With the 2016 Hall of Fame class being announced this week, I think it’s only appropriate that some predictions should be made. A new group of legends will be getting that long awaited phone call they have been dreaming of their whole life. Now some of these players dreams are about to become a reality while others just have to wait another year.
1. Mike Piazza
Piazza seems to be one of the sure favorites in this year’s group. This is his fourth year on the ballot, but it is finally his time. To be honest, I’m surprised it took him this long. Piazza, in my opinion, is one of the best offensive catchers ever to play the game. The 12 time All Star and 10 time silver slugger finished his 16 year career with a .308 batting average. That’s the third best career batting average from a catcher of all time. He also won the 1993 Rookie of the Year and the 1996 All Star game MVP. But going through all of these accolades, one of the best moments in Piazza’s career was his legendary 8th inning home run the day after 9/11. That moonshot to centerfield didn’t just have the Mets take the lead, but also gave a reason for people around New York to smile. Piazza was looked at as a hero then and, after his stellar career, he will get inducted.
2. Ken Griffey Jr.
With it being just his first year on the ballot, you can’t tell me that “The Kid” won’t make the cut. When Griffey first entered the league in 1989, kids were impersonating his long, but smooth swing with the most nonchalant follow through in their backyard. His swing just looked so effortless but, boy, did it have power. His 630 career home runs, earning him 6th on the all time list, can speak for itself. Also, to this day, he is the only player to ever win the Home Run Derby three times. But don’t think that the 13 time all star and 7 time Silver Slugger could just hit, he also played stellar defense. When Griffey was roaming centerfield for the Mariners, he was a 10 time Gold Glove winner, receiving the award 10 years in a row (1990-1999). Ken Griffey Jr. will forever be one of the best sluggers to ever play baseball. He brought a whole new type of “swagger” to the game, whether it was chasing down fly balls with ease or hitting tape measure shots out of the ballpark. In my opinion, he should have been inducted yesterday.
3. Trevor Hoffman
Another 1st timer on the ballot, I believe, will be joining this legendary class. If Hoffman were to get voted in, he will be just the 7th closer to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. People have said before that voters should consider evaluating closers as Hall of Famers. People say that because of the fewer innings they pitch compared to starters and that it is easier to be successful when you just pitch one inning every couple games. That to me is absurd, especially if you were to tell me that Hoffman shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame. The 7 time All Star is second all time in saves with 601. The all time leader is Mariano Rivera and if you think he shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame, you should just stop watching baseball. With Rivera and Hoffman being first and second on the list, Lee Smith in 3rd place is nowhere close to them at 478. To be honest, I will be shocked if any other pitcher ever gets close to 600 saves. With people saying that closers should be looked at as Hall of Famers, I can see your point with anyone BUT Hoffman and Rivera because they showed that they completely dominated the position like no other. I strongly believe that there won’t be any other closer ever to put up the amount of numbers Rivera and Hoffman did.
There you have it. Those are my three joining the group of heroes, legends, and the best players to ever play America’s Pastime. There is still the elephant in the room for the past couple of years now whether or not steroid users like Sammy Sosa, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and Mark McGwire should be allowed. Obviously from my picks, this isn’t the year for any of them. Ever since the newest release of MLB players, Ryan Howard, Ryan Zimmerman, and Taylor Teagarden being accused of using performance enhancing drugs, baseball writers won’t believe that it is time to let the four former muscle heads in due to the fact the steroids hasn’t been put to a complete stop yet.
In the far, far, far future (hypothetically speaking) when I am part of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and get to actually put my vote in for who gets into the Hall of Fame, my predictions for the 2016 class will be correct. But until that forsaken day comes, we will just have to sit back, relax, and wait for the announcement to be made later this week.