Voices cracked, eyes watered, and memorable stories were told during an emotional Sunday afternoon in Cooperstown as Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, Trevor Hoffman, Vladimir Guerrero, Jack Morris, and Alan Trammell were recognized as the 2018 inductees of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Now, with the images of those six players bronzed and set to hang, a new debate is about to get underway. Who’s next?
Let’s take a look at the players who are eligible for induction in 2019 and consider who might earn the right to stand among the all-time greats.
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Will Edgar Martinez, arguably the greatest DH in MLB history, be inducted during his 10th year of eligibility? Are voters warming up to the idea of inducting Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens? And why is Omar Vizquel getting so much consideration?
There will be a number of debatable names up for induction in 2019, likely leading to heated conversations prior to next year’s balloting, which could see the end of “Crime Dog” Fred McGriff’s time as a candidate.
Best chances among 1st years
Two-time Cy Young winner Roy Halladay, who tragically died in an airplane crash in November 2017, and all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera are both likely candidates to be inducted during their first year of eligibility.
But where does that leave Todd Helton, Andy Pettitte, Lance Berkman, and Roy Oswalt? All four posted a career WAR above 50, and they were some of their generation’s best players.
Slim shot in 1st year
First-year induction is highly unlikely for these guys, and a Hall of Fame nod in general might be a reach, too. But Miguel Tejada did win an MVP Award in 2002, and the other three were integral parts of their teams throughout solid careers.
One and done
The players on this list, while steady and at times some of the best talents in the league, are not Hall of Famers. It would be surprising to see any of them inducted, and most should struggle to earn enough votes to stay on the 2020 ballot.
WAR – Career Wins Above Replacement – A single number that presents the number of wins the player added versus a replacement-level player. For pitchers, this also contains their batting WAR.
JAWS – Jaffe WAR Score System – Developed by Jay Jaffe and introduced on Baseball Prospectus, JAWS contains a combination of career and seven-year peak WAR totals, which allows for a comparison to the average Hall of Famer by position.
(Photos courtesy: Getty Images)
(Stats, WAR & JAWS descriptions courtesy: Baseball Reference)