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Hall of Fame Poll: Gary Sheffield

Harry How/Getty Images

This is Gary Sheffield's second time on the ballot. He was only on 11.6% of the writer's ballots last year/

Looking at his stats, Sheffield was a better player than in my memory. Sheffield, nephew of Dwight Gooden (who was a one and done in Hall of Fame voting, getting just 3% of the vote) was a first round pick in the 1986 draft by the Brewers. He went on to have a 22 year (I didn't think he played that long) major league career, playing for 8 different teams.

He played 2576 games, hitting .292/.393/.514 with 509 home runs, 1676 RBI and 253 stolen bases thrown in for good measure. He made 9 All-Star teams. He won 5 Silver Slugger awards. He received MVP votes 7 times, finishing 2nd once and 3rd twice. His career WAR is 60.2.

He came up as a shortstop, was moved to third base and then the outfield, he was never much of a defensive player, but then he could hit.

He was pretty interesting off the field too. He called the Brewers 'racist' when they moved him off short to play third. He felt racism was behind anything bad that happened to him. And he figured there were more Latin players in the majors than African-Americans because Latin players were 'easier to control'. He claimed that manager Joe Torre treated black players different then white players. I'd imagine that when you are subjected to a lot of racism, you likely start seeing it in places where it isn't. But then I'm a white boy with blue eyes. I've never dealt with racism directed at me.

He was also named in the Mitchell report as someone that used PEDs, but a lot of players were mentioned in that report. He is an interesting candidate. How much do you subtract for his defense? Does he lose points for his personality? I don't think he always played well with reporters, a wonder how that plays into the vote?

You can see his stats here.

Matt W's chart:

A lot of debate about the Hall of Fame relates to comparing a candidate against others elected and excluded. The chart below shows all players who played the majority of their career after 1945 (excluding active players, and those on the ballot or yet to hit the ballot) according to how long they played and how productive they were. TRC+ is wRC+, just for all runs rather than just batting runs. This is not meant to be definitive, but a high level starting point showing how players with similarly productive and lasting careers have fared.


Similar Players Billy Williams (elected BBWAA), Andre Dawson (BBWAA), Tony Perez (BBWAA), Dwight Evans, Darrell Evans, Luis Gonzalez