Future Hall of Fame Baseball Player Series:
- First Basemen
- Second Basemen
- Third Basemen
- Outfielders – American League
- Outfielders – National League
- Starting Pitchers
Since there are so many potential future Hall of Fame outfielders, I decided to divide them into two lists – current National League and current American League outfielders. Here are the candidates currently in the American League. Surprisingly, I don’t think there are any current “no doubt” Hall of Fame outfielders in the American league.
Really Good Chance
Manny is virtually a done deal, and he could probably retire today and have about a 95% chance of making it to the Hall. I think there’s still just a bit of room for debate with him. His offensive numbers are impressive though – 489 home runs, 1,595 RBI, 1,327 runs scored, .313 batting average, and a .594 slugging percentage. He’s been the model of consistency by having at least 30 homers and 100 RBI in 11 of the last 12 seasons. At 35 years old, he’s likely to play a few more seasons, and really pad those stats.
Sosa would probably be a lock for the Hall if it weren’t for his steroids suspicions and the corked bat incident. He’s basically a power hitter, and not much else, but his power numbers are impressive. 604 home runs, 1,647 RBI, and 1,465 runs scored would generally guarantee your place in Cooperstown, but I’ve got a feeling he may share the same fate as Mark McGwire. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Like Manny Ramirez, Guerrero has been the model of consistency throughout his career. At age 31, he’s still probably got several productive seasons in him, so his final numbers should be awesome. Here are highlights of his career stats: 1,924 hits, 356 home runs, 1,144 RBI, 1,017 runs scored, and a .324 batting average.
Usually, when players get a late start to their MLB career, they don’t stand much of a chance at making the Hall. Not so in Ichiro’s case. He didn’t play his first major league game until he was 27, yet he has managed to gather over 1,500 hits and 250 stolen bases by age 33. He shows no signs of slowing down yet, so he’s got a real shot at reaching 2,500+ hits and close to 500 stolen bases, as well as a .330+ batting average.
Sheffield is another guy that could be hurt by steroids suspicions, but I think his numbers are impressive enough to get him in the Hall. Right now he’s got 479 home runs, over 1,500 RBI and runs scored, 2,500 hits, a .297 batting average, and 238 stolen bases. He’s 38 years old, so he probably won’t play more than a couple of more years. But, if he plays a couple of more years, he’ll probably be around 550 homers, 1,700 RBI and runs, and not be too far from 3,000 hits. That should be plenty to get him into the Hall, even with some off the field issues.
A couple of yeas ago when Ordonez was injured, I would have said there was no way he could make it to the Hall, but he’s really come back strong from those injuries. Right now he’s at 1,595 hits, 241 home runs, 962 RBI, and a career batting average of .310. He’s having a career year in 2007, so if he can avoid the injury bug and can play anywhere near as well as he is this season, he’s got a real shot at putting up Hall-worthy numbers.
Iffy at Best
Abreu’s numbers are pretty similar to Ordonez’s, and he’s also 33 years old. Abreu actually has more hits, runs, and stolen bases than Ordonez, but I don’t like his chances of making it as much as Magglio’s. The reason being that Abreu is starting to see a drop off in his numbers while Magglio is playing better than ever. Right now Abreu has 1,722 hits, 218 home runs, 964 RBI, 1,039 runs, 286 stolen bases, and a .301 batting average. These are very nice numbers, but with the decline in power, speed and batting average he’s experienced, its looking like he’ll end up with very nice numbers that just aren’t quite worthy of the Hall of Fame.
Anderson looks like even a longer shot than Abreu. He’s got 2,154 hits, 247 home runs, 1,164 RBI, and a .296 batting average. Very good numbers, but at 35 years old, it’ll be tough for him to reach a major milestone number like 3,000 hits. He’s also missing more and more games due to injury, and he hasn’t had 20 home runs or 100 RBI in a season since 2003. Ultimately, the lack of any numbers that really jump out at you will almost certainly keep Anderson from the Hall.
Damon is another guy who’s put up good numbers, but who has done nothing that makes you think he should be considered for the Hall. He’s got 2,057 hits, 1,258 runs, and 326 stolen bases, but those are really the only numbers that jump out at you. He’s 34 years old, and his numbers are definitely declining, so he’ll likely end up short of what’s needed.
Too Early to Tell
Carl Crawford is one of the best young outfielders in the majors right now. He just turned 26 years old, but he’s already got nearly 1,000 hits. Most impressive though are his speed numbers. He’s got over 250 stolen bases and has led the American League in steals 3 of the last 4 years, and is leading this season as well. He’s also already got 74 career triples, and has led the American League in that category the last 3 years. If he can play 10 more years at a fairly high level, there’s a good chance he could finish with 600+ stolen bases, 150-200 triples, and close to 3,000 hits. He’s an exciting young player, so let’s hope he can keep it up.
Close but no Cigar
Dye is the first American League outfielder that comes to mind as having a really nice career, but has no chance of making it to the Hall of Fame. His 260 homers and 800+ RBI and runs are good, but at 33 years old, there’s virtually no way he could boost those numbers enough to get into the conversation.
Three other guys almost made the “close but no cigar” category – Darin Erstad, Torii Hunter, and Hideki Matsui – but I thought their numbers were even less impressive than Dye’s. Also, Grady Sizemore and Vernon Wells are a couple of other young outfielders that might work their way into the conversation, but Crawford is clearly the best of that group right now.