Last year, I went through and reviewed the case for a number of players for the Hall of Fame, and whether or not I thought that they deserved to be enshrined in the Hall. I’ll be doing this again this year, and for players I reviewed previously, I will revisit my vote and see if it has changed in a year’s time. Theoretically, this should remain the same, but there’s always a chance I am now a whole year wiser than I was last year. Today’s candidate is one that I looked at last year, Fred McGriff
McGriff was eligible for the Hall for the first time in the 2010 class (2009), and you can find what I wrote last year below. He finished the voting last year with 116 votes out of a possible 539 ballots (21.5%). McGriff really seems like a candidate that some of the writers are going to vote for every single year, but I think his path could follow Don Mattingly‘s, where this may have been his high water mark.
493 career home runs
OPS+ of 134
7 100 rbi seasons
12 90 rbi seasons
9 30 homer seasons (7 in a row)
The Case for McGriff
The Crime Dog was an excellent run-producing slugger. He had 9 season with 30+ homers, 12 with 90+ rbi, and finished with 2490 hits and a career line of .284/.377/.509. He had 7 straight seasons with 30+ homers, and 2 different sets of 3 seasons with 100+ rbi in a row. (1991-1993, 1999-2001). He finished with a career postseason line of .303/.385/.532.
The Case Against McGriff
While McGriff was always a very solid slugger, he was never really viewed as an elite slugger. Falling 7 homers short of 500 in an era known for the long ball is probably not a good thing either. He only won 1 World Series championship. He faded in his last two seasons, dropping off and really only playing part time at best during that time.
I am actually quite torn on this one. How much value do I place in 7 home runs? That really seems to be what his career totals come down to. McGriff was quite a power hitter, and 7 consecutive seasons of 30+ home runs is definitely an accomplishment. To me, it seems like McGriff’s career numbers would be enough to get him into the Hall, providing he was elite for a period of at least 5 seasons.
So what do his year-to-year stats show me? McGriff hit 31+ home runs for 7 straight seasons (1988-1994), posted OPS+ of 143 or higher during each of the seasons as well. He drove in 92+ runs 6 of the 7 seasons, and never had an OPS below .890. I would qualify that as an elite stretch of his career.
These numbers compiled with his career totals lead me to believe that McGriff should be a Hall of Famer.
My Thoughts for This Year
Clearly I don’t remember how I voted last year, as I thought I had not voted for McGriff. And after taking another look at his numbers, I can see why that may be. He had a career WAR of 50.5, and had 5 seasons with a WAR of 4.0 or higher. Unfortunately, those were all near the front end of his career. He appeared to start tailing off and not being nearly as productive after the 1999 season, but then came back with a great year in 2002. I think he’s honestly one of my tougher cases to judge, and with that in mind, I think I will stick with my first judgment.
MY VOTE: YES
MY VOTE THIS YEAR: YES