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Should Bobby Grich be in the Hall-of-Fame?

jbellone
BALTIMORE, MD - CIRCA 1981: Bobby Grich #4 of the California Angels gets the out at second base, and looks to turn the double play against the Baltimore Orioles during an Major League Baseball game circa 1981 at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. Grich played for the Angels from 1977-86. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - CIRCA 1981: Bobby Grich #4 of the California Angels gets the out at second base, and looks to turn the double play against the Baltimore Orioles during an Major League Baseball game circa 1981 at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. Grich played for the Angels from 1977-86. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
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Bobby Grich
Bobby Grich fields a ground ball. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

The case against Grich

Let’s start with the reasons why Bobby Grich failed to reach the necessary 5 percent vote to remain on the Hall-of-Fame ballot in 1992, let alone eventually reach the point he could have been enshrined.

It starts with accomplishments. Hall-of-Fame voters like to honor players who have led the league in a variety of categories and won lots of awards. While Grich won four Gold Glove Awards, there have been players who have won many more. The same could be said of his six All-Star appearances, an impressive number, but nothing that jumps off the page. He was a Silver Slugger winner only once.

In terms of leading the league in statistical categories, Grich hit the most home runs in the strike-shortened 1981 season (22). He also led the league in slugging percentage (.543) and OPS+ (165) that season. But besides that, he never led the league in anything else throughout his entire career.

While the advanced metrics put Grich near the top of the league over several seasons, MVP voting failed to weigh his unique defensive value in relation to his batting numbers. He finished in the top ten of MVP voting twice, but never higher than eighth. Other than in 1981, he never had a singular season that set him apart from the rest of the league. He reached 100 RBIs only once, batted .300 over a qualified season only once, and hit 30 home runs only once.

Grich’s career numbers fail to add up to anything special. He hit .266/.371/.424 over 17 seasons, with 224 home runs and 864 RBIs. Respectable numbers, but not Hall-of-Fame numbers.

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