Blog Entry

Five active surefire Hall of Famers

Posted on: January 4, 2012 1:30 pm
Edited on: January 4, 2012 1:57 pm

By Matt Snyder

With the Hall of Fame voting results revealed this coming Monday, it's always a perfect time to look at ahead at future Hall of Famers. Sure, we'll debate about them when the time comes, but why wait? We've got time -- as it's a slow time of the year for baseball.

Thus, Eye On Baseball will do a five-part series about current players who may or may not eventually be enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, New York. The first part, this one, will deal with players who could retire right this second and be a sure bet to be voted into the Hall. While the resume isn't necessarily complete -- one of these guys' is far from complete -- it's already Hall-worthy.

Anyway, considering we're saying a player can retire right this instant and still easily get into the Hall, this list is short. It's just five names. We'll go in alphabetical order. To reiterate, this isn't players who we think will get in one day (which would certainly include someone like Roy Halladay). This list is of guys who could call a press conference and retire right now and still make the Hall.

Hall of Fame coverage
Derek Jeter: The Captain was already headed to Cooperstown regardless, but the 3,000th hit this past summer completed his first-ballot resume. He has a career .313 batting average with 240 homers, 339 steals, a Rookie of the Year award and five World Series rings. His postseason line -- .307/.374/.465 with 20 homers in 152 games -- along with seven top-10 finishes in MVP voting further cements his legacy.

Chipper Jones: Jones joined a division-winner and was one of the key members of 11 more division championships, winning the World Series once. The seven-time All-Star won the 1999 MVP -- pretty darn tough to do in those days for a presumed non-juicer -- and finished in the top 10 in voting five other times. He has 454 home runs and over 1,500 runs and RBI. Perhaps the most underrated aspect of Jones' game is he's walked more times than he's struck out in his career, helping to give him a .402 career on-base percentage. His .935 OPS ranks him 31st in MLB history.

Albert Pujols: Will the "longevity" crowd go nuts over this pick? Maybe. But c'mon. The guy has been one of the three best players in baseball for 11 years and the best since Barry Bonds retired. To randomly select a recent inductee, Jim Rice played 2,098 games in 16 seasons; winning one MVP and finishing in the top five six total times. Pujols? He's played in 1,705 games. In his 11 seasons, he's won three MVPs and finished in the top five 10 times. He already has 445 career home runs and his rate stats are insane. Pujols' .328 career batting average ranks him 33rd of all-time. His .420 OBP ranks him 19th and his .617 slugging percentage ranks him fourth ever. Only Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig had a higher mark. Yes, those rate stats tend to decline with age, so then I'd go back to the prime and point to the top five MVP finishes. Oh, and the two World Series rings, along with several huge postseason hits.

The point is, while he hasn't played 15 years, for example, few in the history of the game have ever put up 11 seasons at any point in their career as Pujols already has, so he's in right now. The only thing that could possibly keep him out is an unfortunate test at some point, but we're talking facts here, not baseless speculation.

Mariano Rivera: Obviously there's a spot for the best reliever in major-league history. Not only does Rivera hold the all-time record with 603 regular-season saves, but he's closed down 42 of 45 postseason save chances with a sparkling 0.70 ERA and 0.76 WHIP. Small sample? Not really. It's 141 innings, which is roughly twice as many as he'll throw in a given regular season. The 12-time All-Star also has those five rings, like Jeter does. Rivera's consistency, dominance and longevity mean he's a sure bet, even if other relievers have had trouble getting in.

Jim Thome: Is 600 the new 500? It used to be that hitting a 500th home run was like punching one's ticket to Cooperstown. That club has grown to 25 guys now, and will be adding one more pretty soon (Pujols). That's still pretty exclusive and might remain a barrier that always gets guys voted in -- assuming the PED cloud of suspiscion doesn't hang over their heads the way it does McGwire and Manny Ramirez, to name two. For good measure, though, Thome just went past 600 home runs this past season. Only seven have ever hit more homers in a career, three of which (Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Alex Rodriguez) will have to deal with those PED questions.

