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: Jul 24, 2011
Posted on: January 4, 2012 11:38 pm

Five active surefire Hall of Famers

damon and thome have never been the best players on thier team let alone as some as the best players ever    we need to stop looking at numbers and see how players impacted the game..  thome 600 hrs  damon 3000 hits    what else did they do?  thats like putting don sutton in cuz he had 300 wins  mediocrity at its finest 

the members should all leave blank ballots  no one is hof worthy and this is coming from a yankee fan that damn well knows bernie and mattingly dont belong in  

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: January 4, 2012 11:12 pm

Five active surefire Hall of Famers

SUREFIRE until pencilneck sportswriters start voting. Wait and see.

Since: Jun 3, 2010
Posted on: January 4, 2012 7:56 pm

Five active surefire Hall of Famers

We'll get there, stilcello! Patience ...

Since: Jun 24, 2008
Posted on: January 4, 2012 7:54 pm

Five active surefire Hall of Famers

You were doing just fine until you hit Omar Vizquel.  Really?  We already have one too many Rabbit Maranvilles in the HOF.  We don't need another. 
Omar Vizquel has a career combined (offense and defense) WAR of 42.3.  Same as Chase Utley's career WAR.  So, if Omar gets in, these guys must also be slam dunk Hall of Famers:

Miguel Tejada.............42.5
Jorge Posada..............44.7
J.D. Drew...................45.9
Mike Cameron.............46.7
Adrian Beltre...............47.6
Lance Berkman............51.2
Jason Giambi...............52.7
Bobby Abreu...............58.7
Andruw Jones..............60.4
Carlos Beltran.............60.8

Not such a great Hall of Fame then, is it?  Fully expect the writers to say "No" to Omar Vizquel. He's just not worthy.

Since: Jan 2, 2010
Posted on: January 4, 2012 7:45 pm

Five active surefire Hall of Famers

Without Roids
2012 - Larkin
2013 - Biggio, Piazza
2014 - Maddux, Thomas
2015 - Johnson
2016 - Griffey, Jr.
2017 - I.Rodriguez, Vizquel
2018 - Rivera, Thome,
2019 - Damon
2020 - Jeter, Ichiro, V. Guerrero
2021+ - Pujols, A. Rodriguez

With Roids This IS the Hall of Fame List.

2012 - Palmeiro, McGwire,
2013 - Bonds, Clemens, Bigiio
2014 - Maddux, Thomas,
2015 - Johnson,
2016 - Griffey, Jr.
2017 - M. Ramirez, I. Rodriguez
2018 - Rivera, Thome
2019 - Damon
2020 - Jeter, Ichiro, V. Guerrero

Damon and Guerrero will have 3,000 hits with ease.

It's not like the BBWAA picks three or four guys a year here.
One or is more plausible in the next decade.

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: January 4, 2012 7:07 pm

Five active surefire Hall of Famers

There are retired players who are not yet eligible who are locks for the Hall - they are essentially in line waiting their first year ballots - pitchers - Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez. also - with strong consideration - Curt Schilling, John Smoltz, and Mike Mussina.
relievers - Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner.

I think Frank Thomas is in. also Craig Biggio - 3000 hits. Ken Griffey Jr.
I also support Kenny Lofton.

then there are the steroid guys - Bonds, Ramirez, Sosa and more - like Kevin Brown and Roger Clemens. a big NO for all of them.
Among active players I support Omar Vizquel for the HOF.

I hope you will include retired players awaiting their eligibility for the ballot.

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