Craig Biggio, a lifetime Astro and member of the 3,000-hit club, is out next Hall of Fame debate subject.
Once known as one of the fastest catchers around, Biggio was moved to second base in 1992, his 5th season. Amazingly, he made another position move, this time to center field, in 2003. Biggio is the only player in baseball history to play as many as 130 games each at catcher, second base, and in the outfield.
Biggio was a 7-time All-Star, 4-time Gold Glove winner, and a 5-time Silver Slugger winner.
Click through to discuss his credentials and vote in the poll.
Next up in our debate is Jeff Kent, as per orders from the boss.
Kent was one of the best second-basemen of all time, in terms of offensive production. He also played in a high-run scoring era, so we'll need to determine how much that helped his raw numbers.
He was a 5-time All-Star, 4-time Silver Slugger winner, and he won the 2000 NL MVP. He also benefited from batting behind Barry Bonds for most of his years in San Francisco.
Kent didn't start hitting really well until about age 30 and was considered a top prospect for a long time, even while in the majors. Evidence to this fact includes the list of players he was involved in trades for: David Cone, Carlos Baerga, and Matt Williams.
Click through to read more about Kent's career and vote in the poll.
Larry Walker was one of the great young players with the early 1990s Expos and then became a star playing in numbers-inflating Coors Field. His stats are great even when correcting for ballpark effects--but are they good enough to get him into the Hall of Fame? Click through to discuss and vote.
Next up in our Hall of Fame poll series is Johnny Damon.
This is a tougher poll since Damon's career isn't over yet. He's having a nice season for the Tigers, with an OPS+ of 112 over 81 games and OBP and SLG values that are close to his career averages. He's on pace for a WAR of about 2.0 in 2010, good enough to be an everyday player.
So it's not clear how much Damon has left. He'll be 37 just after this season ends and certainly may stick around for another 2-4 seasons.
Let's take a look at Damon's HOF credentials based on his career totals right now. After that, I'll make some guesses about what his final career numbers might look like.
Case for Damon in the Hall of Fame:
2,510 career hits puts him in the top 100 all-time
Also cracks the top 100 in total bases (98th), runs (55th), doubles (72nd), stolen bases (83rd), and numerous other categories
Member of 7 playoff teams including two World Series winners (2004 Red Sox and 2009 Yankees)
Hit well in the playoffs, and extremely well in the World Series: 10 games, .904 OPS, 10 runs scored, 4 doubles, a triple, and a homer
Over 1,200 games in center field
Reputation as a very tough guy who plays through injuries, and this is backed up by his numbers: played at least 141 games every year of his career after his rookie season and averaged nearly 149 games.
Case against Damon for the Hall of Fame:
Career OPS+ of 105 would be in the bottom tier for Hall of Fame players. It would make him about tied with Brooks Robinson (104), or among players Damon overlapped at all with, closest to Ozzie Smith (87) and Cal Ripken (112.) Almost without exception, the HOF players on this part of the list were defensive aces, which Damon was not. (He played a valuable defensive position and often played it well, but also often did not.)
Garnered just a few low-placing MVP votes, two All-Star selections, and no other significant awards such as Gold Gloves or Silver Sluggers.
WAR is 47.9 which is just 185th among position players
WPA is 16.7 for his career, just 209th all-time
Blank ink is just 6 and Gray Ink is just 75
Now, for the future:
His HOF Monitor is at 88, whereas a typical HOFer is around 100. With a few more seasons, he might possibly get there. Same with his HOF Standards, which is at 41 now and an average HOF is around 50.
More significantly to the voters, Damon is just 490 hits shy of 3,000 for his career. He has a real shot to get there. If he plays the equivalent of 3 more full seasons including the rest of this one, he needs to bat about .272 to get enough hits. (I'm assuming 1,800 more at-bats.) It seems quite likely to me that he'll get to 3,000 hits, especially since he's likely to get close, and a few teams would be willing to let him hang around until he gets there.
So what happens when Damon gets there?
If he doesn't get in the Hall of Fame, he'll become the only Hall-eligible player not in. That might happen, because if he does get 3,000 hits, he'll replace Cal Ripken (or maybe Lou Brock) as the worst hitter with 3,000 hits.
Damon also needs to score only about 250 more runs to get into the top 20 all time. Currently, the highest ranked players for all-time runs who are Hall eligible and not in are #34 Jimmy Ryan, #35 George Van Haltren, #47 Bill Dahlen, and #50 Tim Raines. Yes, that's right. Damon is already within 40 runs scored of Raines and should eventually finish way, way, past him.
So, let's do our HOF poll a bit differently for Damon since he's an unusual case.
I was surprised to see some discussion on another thread that Tom Glavine might not deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. He's got 305 wins, 2 Cy Young awards (and 3.15 career Cy Young shares which is 8th all-time), five 20-win seasons, played in 5 World Series and one once, pitched 3 complete games in the World Series, and also had a .244 career OBP with 90 RBI in 1,323 AB. He wasn't on the disabled list until the last year of his career.
I could call up all sort of positive stats for Glavine. Let me see what I can do make a case against him, and then let's all vote in the poll below.