Yesterday’s Hall of Fame vote was tallied, and no one will be entering baseball’s shrine in Cooperstown, New York. Fred McGriff, a former member of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ organization, received 118 votes, or 20.7%, far short of the 75% needed for admission to the Hall. McGriff was a member of Atlanta’s 1995 World Series Championship team, and finished in the top ten in MVP voting five times during his career. He also totaled three Silver Slugger awards, and was a five-time All-Star.
There’s no telling if McGriff will eventually gain enough votes to be enshrined, but he fell short of several numbers that seem to be magical, granting near-certain entry into the Hall. Fred, known as “The Crime Dog”, wound up his career with 2,490 base hits, and 2,500 would have looked SO much better. He also fell seven home runs short of 500, while ending up sixteen points below .300.
McGriff is tied for 26th all-time with Lou Gehrig for homeruns. There are several people ahead of him who may never get a plaque in Cooperstown due to careers tinged with the possibility of steroid use. His OPS of .886 ranks 80th in the history books. He stands at 97th in total base hits.
No matter which side of the statistics you stand on, McGriff was a heck of a player. He also was a great guy. No one entered the Hall of Fame today, and a number of them fell short of the magical 75% of votes because of the steroid era, and questions that surrounded their names. No such questions ever whirled around Fred McGriff. No one ever said a bad thing about him. And while, if he ever gets his call from Cooperstown he might choose to enter as an Atlanta Brave, he would still have earned a good portion of his numbers while playing for Tampa Bay. And all he ever did was play the game the right way and handle himself honorably. You can’t question those credentials.
- Wade Boggs is the only player to have worn a Tampa Bay uniform who has a place in the Hall of Fame. Boggs also graduated from Plant High School in Tampa. McGriff graduated from Tampa Jefferson.
- Looking forward, you could project a couple of Rays possibly entering the Hall. Evan Longoria averages 33 homers a year, owns an OPS of .877, and is a Gold Glove winner. David Price averages 17 wins per 162 games with an earned-run average of 3.16. He won the Cy Young Award this season, and finished second in the voting a couple of years ago. His winning percentage of .663 puts him in the upper echelon of pitchers in the Hall.
- Longoria and Price need to stay healthy and play for probably 12-15 more years at a high level to be considered for the HOF, but they are definitely stand-outs during their short tenures in the bigs.