during that time.
Overall, I think that Baines had a very good career. 2800+ hits and 300+ home runs are definitely the hallmarks of a very good hitter. But I just don’t see anything in either his season-to-season numbers or his career totals that really strike me as a dominant hitter, or worthy of the Hall of Fame.
MY VOTE: NO