Longtime first baseman Fred McGriff was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the only player selected from the eight nominees reviewed by the 16-member Era Committee. McGriff was a unanimous vote, receiving votes from all 16 members.
Twelve votes were required for selection, and from the other seven players on the ballot Don Mattingly came closest with eight votes. Kurt Schilling got seven votes Dale Murphy six votes, and the other candidates (Albert Schoene, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro) received fewer than four votes each.
McGriff hit .284/.377/.509 with 493 homers in a career that spanned 19 seasons (1986-2004) with the Blue Jays, Padres, Braves, Rays, Cubs and Dodgers. The Crime Dog’s impressive resume included a World Series ring with the Braves in 1995, as well as individual honors from five All-Star appearances, three Silver Slugger awards and six top-10 finishes in MVP voting. McGriff’s highest MVP race finish was fourth during a 1993 season split between San Diego and Atlanta.
Long considered one of the best players in the game, McGriff was also somewhat underrated during his career, perhaps due to the fact that he played for multiple teams throughout his career rather than becoming an icon for a specific franchise. The 1994-95 players’ strike has also often been cited as a reason for McGriff’s lack of recognition from Cooperstown, as those losing games certainly cost McGriff a chance to break the 500 homer threshold, leaving him with “only” 493 big flies .
These may have been reasons why McGriff never got close to the 75% hurdle required for the authors’ introduction. It didn’t help either that McGriff was unlucky to stand for candidates in a crowded era, including several players dogged by suspected PED or other off-pitch issues – including Bonds, Clemens, Palmeiro and Schilling.
The “Veterans Committee” is the collective term for an annual rotating body organized each year by the Hall of Fame to judge the cases of players not chosen or considered by the writers, or non-playing staff, who do so are not part of the author choice. Candidates are considered from both the Contemporary Baseball (1980-present) and Classic Baseball (1980-earlier) periods and are divided into a three-year rotation…
- Contemporary Baseball, Players: 2022, 2025, 2028, etc.
- Contemporary baseball managers/executives/umpires: 2023, 2026, 2029, etc.
- Classic Baseball, all candidates: 2024, 2027, 2030, etc.
As such, the seven players who were not chosen in this year’s vote will have to wait until December 2025 to get another look, and it’s not necessarily a guarantee that any of those seven will make the 2025 shortlist at all. However, with several names changing on the Veterans Committee each year, it’s entirely possible that a HOF candidate who missed that time might be viewed more favorably by a future committee.
That said, the rather drastic lack of support for Bonds and Clemens in this vote could be a strong indication that it will take some time for hard feelings over the two superstars’ alleged use of PEDs to dissipate. While Bonds and Clemens were not included by the authors, they each received at least 65% of the vote in their last election year, falling respectably close to that 75% threshold. Likewise, Palmeiro (who was suspended in 2005 for PED use) was on the writers’ choice for just four years before dropping out, and might even have been a surprise contender for inclusion in this year’s Contemporary Baseball shortlist. Schilling’s history of inflammatory and controversial public statements and tweets also stalled his authors’ endorsement, and his first appearance on an era committee also left him well short of initiation.
This year’s 16-member committee included Angels owner Arte Moreno, former Blue Jays President Paul Beeston, Twins President/CEO Dave St. Peter, Diamondbacks President/CEO Derrick Hall, White Sox Executive Vice President Ken Williams, Marlins -GM Kim Ng, former Red Sox/Cubs front office boss Theo Epstein, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, longtime statistician and broadcaster Steve Hirdt and the Hall of Fame -Players Greg Maddux, Jack Morris, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell. Chipper Jones was originally intended to be part of the committee but was unable to attend due to illness and was replaced by Hall.
There’s more to come…