Originally posted on Hall of Very Good  |  Last updated 1/6/14
  Here's a baseball-card related Hall of Fame analysis from The Hall of Very Good's resident baseball card expert Bo Rosny. He uses baseball cards to illustrate his (sometimes surprising) Hall of Fame picks and snubs. Moisés Alou – NO.   Best known for being hurt a lot and not catching a foul ball. Here’s his rookie card as a skinny Pittsburgh Pirate.  Jeff Bagwell – NO.   His power numbers are a bit short for a first baseman in his generation. Certainly can’t go in before Fred McGriff. Here’s the best on-card shot of his infamous chin beard.  Armando Benítez – NO.   Hall of Fame arm, but frustrated his own team more than opponents, however.  Craig Biggio – YES.   3,000 hits and a Milk-Bone Super Star. You can’t beat that for a Hall of Fame resume.  Barry Bonds – YES.   I’m not one of those people who has a strong opinion either way about steroids and the Hall of Fame. Like Pete Rose, his accomplishments on the field were unquestionably Hall of Fame caliber, whether or not the man is actually enshrined.  Sean Casey – NO.   Supposed to be the nicest guy in baseball when he played. He was never considered close to the best player in baseball, though.  Roger Clemens – YES.   See the Bonds comment above. This card was Topps’ first attempt to catch up to Upper Deck in great baseball card photography.  Ray Durham – NO.   Even in his best seasons, Durham was no more than “Very Good”.  Eric Gagné – NO.   Perhaps the most prominent of the many relievers who were supposedly going to be “better than Rivera”. Gagné had a peak that was amazing…but brief. Tom Glavine – YES.   300 wins, and the best hockey-playing baseball player of all-time.  Luis Gonzalez – NO.   Throw out his one crazy outlier (steroids?) 2001 season and he’s not remotely a Hall of Famer. Jacque Jones – NO.   Another one of baseball’s nice guys, but his numbers just aren’t Hall of Fame worthy. Todd Jones – NO.   Mediocre closer best known for being proud of his own homophobia.  Jeff Kent – NO.   I guess if Ryne Sandberg is in, he has to be too, right? Unlike Sandberg, he was almost 30 before he reached his Hall of Fame level of production, though he did sustain it for a decade. One problem is that his personality left too many fans and players thinking like this:  Paul Lo Duca – NO.   To compile this list, I was working off a list of the Hall of Fame ballot from Wikipedia. When I got to Lo Duca’s name I had to double check because I was sure someone had pranked Wikipedia. Look at his stats…he would be lucky to make the “Hall of Average”.  Greg Maddux – NO.   Maddux didn’t sign with the Yankees after the 1992 season because he was afraid of New York. Yes, he was a great pitcher but a wimp like that better not be the first unanimous Hall of Famer. Also didn’t keep the Hall of Fame dirt-stache he had on his rookie card.  Edgar Martínez – YES.   The greatest designated hitter of all-time…even if Donruss couldn’t tell him apart from Edwin Nunez.  Don Mattingly – YES.   That’s an admitted Yankee fan yes. Still, no non-Hall of Famer’s baseball card remains as treasured to this day.  Fred McGriff – YES.   No player was personally hurt more by the 1994 strike than Fred McGriff, who would certainly have hit the seven homers he would end up needing to reach 500 and sure Hall of Fame induction. Just look at that swing!  Mark McGwire – YES.   Again, see Barry Bonds comment above.  Jack Morris – NO.   The best argument for the guy is “I don’t like sabermetrics.”  Mike Mussina – NO.   The perfect HOVG nominee, steady, excellent career but a bit short of being Hall of Fame worthy.  Hideo Nomo – NO.   Should probably get some kind of trailblazer recognition but his numbers in the States aren’t Hall of Fame worthy.   Rafael Palmeiro – YES .  Another no-brainer i f not for that whole steroids thing. Mike Piazza – YES.  I’m a Yankee fan and I hated the guy. Still, he is a clear-cut Hall of Fame talent who has never been linked to steroids, but is still not getting the benefit of the doubt from voters. A travesty. Tim Raines – YES.  Fewer hits than Tony Gwynn, but more walks and a lot more stolen bases. Their WAR numbers are virtually identical (69.1 for Raines, 68.9 for Gwynn.) If Gwynn is a Hall of Famer, than so is “Rock”. Kenny Rogers – NO.  Pitched for a long time, but is best known for pitching poorly for both New York teams. A reach for even The Hall of Very Good. Curt Schilling – YES.  A borderline candidate, but 3000 strikeouts and postseason success put him over the top in my book. Richie Sexson – NO.  Sexson hit more than 300 home runs in his career. That (and a ticket) will be enough to get him into the Hall of Fame. Lee Smith – NO.  Smith pitched very well for a long time, but never one of the first names you think of when listing dominant closers. Hurt by playing for so many teams, and in particular, being traded by the Cubs for junk at the prime of his career. Also, he pitched badly in his only two postseasons. J. T. Snow – NO.  A first baseman with a batting average below.270, fewer than 200 HR and 1000 RBI. Yes he had six Gold Gloves, but at the position that’s least important defensively. Sammy Sosa – YES.  See the Barry Bonds comment above. Frank Thomas – YES.  How is he not a first ballot Hall of Famer? He hit over 500 home runs and is the only player in baseball history to successfully flip the bird on two different baseball cards.   Mike Timlin – NO.  He holds the all-time record for relief appearances by a right-handed pitcher. Too bad this isn’t “The Hall of Showing Up”.  His 3.63 ERA is far too high for him to be the first Hall of Fame middle reliever. Alan Trammell – NO.  A real solid candidate, but a notch below Hall of Fame in my opinion. Yes, he walked as much as he struck out, but he never really walked a lot (more than 60 walks in a season just twice). And he didn’t get on base a ton by the base hit either – over 175 hits in a season just once. He was basically a doubles machine who was an excellent shortstop glove – a very nice player to have, but not really an all-time great. Larry Walker – NO.  He probably would have been a Hall of Famer if he’d stayed healthy, but he didn’t. Furthermore, his best years were in Coors Field. From ages 30-35 he was one of the best hitters in the game, but he didn’t do enough in his twenties or late thirties to be more than just a guy with a really good peak.
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