Sharing my passion for baseball cards, particularly Topps sets, rookie cards of current and future Hall of Fame players, and all things Chicago Cubs.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Making the HOF Case: Fred McGriff
Up first in our review of 2010 first-time Hall eligibles is the Crime Dog, Fred McGriff. He was never necessarily the best first baseman in the league (one could argue that Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell were the dominant players at the position in the 90s), but he finished his career just shy of 500 homers. In this era, 500 homers is not an automatic lock anyway, so let's consider some additional stats.
McGriff was a five-time All Star, a three-time Silver Slugger winner, and he had over 1,500 RBI. McGriff also performed at his best when he was traded from the Padres to the Braves (for Melvin Nieves among others, no less) in the midst of the 1993 pennant race. McGriff was instrumental to the Braves' playoff run, hitting 19 home runs in just 68 games. But as a Cubs fan, my lasting memory of the Crime Dog is his resistance to accept a trade from the Devil Rays to the Cubs during the 2001 season. At the time it seemed he didn't want to leave the luxury of Tampa for a pennant race in Chicago. While he played well for the Cubs, his indecision left a bad taste for many fans.
In this fan's opinion, McGriff falls into that category of good but not great players. I do not believe he will make the Hall, but his career is certainly worth admiration.