Not Quite In
The Hall of Fame announcement comes in tonight and there are a lot of very good players on the ballot this year. Who is probably not making it in? Thanks to MLB's YouTube for highlights.
I thought for a while Lee Smith would get in the Hall. This is now his 15th and last time on the ballot. He was pretty good at a time when one-inning closers and relievers in general were less common than what they have been the past two World Series. He ended his career with 478 career saves, but the job is made even more difficult to get into the Hall now that Trevor Hoffman (who ended his career as the saves leader) is on the ballot. Smith's 82.3 percent save conversion rate might not hold up well enough either. He finished second in NL Cy Young voting in 1991.
Mussina pitched over 200 innings in a season 11 times, including his 2008 campaign which saw him win 20 games in his final season. He was a good fielding pitcher with 7 Gold Gloves and was selected to 5 All-Star teams. Moose won 270 games in his career but has no Cy Young awards to his name, finishing second in 1999. It would be hard for Mussina to maek it in while his former Yankee teammate Roger Clemens hasn't made it in 5 years on the ballot.
Sticking with pitchers, we go back to the bullpen with Billy Wagner. Billy pitched for 16 seasons in the big leagues to a 2.31 ERA in 903 innings. Selected for seven All-Star squads, Wagner finished his career 6th all-time for games finished (he pitched at the end of 703 games). Billy Wagner finished his career with 422 saves, though he never led a league in any of his 16 seasons.
"Manny being Manny." That phrase was heard plenty more once Ramirez joined the Red Sox. Coming up with Cleveland, Manny finished second in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 1994, then was an All-Star 12 times in his 19 seasons. Voting for all awards shouldn't always count postseason play, but Manny could hit when his team needed him. In 111 career postseason games, Manny Ramirez hit 29 homers, drove in 78 runs, was walked 72 times, and hit to a .285 batting average and a .937 OPS facing the best teams. The World Series MVP was his in both 2004 and 2007 with the Red Sox. Regular season numbers: .312 average, .996 OPS (8th best all-time) and 555 career home runs. Manny is trying a comeback in Japan now too.
Sheff is on the ballot for the third time and hasn't gotten much momentum the previous two seasons. He was a feared hitter in his 22 MLB seasons, really taking off once he was let go by Milwaukee. In 1992, he won the batting title, hitting .330 that season, and .292 in his career. Sheffield also hit .292 in the 1997 World Series for his only championship. His career OPS is .907, and he hit 509 home runs with 9 All-Star selections and no MVPs. His batting stance should be showcased in the Hall at least.