Well, the votes have been counted, and this year the Baseball Writers Association of America has come to the consensus that Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas are worthy of being members of the Hall of Fame.
I’m not going to discuss the whole voting process here; that will be for a later post.
What I’d like to discuss here is something completely different.
What will their plaques look like?
No one but the artisans crafting them knows before they are unveiled at the induction ceremony. The player’s likeness is based on photographs of the player at the peak of their career, and the logo on the hat is usually that of the team they are most associated with. Only if it isn’t clear which team should be represented do they consult with the player.
The text is a brief summary of the player’s career, highlighting why they are in the Hall of Fame. Only once have they changed a plaque – that was for Jackie Robinson, at the request of his widow Rachel who wanted it his role in integrating the major leagues noted.
If you look over the plaques in the Hall, you’ll note that there’s no mention of any of the advanced stats like OPS or WAR. Keep in mind that they are intended to awe the average fan, and not satisfy the sabermetricians. The Little League teams who visit the Hall most likely wouldn’t know what they mean, anyway.
With all that in mind, here’s my guess as to the text for this year’s honorees:
Thomas Michael Glavine
Atlanta, N.L., 1987–2002
New York, N.L., 2003–2007
Atlanta, N.L., 2007–2009
Lifetime 305-203 record is 4th all-time in wins for a left hander. Won 20 or more games 5 times. Workhorse who led majors in starts 6 times and is 12th overall lifetime. Won Cy Young Award in 1991 and 1998, and was WS MVP in 1995, going 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA.
Gregory Alan Maddux
“Mad Dog” “The Professor”
Chicago, N.L., 1986–1992
Atlanta, N.L., 1993–2003
Chicago, N.L., 2004–2006
Los Angeles, N.L., 2006
San Diego, N.L., 2007–2008
Los Angeles, N.L., 2008
One of the greatest pitchers of his era, led the Braves to 10 straight playoff appearances. Eighth all time in wins with a 355-227 record. Tenth in career strikeouts with 3371. Led NL in ERA 4 times, and wins 3 times. 4 consecutive Cy Young Awards and 8 time All-Star. Excellent fielder who won 18 Gold Glove Awards.
Frank Edward Thomas, Jr.
Chicago, A.L., 1990–2005
Oakland, A.L., 2006
Toronto, A.L., 2007–2008
Oakland, A.L., 2008
Feared slugger with 521 career home runs (18th all time) and lifetime .301 batting average. Tenth all time in career walks. Five time All Star, earned MVP honors in 1993 and 1994. Won the AL Batting title in 1997 with a .347 average.