Wait may be long for another Orioles Hall of Famer - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Wait may be long for another Orioles Hall of Famer

Photo credit: Geoff Burke - USA Today Sports

When Cal Ripken Jr. was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, a common question was: Who would be the next Oriole inducted?

Now that we know that former Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina will enter the Hall of Fame without an Orioles or Yankees logo on his cap, the wait might be much, much longer.

Mussina had won 244 games when Ripken was inducted and wasn’t yet considered a Hall of Fame candidate. Fourteen months later, Mussina ended his career with his only 20-win season and 270 career victories, and steadily built support.

Mussina’s decision to enter the Hall of Fame without a logo is understandable. His statistics were compiled in two places, and they were nearly equal, but that didn’t stop many Oriole fans from complaining about it.

Among those entering with Mussina are two selections of the Veterans Committee, Harold Baines and Lee Smith. Smith played just the strike-shortened 1994 season with the Orioles, but Baines had three iterations lasting seven seasons in Baltimore.

Although Baines was a controversial choice, many Orioles fans were happy to see him go to Cooperstown. Baines is a lifelong resident of the Eastern Shore, and played with the Orioles in 1997, when they nearly went to the World Series.

Curt Schilling, whose political views have made him another controversial choice, recorded just the first of his 216 lifetime wins with the Orioles. He could be elected in the next year or two, but he won’t enter as an Oriole.

Among those who could be on the ballot next year are Brian Roberts, Nate McLouth and Joe Saunders, but none is likely to garner substantial support.

Roberts was one of the best second basemen in Orioles history, but he isn’t close to Hall of Fame worthy.

Manny Machado has had a spectacular start to his career. In his first seven seasons, he has a 33.8 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), and if he maintains that level over the next seven-to-10 years, he could be a Hall of Fame candidate.

By then, Machado’s early years with the Orioles could be mostly forgotten, especially if he signs a contract of six years or more with another team and leads them to postseason success.

If you’re thinking that Adam Jones or Nick Markakis are possible Hall of Famers, you’re probably wrong, or at least premature.

Jones and Markakis were wonderful Orioles, some of the best ever, but not close to being Hall of Famers, at least not yet. If both continued their careers and had several more excellent seasons, perhaps they could be considered, but not now.

Jones and Markakis have identical 32.4 WARs, which is still well below Baines’ 38.7.

Baines, who never received more than 6.1 percent of the vote from the Baseball Writers Association of America in his five appearances on the ballot, was elected by a group of 16 former players, executives and media members.

Jones, who is a free agent, has 1,813 hits and 266 home runs — impressive numbers, but not among the top 300 on the all-time hit list or the top 200 on the all-time homer list.

He does have four Gold Gloves and five All-Star selections and the gratitude of Orioles fans.

Unfortunately, no team has signed Jones, who could be a strong addition to a contender.

Markakis recently signed a one-year, $4 million contract with a $2 million buyout with the Atlanta, where he has played the previous four seasons.

Markakis has 2,237 hits, but only 179 home runs. He’s won three Gold Gloves but didn’t make an All-Star team until 2018.

Markakis has had seven seasons of 180 or more hits, but his most impressive statistic is the number of games he played.

In 11 of his 13 seasons, Markakis has played in at least 155 games. Last season, at 34, he played in all of Atlanta’s 162 games.

Only in 2012, when he had right wrist surgery and later a broken right thumb, did he miss significant time. Markakis played in just 104 games in the Orioles’ first winning season after 14 losing ones.

His absence from the 2012 postseason could have cost the Orioles their shot at playing in the American League Championship Series. They lost a taut five-game Division Series to the Yankees, whose left-hander, CC Sabathia, ended Markakis’ season with a pitch that broke his thumb.

For Markakis to reach 3,000 hits, he’d have to average just over 150 hits for five more seasons. He’d be 39 by then.

Even though Hall of Fame voters haven’t given as much weight to the “counting numbers” in recent years, Markakis would be making a strong case for Cooperstown with 3,000 hits.

However, Markakis isn’t likely to want to hang on just to achieve a number. If he continues to perform well and a team wants him, he’ll continue, but like Mussina, who didn’t want to keep playing at a diminished level just to reach 300 wins, Markakis holds himself to high standards.

Markakis maintains a home in the Baltimore area and has long enjoyed living here. Perhaps if he gets those 3,000 hits and reaches the Hall of Fame, he’d enter Cooperstown as an Oriole.

But that’s at least a decade away.

