First let me express congratulations to Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, and Ivan Rodriguez on well-deserved inductions into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The writers, however, messed up badly this year, snubbing not only Trevor Hoffman (5 votes shy) but also Vladimir Guerrero (15 votes shy), making two blatantly horrible miscalculations in the process. Judging by the stats, the fact that either was kept from earning 75% of the vote is astounding.
|Saves||ERA||Ks per 9 innings||BBs per 9|
Hoffman, without question on of the greatest relief pitchers the game has ever seen, posted career stats comparable to those of already hall-of-famers Rollie Fingers and Goose Gossage. In addition to a slightly better ERA, he had nearly as many saves as the other two combined, not to mention superior strikeout and walk rates. The biggest knock on him seemed to be that he was not the greatest closer of his time, second only the all-time best reliever Mariano Rivera. Just because Hoffman is not the greatest, however, does not mean he is not great, and the fact that he has to wait at least another year is appalling.
Similarly, Vladimir Guerrero’s numbers are similar to those of two of baseball’s all-time greatest: Reggie Jackson and Roberto Clemente. I get it, Guerrero, having played much of his career with the Expos and never winning a World Series, is not nearly as iconic as the other two. That said, aside from notable disparities in homeruns with Jackson and hits with Clemente, the stats are not much different. Guerrero had the best average of the three, more homers and RBIs than Clemente, and more hits than Jackson, also tying them in the MVP count.
For reference, Reggie Jackson earned 93.6% of the vote on his first ballot while Roberto Clemente received 92.7% on his.
Plenty of writers are quick to point out that Guerrero’s defense was mediocre at best. However, with offensive numbers like his, plus a cannon of an arm from right field, there is no way his defense was poor enough to keep him from Cooperstown.
I have no doubt that within the next few years, both Hoffman and Guerrero will find their way into the Hall of Fame, but the fact that they were prevented from doing so this year is wrong.