Thome doesn't just hit home runs, either. He's drawn 1,725 career walks (eighth all-time), which has helped him garner over 1,500 runs and a .403 career OBP. He also ranks 26th in history with 1,674 career RBI. Even if most of Thome's value does stem from hitting home runs, that's the best possible outcome a hitter can have. That's like saying all a football player does is score touchdowns -- more than all but seven have in the game's history. How is that bad?

Coming Thursday: Borderline candidates among older veterans
Friday: Players over 30 who have a shot of getting there with a few more good years
Saturday: Players under 30 building a good foundation
Sunday: Asterisk candidates -- on-field numbers good enough but PED issues cloud matters

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.

Since: Sep 20, 2008
Posted on: January 7, 2012 5:19 pm

Five active surefire Hall of Famers

I think, that Jose Canseco should be in the Hall of Fame.. The Hall of Fame is NOT a league leaders in stats.. Look at Ozzie Smith's stats.. However, NO ONE intelligent would say Ozzie Smith is not a Hall of Famer.. The Hall of Fame is "Can the story of baseball be told to your grandson, without mentioning this guy".. I feel, that when talking baseball, after 1985 to currently, the story of baseball can NOT be told without Jose Canseco.. Jose Canseco used steroids to become great at the game, then was the only person honest about it when everything hit the fan.. Hate him or like him, he is a BIG part of telling baseball's story for the last 25 years...

Other than that, I dislike baseball's HOF system. If writers don't like you as a person, not a player, but as a person, then you don't get in. Or you don't get in on the 1st ballot.. Roberto Alomar was a 1st ballot Hall of Famer, PERIOD.. During his career he won more (10) than any other second baseman in history, and also won the second-most (4) for a second baseman.  But, 2010 was Alomar's first year of Hall of Fame eligibility & he missed induction by eight votes. His 73.7% of the vote was the highest percentage of votes in any player's first year on the ballot without being elected. Some baseball writers expressed shock that Alomar failed to get in on the first ballot, but many attributed the near-miss to sportswriters holding a grudge over the 1996 spitting incident with John Hirschbeck, including Alomar's brother Sandy and Hirschbeck himself. Alomar was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his second year of eligibility with 90% of the vote (523 of 581 ballots cast).

With writers controlling who gets in, and holding grudges, there will always be debate as to who is & who isn't a Hall of Famer

Since: Feb 22, 2008
Posted on: January 7, 2012 8:46 am

Five active surefire Hall of Famers

Not sure how this happened, but how on Earth is Pudge Rodriguez not included?

Since: Apr 27, 2008
Posted on: January 7, 2012 7:19 am

Five active surefire Hall of Famers were touting WAR as a basis for enshrinement?

Well then :

#56 all time = Lou Whitaker
#61 all time = Barry Larkin
#64 all time = Jim Edmonds
#65 All Time = Bobby Grich
#67 all time = Larry Walker
#70 all time = Edgar Martinez
#71 all time = Alan Trammell
#77 all time = Scott Rolen
#80 all time = Kenny Lofton
#82 all time = Tim Raines
#88 all time = Reggie Smith
#97 all time = Dwight Evans
#98 all time = Graig Nettles

Now..since they are in the TOP 100 ALL TIME..using your argument..I guess these players should be Hall of Famers?

Hall of Famers lower ranked in WAR than these guys?

Harmon Killebrew , Dave Winfield , Willie Keeler , Richie Ashburn , Zack Wheat , Willie Stargell , Billy Williams, Andre Dawson , Hank Greenberg , Lou Boudreau , Joe Medwick , Bill Terry , Bill Dickey...Roy Campanella , George Sisler..and more?

Oh wait..I'm just picking bad Hall of Famers again..right?