The advice here is that if you’d like to attend an Orioles induction into the Hall of Fame, brave the crowds that Mariano Rivera will draw this year and make your way to Cooperstown for Mussina’s big day on July 21.

It might be a very long time until there’s another.

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. SpinMaster

    January 31, 2019 at 8:13 am

    Nice article Rich. I guess it is a sad testament to our poor performance in keeping “hall of fame” worthy talent given that all the guys you talked about seemed to have blossomed once they left the Orioles.

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 31, 2019 at 9:53 am

      Markakis was pretty good with the Orioles, Spin. Thank you for the nice words.

  2. JK in EC

    January 31, 2019 at 8:30 am

    A repeat of last year’s performance by Markakis starts to move his career hit and doubles totals among Hall of Famers. He has quietly amassed some very good numbers. He, like Baines, is a guy I want on my team for many tangible and intangible qualities. Hard to imagine the writers would keep Markakis on the ballot for very long but, also like Baines, a panel of 16 former players, etc. may take a much more favorable view of his career.

    Also, there is no way McLouth or Saunders are even placed on the ballot. Roberts should make the ballot but won’t last long.

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 31, 2019 at 9:54 am

      I agree with much of what you’ve written, JK.

  3. TxBirdFan

    January 31, 2019 at 11:13 am

    Nice article Rich! I agree with your comments and can only hope that Jones and Markakis stick around long enough for legitimate Hall consideration.

    Although not a player, what do you think about Buck Showalter making the Hall?

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 31, 2019 at 11:26 am

      He never managed in a World Series, Tx, so I think the Hall of Fame for Buck would be unlikely.

  4. Boog Robinson Robinson

    January 31, 2019 at 11:26 am

    C’mon Rich …. really … you mentioned “Saunders”. That’s a joke isn’t it? What on earth compelled you to throw his name into the hat?

    “None is likely to garner substantial support.”? Does the word “substantial” equate to zero?

    We’re talking Hall of Fame here right? “Fame” is the key word in HOF. Without reading the above article, had you mentioned just the name “Saunders” in a HOF discussion …. how many of our readers would have known the 1st name of the player you were discussing? I’d venture a large wager that more-than-most readers would be hard pressed to come up with “Joe”. I’m an avid baseball fan, but I think I would have had to taken some serious time and some deep thought to come up with it myself.

    This is the Hall of FAME we’re talking about. Joes Saunders has abslutely no place in the discussion. He’s simply a journeyman ballplayer that nobody will remember in 10 years, if he hasn’t already been forgotten. And for time’s sake … I’ll pass on the Brian Roberts & Nate McClouth call outs…

    • TheGreat8

      January 31, 2019 at 11:40 am

      you’re a feisty fella, aint ya?! that’s a lot of words to spit out for a throw away mention in a 1,000 word article.

    • Bancells Moustache

      January 31, 2019 at 1:10 pm

      Speak for yourself!! The Base Bandit was the man!

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        February 1, 2019 at 10:56 am

        The Base Bandit? Is that the guy portrayed by Burt Reynolds in a bad 70’s flick?

    • jkneps63

      January 31, 2019 at 1:41 pm

      Saunders career MLB WAR was 8.6, McClouth 6.4, Roberts 30.4…it appears Rich visited www dot baseball-reference dot com/awards/hof_2020.shtml which lists “All players who remain eligible from the 2019 Ballot and all players who retired following the 2014 season with ten plus seasons in the major leagues and a score of ten or more in the HOF Monitor are included below.” A HOF Monitor of 100 indicates the player has a 50/50 chance of making the HOF. Saunders HOF Monitor scores was 10, McClouth 10, and Roberts 34.

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 31, 2019 at 1:54 pm

      Boog, kneps was correct. I don’t think Saunders or McLouth will be on the ballot next year, but they are eligible.

      Roberts will be on the ballot, I’m sure.

      And it’s enjoyable to get you riled up!

  5. Orial

    January 31, 2019 at 11:40 am

    I don’t see Markakis or Jones even in a distant neighborhood of making the HOF. Going forward not many players will be eligible with only one team for their hat. Maybe Betts or Judge because their teams can financially keep them. Longevity is out the window. If Manny were to have a good career I can see him wearing 3-4 hats.

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 31, 2019 at 1:56 pm

      Orial, my point was that it was unlikely that we’ll see another Orioles Hall of Famer in the foreseeable future.

  6. Bancells Moustache

    January 31, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    One of the biggest casualties of the 2014 Orioles inability to hit Royals pitching was Buck Showalter’s Hall candidacy. Managers tend to get in based more on reputation and fame, and I think Showalter had enough of both to be a lock, if only he had the jewelry. Alas, the players left their bats in the men’s room that chilly October, and Buck is known as the guy who left Britton in the ‘pen. Bummer.

