I vehemently disagree with the opinion that Hall of Fame voters “should keep the Hall small.” As catchy as the slogan can be, I believe more than 10 players are worthy of being in the Hall of Fame. Here is my case.
Players are listed in alphabetical order.
For my money, Barry Bonds is not only a Hall of Famer once, but he is a Hall of Famer twice! If you split his career into two sections, both sections would be surefire Hall of Fame-caliber. As opposed to the usual mentions of his home run mashing and walk generation, Bonds also stole 500 bags and was a good enough fielder in left to win a series of Gold Gloves. Bonds was dominant in every facet of the game. He is a Hall of Famer.
The Barry Bonds of pitching, Clemens checks off the 300-win and 3,000-strikeout boxes. Beyond the statistics, Clemens added an MVP in 1986 and won an unprecedented seven Cy Young Awards. The most jarring of Clemens’s achievements is winning the pitching crown not once but twice. Clemens casually won the pitching triple crown in back-to-back seasons. Clemens has a similar aura of being able to cut his career in half and have two viable Hall of Fame candidacies. He is a Hall of Famer.
Based on reputation alone, Jeter is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. The Captain won five World Series with the Yankees, winning one World Series MVP along the way. Jeter has 14 All-Star nods, and he has both a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger for each of his five rings. Jeter was a career .310 hitter, and he accumulated 3,465 hits. In his playoff endeavors, Jeter added another 200 hits in 158 games. Jeter is probably the easiest selection of my 10.
Jones does not have the longevity of the three aforementioned players, but his peak was legendary. Jones was a menace in the field and the batter’s box as he hauled in 10 consecutive Gold Gloves in centerfield while mashing 434 homers. While he was not recognized with the 2005 NL MVP, Jones had one of the most magical seasons of recent history by leading baseball in homers and leading the NL in runs batted in. Jones maintained his elite fielding and added a lone Silver Slugger. Jones is the greatest defensive center fielder (yes, even over Willie Mays) in MLB history, and he did enough damage with the bat to warrant admission to Cooperstown.
Pettitte combines more than 250 regular-season wins with 19 playoff victories. A five-time World Series champion (and eight-time participant), Pettitte was a key piece of the dynastic Yankees of the late 1990s. While he was never awarded a Cy Young, he was in the top six in voting on five separate occasions. Pettitte is just shy of the 2,500-strikeout mark, and he was consistently good for nearly two decades. Pettitte would likely not be a Hall of Famer without the playoff success, but he was an integral piece to five World Series titles.
A member of the 500-homer club, Ramirez was a 12-time All-Star and nine-time Silver Slugger. Ramirez’s mantle includes pair of World Series rings, the 2004 World Series MVP, and a batting title. Ramirez led the AL in OPS three times, and he owns one of the most dominant 50-game stretches in the history of baseball as he hit 17 home runs and batted almost .400 to lead the 2008 Dodgers to the playoffs after being traded during the season. Ramirez is a legend of the playoffs as posted a ridiculous .937 OPS in the playoffs. Ramirez should be a Hall of Famer.
Similar to Andruw Jones, Rolen combined elite defense and steady hitting for a decade. Rolen stuck around as a high-level player for longer, but he was not as dominant with the glove as Jones was. Rolen brought in eight Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger, seven All-Star selections, the 1997 NL Rookie of the Year, and a World Series ring. Rolen is an advanced stat darling as his WAR, seven-year peak WAR, and JAWS eclipsed the average Hall of Famer at third base. In terms of counting stats, Rolen posted 2,000 hits and 300 homers to accompany outstanding defense. He should be a Hall of Famer.
Playoff Curt Schilling was an animal. He was named 1993 NLCS MVP and 2001 World Series co-MVP, but that only scratches the surface on how dominant Schilling was. In the playoffs, Schilling was 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA. In the World Series, Schilling was 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA. Schilling won a trio of World Series. Schilling was not as dominant in the regular season, but he was still a six-time All-Star and had three top-two finishes in Cy Young voting in four years. Schilling is a member of the 3,000-strikeout club, and he posted 300 strikeouts in 1997, 1998, and 2002. Schilling should be in the Hall of Fame.
The 1998 NL MVP, Sosa mashed 609 homers in his 18-year career. In Sosa’s 10-year peak, he received MVP votes nine times, made the All-Star team six times, and won six Silver Sluggers. Sosa also hit 35 homers in all 10 seasons, posting 40 seven times, 45 five times, 50 four times, and 60 three times. Sosa also led the majors in runs batted in in 1998 and 2001. Another advanced stat darling, Sosa’s seven-year peak exceeds that of the average Hall of Fame outfielder. Sosa should be in the Hall of Fame.
Walker is on his last attempt to make the Hall of Fame before the Veterans Committee reviews his case, but Walker should make it. The 1997 NL MVP was a five-time All-Star, seven-time Gold Glover, three-time Silver Slugger, and three-time batting champ. Walker had seven seasons with an OPS over 1.000 and finished with a career .965 OPS. In terms of Hall of Fame metrics, Walker is above the average Hall of Fame in terms of total WAR, seven-year peak WAR, and JAWS. Walker is the second-most likely player to make the Hall of Fame (after Jeter), and he is an obvious selection in my opinion.