By: David O’Brien, Keith Law and Andrew Baggarly
Fred McGriff was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame through the Contemporary Era Committee on Sunday night. Here’s what you need to know:
- The Contemporary Era Committee consists of 16 members, comprising members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, executives, and veteran media members.
- McGriff was no longer eligible for election by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA).
- Among those who did not receive the necessary 12 votes from the 16-member committee: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro and Don Mattingly.
Evaluating McGriff’s career
McGriff played 19 seasons from 1986 through 2004, batting .284 with 493 home runs, 1,550 RBIs and .886 OPS in 2,460 games. He finished in the top 10 in the MVP balloting six times, including a fourth-place finish in 1993, the year he was traded from San Diego to Atlanta in July and helped lead the 104-win Braves past San Francisco in one of the great playoff races of the modern era.
The first baseman was a five-time All-Star and three-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and McGriff thrived in postseason play, especially with the Braves. He hit .303 with 37 RBIs and a .917 OPS in 50 career postseason games, and with Atlanta, he had 10 home runs, a .411 OBP, a .581 slugging percentage and .992 OPS in 45 postseason games.
During the Braves’ 1995 postseason run to the city’s first pro sports title, McGriff hit .333 (19-for-57) with six doubles, four homers, nine RBIs, and 1,065 OPS, including two homers and a .955 OPS in the World Series win against Cleveland.
He had a career-best 37 home runs in 1993 with San Diego and Atlanta, the sixth of McGriff’s seven consecutive seasons with 30+ home runs. While he never had more than 37, he had 10 seasons with at least 30 home runs and was once the home run leader in every league.
McGriff had eight seasons with more than 100 RBIs, six with a batting average of .300 or higher, 11 seasons with an OPS of at least .923, five with more than 90 walks, and only three seasons with more than 120 strikeouts. In 1989, he led the AL in home runs (36), OPS (.924) and OPS+ (165) with Toronto.
Another often overlooked statistic: McGriff played more than 150 games in 10 of his 19 seasons, not counting 1995, when he led the National League by playing all 144 games for Atlanta in a season that was late. started because of the work stoppage that had started the previous fall.
If there were no games lost to the work stoppage, the Braves played just 114 games in 1994; McGriff played 113 – there is little doubt that he would have finished with more than 500 career home runs, which some say was one of the reasons he was left off many voters’ ballots years ago when statistical milestones such as 3,000 hits, 500 homers or 300 wins virtually guaranteed HOF induction.
He was well on his way to a career high for homers in 1994 before the season was halted, finishing with 34 in 113 games. McGriff had 61 home runs in 257 games during those 1994–95 seasons with Atlanta, playing all but one team game during that span. His 61 home runs in 258 team games over those two years amounted to 76 home runs when full seasons had been played, and the extra 15 home runs—or even if he had gone down and hit only half—would put McGriff at least 500.— O’Brien
Meaning McGriff enters the Hall of Fame
McGriff is the most innocent candidate the committee could possibly have placed in the Hall of Fame. He finished his career with 52.6 rWAR and 56.9 fWAR, making him neither a clear Hall of Famer nor a player who doesn’t belong at all. His 493 home runs – which would have made him a slam dunk in a pre-2000 era – ranks him 8th among inactive players not in the hall, with six of the guys ahead of him tainted by at least rumours. about PED use. One of the arguments in his favor has long been that he’s one of the few sluggers of his era who’s never been hit with those charges, and given what else happened on the committee’s vote, that has affected McGriff’s results possibly boosted. — Law
Evaluating bonds, Clemens Hall of Fame opportunities
Last year, Bonds received 66 percent of the BBWAA vote in his 10th and final round of voting with the writers. He received much less support when a committee of Hall of Fame players, executives and media members first reviewed his candidacy on Sunday. Bonds got “fewer than four votes,” according to the Hall. It’s possible he didn’t get any votes at all. But percentages really don’t matter here. It’s all game skill.
Commissioners could vote for no more than three of the eight candidates. If it became clear in the committee’s discussions that Bonds did not have 12 votes in the chamber, it would have been a shame to check his name. In other words, getting less than four votes should be seen as a disappointment for Bonds, but it does not detract from his candidacy. Look at Don Mattingly, who received little to no support in previous committee votes, but received eight votes on Sunday. If the composition of the committee changes enough by the time the Contemporary Era panel votes again in December 2025, bonds may stand a better chance. Or maybe Bonds is left out again as Jeff Kent sails through for the first time on a committee vote. Which would be hilarious. — For Business
Stark: 5 things we learned from the Contemporary Era Hall of Fame election
Bonds and Clemens received less than four votes each and I can only conclude that means neither of them will ever enter the Hall of Fame without a ticket. This was the last real hope for both players, and it couldn’t have turned out worse for them, as they’d have to triple that number of votes to earn approval. So the all-time leader in home runs won’t be in the Hall, even though Bonds is also the all-time leader in WAR on Baseball Reference by 0.1 more than Babe Ruth. He is seventh all-time in OBP, eighth in slugging, sixth in RBI, first in walks, and third in runs scored. New stats, old stats, accolades, however you measure it, he’s one of the greatest players in MLB history.
Clemens is third all-time in WAR, the best pitcher since integration by a huge margin, owner of the most Cy Young Awards, third all-time in strikeouts, and ninth in pitching victories. Regardless of your personal opinion on performance-enhancing drugs, the Contemporary Era Committee has made it very clear what their view is, and it means Bonds and Clemens are out – and it’s a terrible omen for Alex Rodríguez, too. — Law
Barry Bonds wasn’t elected to the Hall of Fame by a special committee, and it wasn’t close
(Photo: Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)