Thome, Santana Get First Shot At The Hall
Image courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY SportsThome’s Resume
Thome’s numbers speak for themselves. Only nine players have surpassed the 600 home run plateau and Thome is one of them. He also compiled 1,699 RBIs, 1,583 runs scored, a .402 OBP and 2,328 hits. According to Baseball Reference’s Offensive WAR, he has the 44th highest total in baseball history and his WAR for position players is in the top 55. His career slugging (.544) and OPS (.956) both rank in the top 25 all-time. He also ranks seventh in base on balls (1,747). His demeanor on and off the field also separated him from the pack. Former teammate Joe Crede said, “He’s the epitome of a baseball player.” That kind of resume will be tough for the writers to ignore.
Santana provides a more interesting case for the Hall of Fame. He was the most dominant pitcher in the game for a five-year stretch but his career was eventually derailed by injuries. Earlier this year, Seth compared Santana’s career to the great Sandy Koufax. There are similar career paths for both players. Baseball Reference’s Cy Young Career Shares (2.72) has him 12th all-time. Of the players in front of him, eight are in the Hall of Fame. The four not in the Hall are Roger Clemens, Clayton Kershaw, Roy Halladay, and Max Scherzer. Clemens may never get in but the other three all have a very strong chance. He ranks in the top 20 all-time in strikeouts per nine and adjusted ERA+.
Other sluggers from Thome’s era have struggled to make it on the first ballot. A steroid era cloud has hung over some players like last year’s inductee Jeff Bagwell. Thome’s numbers are some of the best all-time and his overall contributions to the game will make it tough to keep him out of Cooperstown. This year’s ballot is stacked so he could fall victim to too many people passing him over to keep other players on the ballot. That being said, I still think he gets in.
Santana is going to be a tough player for the writers to consider. I think it would take multiple years of him being on the ballot to start building up a case in his favor. He would need writers talking about how dominant he was before the injury. Twins fans saw a player like Kirby Puckett get inducted even though his career was cut short by an injury. Could the baseball writers do the same thing with Santana? It doesn’t seem likely for him to make it in 2018.
Do you think either player makes the cut? Should Santana make it for his dominant stretch? Who else on the ballot will be elected? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.