    Piggy backing on Orial, I think the cap logo is going to slide out of vogue, other than Yankee, Dodger and Red Sox hats. Star players aren’t staying in one spot anymore due to the “business of baseball”. This used to mean players wanted too much money, though more frequently now it means the guy with the Ivy league degree’s laptop says he should get two 19 year olds to do the job instead.

    The romantic in me would like to see Markakis somehow get to 3000 hits, with the O’s bringing him back for the conclusion of that chase a la Eddie Murray’s 500th HR, but the odds are long on both him reaching 3000 and even longer on our current front office paying a guy pushing 40 for sentimental reasons.

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 31, 2019 at 1:59 pm

      Bancells, had the Orioles won the World Series in 2014, then Buck would have had a chance, but they
      didn’t.

      If a player performs for several teams, there’s usually one that stands out. In the case of Mussina, there are just two.

      Hall standards keep changing, and I
      don’t know where they’re going next.

  7. Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

    January 31, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    Here’s a fun question: will the Orioles have another player inducted into the HoF before they finish paying Chris Davis?

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 31, 2019 at 2:44 pm

      Zoey, you’re an original.

  8. willmiranda

    January 31, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    The Hall is, and should be, exclusive. It’s still troubling to think of a team going three or more decades without a serious candidate on its roster. Even the old Cubs and Pirates had Ernie Banks and Ralph Kiner. But then there were only sixteen teams. Withal, very happy to see H. Reynolds make it. He went through a lot of pain to make a fine career for himself when others would have quit.

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 31, 2019 at 2:45 pm

      I think you mean Harold Baines and not Harold Reynolds, Will.

  9. jkneps63

    January 31, 2019 at 2:38 pm

    2014 ALCS Game 1 Orioles score 6 runs and have 14 hits, Game 2 score 4 runs and have 9 hits. Game 3 and 4 bats went cold with only 1 run in each game, losing both games 2-1. IMO your comments overgeneralize the 2014 ALCS and, again IMO, whether or not the 2014 Orioles win the ALCS, Buck does not a HOF caliber manager. His teams made the post season 5 out of 20 season and his regular season record was 1551-1517 (0.506) and post season record was 9-14 (0.391). The regular season Pythagorean theorem total W-L for the 20 seasons he managed was 1534-1534, so Buck’s team won 17 more games than expected based upon runs scored and let up across 20 seasons. His regular season record in one run games was 412-427.

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 31, 2019 at 2:51 pm

      Jkneps, lack of a World Series title eliminates any manager from Hall of Fame consideration. Showalter’s best chance came in 2014. We don’t need further examination of his record.

      If they had won the World Series that year we could have debated his case, but there’s no need now.

  10. BirdsCaps

    January 31, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    I actually would not be surprised to see Markakis get 3,000, but he would need a good bit of luck. His numbers in Atlanta have been very good (his age doesn’t seem to be catching up to him yet). I would love to be able to see him in Cooperstown. As much as I loved watching Jones and Roberts, they never come anywhere near the hall. If they did, it would be a hall of the very good (Football Hall of Fame). Palmeiro would have been a shoe in if he didn’t have the failed test. Unfortunately, he’s part of the lost generation of the 90’s-00’s where there are very few untarnished superstars. Most of the legends of that era (see the homerun chase between McGwire and Sosa) and media darlings (see Bonds and Clemons) all have asterisks next to there name and will (correctly) never be immortalized in Cooperstown. In my opinion, the era disrupted the lore and mystique of America’s pastime and drastically ruined its popularity.

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 31, 2019 at 8:31 pm

      I know many who agree with you, BirdsCaps.

  11. Hallbe62

    February 1, 2019 at 7:48 am

    Sadly Rich, you are correct when you say there will be a long wait for the next Oriole HOF’er.

    I will be long gone touring the universe and probably my children as well.

    I’ll settle for another WS appearance before I depart the pattern.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 1, 2019 at 9:53 am

      Hallbe, I hope you’re watching Orioles games for many years to come.

  12. Birdman

    February 1, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Nick Markakis has a career average of 13 home runs and 74 RBI per season, and he has batted .300 only twice. There is no question that Markakis has had a very good career, but his record does not merit serious consideration for the HOF.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 1, 2019 at 9:54 am

      Birdman, I don’t disagree, but if he gets to 3,000 hits…

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