The Baseball Hall of Fame will hold its 74th annual induction ceremony on July 24th, 2016. Will this be the year a Los Angeles Angels cap is finally pictured on
of the 300+ plaques in Cooperstown? Unlikely. But let’s examine all the potential candidates anyway.
Four former Angels grace the 2016 Hall of Fame ballot, each in his first year of eligibility for the Hall. Those Angels are Jim Edmonds, Garret Anderson, Troy Glaus and David Eckstein. Let’s examine each potential Hall of Famer individually.
– Although he will always be best known for his highlight reel plays in center field, Edmonds was no easy out at the plate throughout his
. The lefty, drafted by the Angels in the seventh round of the 1998 draft, spent his first five seasons in the minors.
When he broke into the big leagues, he never looked back. He finished his 17-year MLB
a .284/.376/.527 career slash, 393 HRs, a 60.3 WAR, four All Star selections and eight Gold Gloves. He spent his first seven seasons in Anaheim before playing his final 10 in the National League, including eight in St. Louis where he had his best years and won a World Series.
Edmonds never won an MVP award (never finishing higher than fourth in MVP voting), he didn’t hit 400 home runs or tally 2,000 hits, but his consistent efficiency as one of the best outfielders in the game throughout his whole career should earn him baseball’s most cherished honor.
on him getting in as a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but I expect to see his name on the ballot in future years. I also expect to see him inducted in the near future. While Edmonds is certainly the most qualified of the four Angels on the ballot, when he is inducted he’ll probably wear a Cardinals hat on his plaque … probably.
– I was once lucky enough to sit immediately next to Garret on a
Phoenix to Orange County after my trip to spring training. I nervously introduced myself as an Angels fan and season ticket holder, he told me that he was heading home for a family event and we talked for a bit and he signed my hat.
I’ll never forget the amount of class this guy must have had to talk so kindly with a 13-year-old kid he had to sit next to on a
. That same elegance that he brought to the game as the face of the Angels for 15 of his 17 MLB seasons and as a World Series hero is what he’s most remembered for.
While his stats were no joke (.293/.324/.461 with 287 HRs and a 25.6 career WAR), he almost certainly won’t be a first ballot Hall of Famer. However, Anderson’s numbers are comparable to some players already in the Hall of Fame. Anderson was a three-time All Star and two-time Silver Slugger, but he’s got just an outside chance of being inducted. But hey, if he does get in, he’ll certainly go in as an Angel.
Troy Glaus – The big third baseman played an even bigger role in the 2002 World Series when he was named MVP. The right-hander hit .254/.358/.489 with 320 HRs and a 37.9 WAR in 13 big league seasons. The Angels took him with the third overall pick in the 1997 draft, and he spent his first seven years in Anaheim.
The four-time All Star and two-time Silver Slugger won
run title in 2000 when he belted 47 homers. However, his reputation was diminished when he was one of the names released by MLB’s Mitchell Report in 2007. He will never be forgotten for his contributions to the Angels in 2002, but if Bonds, McGwire and Sosa can’t get into the Hall, there’s zero chance Glaus can.
David Eckstein – The 5-foot-6-inch middle infielder was a fan favorite in his four years with the Angels. Drafted by
the Red Sox in the 19th round of the 1997 draft, the Angels acquired him off waivers in 2000. He had a
slash 0f .280/.345/.355 with 35 home runs and a 20.8 career WAR in 10 MLB seasons.
Eckstein helped the Angels win the World Series in 2002, but is most known for his championship with the Cardinals in 2006 when he was named World Series MVP. If Hall of Fame voting was a popularity
, Eckstein would be a first-ballot pick. Unfortunately for the X-factor, it isn’t. He has about as much of a chance of being inducted as I do.
But you can’t underestimate how impressive it is that a 5-foot-6-inch 19th round pick is even on the ballot in the first place. He will always have a special place in Angels history.
So maybe this won’t be the year that a Hall of Famer finally dons an Angels cap, but the future does look promising. Vladimir Guerrero’s eligibility
in 2017. He’ll likely get in, let’s just hope he chooses the Halos over the Expos when he does. There is a good chance that he might, especially after choosing to sign a one-day contract to retire as an Angel in 2014.
Mike Scioscia is an intriguing potential Hall of Fame manager. He’s currently 24th in all-time manager wins and (obviously) still
. A god sign is that 17 of the 23 managers ahead of him are already in the hall.
Another interesting candidate is Don Baylor, who would have to be a Veteran’s Committee
. “Groove” as he is lovingly called by the Angels faithful, was the first Angels player to win the MVP award in 1979, leading the team to their first ever American League West title by batting .296 with 36 HRs and driving in 139 runs. He hit 141 of his career 338 home runs as an Angel and drove in 523 of his career 1276 RBIs as an Angel.
Baylor played in the playoffs seven times during his career, making it to three World Series and finally winning one in his final playoff appearance in 1987 with the Minnesota Twins. His clubhouse leadership might have been his best attribute, which is why he has coached or managed in the big leagues for 25 seasons. Baylor would go in as an Angel almost for sure if he is
Players who are still
or who have just retired that could be enshrined are: Albert Pujols, who is a sure Hall of Famer whenever he decides to call it quits. However, he’ll very likely be remembered as a Cardinal on induction day. Torii Hunter’s got a shot, but it’d be a shock if he chose the Los Angeles Angels over the Twins. If none of those guys get in as an Angel, there is this guy called Mike Trout who one day may. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait until 2030 to see that happen.