Alfonso Soriano played six and a half years for the Cubs and hit 181 home runs in blue pinstripes. That ranks 12th in Cubs franchise history, just ahead of Derrek Lee and Andre Dawson.
Soriano is among 18 new additions to this year’s Hall of Fame ballot. In alphabetical order, the other 17 are:
Bobby Abreu, Josh Beckett, Heath Bell, Eric Chavez, Adam Dunn, Chone Figgins, Rafael Furcal, Jason Giambi, Raul Ibanez, Derek Jeter, Paul Konerko, Cliff Lee, Carlos Pena, Brad Penny, J.J. Putz, Brian Roberts, and Jose Valverde
Jeter, no doubt, is a first-ballot inductee for his stellar 20-year career with the Yankees, which included 3,465 hits, a Rookie of the Year award and five World Series rings.
Among the others listed, I don’t think there’s a single player you can make a truly strong case for. Some of them had monster seasons — Dunn, Bell, Lee and Pena among them — but I don’t think any rate Hall induction.
And seriously, some of those players do not even belong on the ballot. Brad Penny? If I squint real hard I can find a decent year or two in his career, but mostly he’s here because he meets the minimum qualification — playing 10 or more seasons. Same for Putz, Bell and Furcal.
About Soriano: Up to the time he came to the Cubs, he was on a borderline Hall of Fame track. He was 30 and had 208 home runs and 224 stolen bases, though just 19.3 bWAR. If he had kept up that pace for the rest of his career and wound up with 400+ homers and 400+ steals, and if the Cubs had won the World Series while he was there, maybe he gets some consideration. But Sori got injured not long after he joined the Cubs, a serious hamstring injury followed by a serious knee injury, and that took away most of his speed. He also suffered from wrist injuries during his time in Chicago. With the Cubs he hit .264/.317/.495 in 889 games, posting 10.5 bWAR and the aforementioned 181 homers.
Hall of Very Good for Soriano.
14 players are returning from last year’s ballot, in alphabetical order:
Barry Bonds, Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens, Todd Helton, Andruw Jones, Jeff Kent, Andy Pettitte, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Omar Vizquel, Billy Wagner and Larry Walker
Last year, Schilling, Bonds and Clemens all received close to 60 percent of the vote; many players who get to that level are eventually inducted. All three are in their eighth (of a total of 10 possible) year on the ballot. Walker, for whom 2020 is his last shot until the Veterans Committee votes, received 54.1 percent.
Billy Wagner, who is in his fifth year on the ballot, received just 16.7 percent last year. Go look at his numbers and I’m sure you’ll be surprised at how you didn’t remember how good he was. His 422 saves rank sixth all-time. The active leader in saves is Craig Kimbrel with 346. (Maybe Kimbrel will be better in 2020 and improve on this total.)
I remain surprised at the lack of support for Sosa, given the increased support for fellow supposed PED users Bonds and Clemens. Sosa is still the only player to hit 60 homers in a season three times. He is also in his eighth year on the ballot and received just 8.5 percent of the vote in 2019.
Again, I’m still not sure why the Hall felt it necessary to fill out the ballot to 32 players with several new names who are clearly not qualified. A smaller, but better, ballot might be more useful.
BBWAA writers can vote for up to 10 players on their ballot, due December 31. I don’t have a Hall vote, but if I did: Jeter, Bonds, Clemens, Rolen, Ramirez, Sosa, Wagner, Walker, Abreu.
The voting results will be revealed January 21, 2020 and the induction ceremony in Cooperstown will take place Sunday, July 26, 2020.
Should Alfonso Soriano be elected to the Hall of Fame?
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Should Sammy Sosa be elected to the Hall of Fame?
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