Friday, January 06, 2006

Relief Coming to the Hall

A rather weak Hall of Fame ballot this year may mean that some deserving relief pitchers will finally get into the Hall, or at the very least get the consideration they deserve. There are also a few position players that have been overlooked recently who may finally see the light of day.

Over the next several days, I'll be considering the HOF nominees and giving my thumbs up or thumbs down on each. Today, I'll be considering the nominations of Rick Aguilera, Albert Belle, Bert Blyleven, Will Clark and Dave Concepcion.

Rick Aguilera -- When he was at the top of his game, Aguilera was a heck of a pitcher. He had two seasons with more than 40 saves and six seasons of more than 30 saves. He still holds the the career saves record for the Minnesota Twins with 254 saves and he is 13th on the MLB all-time saves list. However, Aguilera won't be one of the relievers who will (or should) get in to the Hall this year.

Albert Belle -- Albert Belle was a force to be reckoned with. During the mid-90's, Belle was a perrenial MVP candidate. He was a home run hitter and a run producer who had more than 100 RBI in each of nine consecutive seasons. To this day, Belle is second all-time on the Indians HR list. While he was impressive, Belle is not a first ballot Hall-of-Famer. He won't make it this year.

Bert Blyleven -- This is Blyleven's ninth year on the HOF ballot. During his career, he put up some mighty impressive numbers. He had 287 wins. Of pitchers not in the HOF, only Tommy John has more victories. He had 242 complete games. Granted, things were done a little differently in Blyleven's day than they are done today, but still, that is an impressive number. To give you some perspective, Roger Clemens has only thrown 118 complete games in his stellar career. He also threw 60 shutouts in his 22 year career. But the number that impresses me the most is 3,701. That is the number of strike outs he recorded. When he retired, only Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton had recorded more. Since then, two sure-fire HOFers, Clemens and Randy Johnson, have passed him and Blyleven is now fifth all-time in strikeouts. For me, Bert Blyleven could go either way. However, I won't straddle the fence. I say, "Put Blyleven in the Hall."

Will Clark -- In 15 seasons, Will Clark was as competitive as any ballplayer in Major League Baseball. He was a good hitter, but not a great hitter. He had some power, but not a lot of power. He was a good fielder, but not a great fielder. I always liked Clark's attitude, but his play is not deserving of the Hall.

Dave Concepcion -- Concepcion was an intregal part of the Big Red Machine back in the 1970's. He played a total of 19 seasons, all in Cincinnati. Although he was an integral part of the Reds, he did not have a Hall-worthy career.

Next time, Andre Dawson, Gary DiSarcina, Alex Fernandez, Gary Gaetti, and Steve Garvey.


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