Monday, December 08, 2008

Hall of Fame Class of 2014

The announcement over the weekend that Greg Maddux was retiring after recording 355 career victories reminded me of an article I ran across not long ago that looked ahead to the potential Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2014 (which will be Maddux's first year of eligibility). The Hall of Fame rookies for that year could be as follows (assuming that a couple of guys decide to retire before next year):

Tom Glavine*
Randy Johnson*
Ken Griffey, Jr.*
Trevor Hoffman*
Jeff Kent
Greg Maddux
Pedro Martinez*
Mike Mussina
John Smoltz
Frank Thomas*

* indicates player is still active

With Maddux retiring, it would seem fitting for Tom Glavine and John Smoltz to both retire so they could all be inducted into the Hall the same year. Glavine is certainly a lock with 305 wins. One could argue that Smoltz is not as automatic but no one has won over 200 games and notched more than 150 saves.

Even if Randy Johnson retires I think 295 wins is enough to warrant enshrinement. And it's hard for me to see how we're going to see another closer who will earn as many saves as Trevor Hoffman.

Among the sluggers, Griffey is definitely in no matter when he decides to retire. I think Thomas gets in by virtue of his career homer numbers. Jeff Kent also seems to me to be a lock. So that's eight guys in this class that all have career stats that are worthy of the Hall.

The only debateable selections are Mussina and Martinez. Even though neither one hit one of the magic numbers (such as 300 wins) I think they both have had good enough careers to get in at some point. Given the strength of the rookie class it may not be until their second or third year of eligibility that they get in.

Depending on what happens the next couple of months 2014 could shape up as the best Hall of Fame ballot to come along in years. I don't envy the baseball writers who would have determine from that class who would be worthy of selection.

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