Since: Apr 27, 2008
Posted on: January 7, 2012 6:42 am

Five active surefire Hall of Famers

Lombardincoke:  The #1 classic reasoning blunder most people make about who should be in the Hall and who should not is that they look for the worst Hall entrants and then use that to compare to the player they are advocating for.  That approach, of course, ensures that the Hall standards will deteriorate until everyone who ever played baseball is in the Hall.  And you've fallen into that trap here with your reasoning.  Congratulations. The thing is, most of those players should not be in the Hall either and they are all mighty fortunate that they are in. You are also arguing, by inference, that Carlos Beltran, J.D. Drew, Mike Cameron, Andruuw Jones and all the rest of the players on the first list should be in as well.  So, your reasoning is circuitous and you end up arguing for complete nonsense. 
No Hudsonhawk..the mistake people they claim these players are the worst Hall of Famers(but that is their OPINION).

The FACT is ..they are Hall of Famers. Period. IF they are Hall of Famers..whether you like it or not..nothing will ever change that.

The problem is..many people assume the Hall of Fame should be only for the players with the greatest statistics..which the Hall was NEVER intended to be.

It originally opened as a museum and a place to honor the GREATS of the game. Not the players with the best stats..etc.

We have record books for that.

I am not arguing anything of the sort about Carlos Beltran, J.D. Drew, Mike Cameron etc..that would be yo..based on your WAR comments.

There are SIX criteria a voter is supposed to consider when voting for a player. Do you know what they are? I do.
A player is eligible for the Hall after playing in all or parts of just 10 seasons. player is going to accumulate those mythical stats many people seem to tout all the all or just parts of 10 seasons.

That's why longevity isn't a criteria. Yet I see this all the time by voters and fans. Well Player A just didn't do it "long enough". DUMB!
He doesn't have to according to the Hall of Fame. a Player's record(stats) are only ONE of SIX criteria which are supposed to be considered.

Most voters and fans NEVER even mention the other criteria?

My "reasoning" is far more sound than yours.

Since: May 23, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2012 10:20 pm

Five active surefire Hall of Famers

Where is Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez....he will be for sure a first year catcher ever....period

Same reason A-Rod's not on the list.

Since: May 23, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2012 10:16 pm

Five active surefire Hall of Famers

Whether I agree with it or not, Chipper Jones is not a sure HOF and probably will not get in on the first ballot. he has hung on for a few extra years and still did nto get any ofthe magic numbers. He was great for a nice run of years, but that has not resulted in HOF votes for a lot of similar players recently. It's the Hall of Fame, Not the Hall of the Very Good.

The missing name is Ichiro.

I do like that they left anyone associated with PED's of the list including ARod.

I think there is a spot for Rivera, but there wasn't a spot for Lee when he retired the all time leader so who knows. There will be extra votes to go around if they are not voting for the steroid players.

You would put a slap hitting RFer that doesn't walk in over a power hitting 3rd bagger? I think Ichiro will get in. But to sell Chipper short is.....INSANE. Chipper is first ballot.

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2012 10:06 pm

Five active surefire Hall of Famers

Wow, what a misinformed comment if I've ever seen one. You need to go back and look at his numbers again. He's been extremely consistent in his career. The fact that you say he's a stat hoarder is just ridiculous. I would love to hear you explain that comment.

Since: Jan 11, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2012 7:49 pm

Five active surefire Hall of Famers

This really hurts to say since I am a Red Sox fan but there is no doubt that Mariano Rivera should be a first ballot! Nobody has ever been so dominant for so long. I wish he would retire now! And vote him in tomorrow!

Since: May 23, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2012 7:26 pm

Five active surefire Hall of Famers

Not sold on old Chipper as a first ballot hall of famer. More a boarderline guy to me. Maybe after a few years on the ballot. Sorry, just not sold on old Chipper.

You're insane. Compare his numbersw to any 3rd bagger in history. I bet he does pretty well when compared with any of them.

Since: Nov 18, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2012 5:28 pm

Five active surefire Hall of Famers

Not sold on old Chipper as a first ballot hall of famer. More a boarderline guy to me. Maybe after a few years on the ballot. Sorry, just not sold on old Chipper.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or