We’ve been doing our own Hall of Fame polls for year now, and it’s time to get started.
The first name on the ballot is Rick Ankiel.
Rick had an very interesting career. He came up as a pitcher. He had a really good rookie season, going 11-7, with a 3.50 ERA in 30 starts, at just age 20, in 2000. He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in the NL. He walked more batters than you would like (90 in 175 innings), but had 175 strikeouts.
Then he had some troubles in the playoffs. Some troubles is an understatement. He started a game in the NLDS and walked 6, with 5 wild pitches, in just 2.2 innings. In the NLCS he made a start and had a relief appearance, totaling 1.1 innings, and gave out 5 walks with 4 strikeouts.
And he never recovered.
But he was pretty good with the bat. He switched over to the outfield and made it to the majors again. In 2008 he hit .264/.337/.506 with 25 home runs in 120 games. He’d play 7 seasons as an outfielder, hitting .240/.302/.422 with 76 home runs in 651 games.
It’s an interesting story, but not, by any stretch of the imagination, a Hall of Fame career.
Jason Bay is next on the ballot. He had a good career. Played 11 seasons, was Rookie of the Year in 2004 with a .282/.358/.550 line and 26 home runs in 120 games for the Pirates. In total he hit .266/.360/.481 with 222 home runs in 1278 games split between 5 teams.
He made 3 All-Star teams, won a Silver Slugger and received MVP votes 3 times, finishing as high as 7th.
And he was born in Trail, BC. A very pretty small town. The Jays were interested in picking him up for awhile there. A very nice career, but again, not a Hall of Fame type career.
So let’s start our voting with Lance Berkman. It is Berkman’s first time on the ballot.
Lance had a very good 15 year MLB career. He came up with the Astros, as an outfield and moved to first base (and DH) as his career went on.
He was 6th in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2000, hitting .297/.388/.561 with 21 home runs. The next year he hit .331/.430/.620 with 34 homers and 126 RBI. He’d have a streak of 6 straight years with OBPs above .400 and was above .400 8 times in his career. He hit 30 or more homers 6 times. And had over 100 RBI 6 times, as well has having over 90 walks 10 times.
Lance played on 6 All-Star teams and received MVP votes 7 times, finishing as high as 3rd (twice).
Berkman was part of the Killer B’s with Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell (both of whom are already in the Hall). Derek Bell was there before Lance.
Lance played in the playoffs 5 times, winning a World Series ring with the Cardinals in 2011. In total he hit .317/.417/.532 with 9 home runs in 224 playoff at bats. He played for 4 teams, 12 seasons with the Astros, 2 with the Cardinals, and 1 each with the Rangers and Yankees.
In total Lance played 1879 games, had 7814 PA, hit .293/.406/.537 with 366 home runs, 1201 walks and 1300 strikeouts. His career bWAR is 52.1. I’m not thinking Harold Baines will become the new benchmark, but his career bWAR is 38.7.
You can see Lance’s career numbers here.
Most similar careers: Bobby Bonds, Brian Giles, Norm Cash. With a career as short as Berkman’s, to be inducted you basically either need to be overwhelmingly dominant, a catcher (Gary Carter, Yogi Berra) or be Kirby Puckett (the dark blue dot way underneath Berkman).
Would you vote Lance Berkman into the Baseball Hall of Fame?
This poll is closed