It’s that time again – the Hall of Fame ballot has been released. Fans and writers are already debating the worthiness of holdovers Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines, newcomers Ivan Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero, and the usual arguments over Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.
But also on the ballot are a squadron of new names; many of which you’ve never heard of and will probably never hear again. But they have met the minimum requirements for nomination, and might get a vote or two from a friend. And when you’ve been in the Major Leagues for ten years (the required minimum for consideration), it’s kind of hard NOT to pick up a little fame along the way.
So let’s pause and tip our hats to these likely “one and done” candidates, because I’m sure we’d all wish we could at least get as close to Fame as they have.
Casey Blake – Primarily a third baseman, he played for the Indians and Dodgers, helping the latter to the playoffs for three straight years (2007-09). In 2009, he hit .280 and set a team record for fielding percentage by a third baseman
Pat Burrell – Left fielder with the Phillies, he got series-winning hits in the NLDS and NLCS for them in 2008, and got the hit that led to what turned out to be the winning run in the clincher in that year’s World Series. As a reward for that, he got to lead off their victory parade. Earned a couple of MVP votes in 2005 and 2008. Had eight straight years with 20 or more home runs.
Orlando Cabrera – Shortstop. In the middle of his eighth season with the Montreal Expos, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox – just in time to be a part of their 2004 pennant and WS championship. After that, he bounced around from team to team, but in five of those six years, his teams made the playoffs. Won Gold Gloves in 2001 and 2007.
Mike Cameron – A well-traveled centerfielder, he played for 8 teams in 17 years. Won three Gold Gloves, and earned an All-Star spot with the Mariners in 2001.
J.D. Drew – A right fielder who was part of wining Cardinals teams in the early 2000’s and the Red Sox in the late 2000’s. An All-Star in 2008, he won the game’s MVP Award thanks to a game-tying two-run homerun off Edinson Volquez in the 7th.
Carlos Guillen – A shortstop who appeared in three All-Star Games (’04, ’07, and ’08), he made it to the World Series with the Tigers in 2006, where he hit .353 in a losing cause.
Derek Lee – Twice an All-Star first baseman, he won the NL batting title in 2005, and was part of the Marlins’ World Championship team in 2003. Earned three Gold Gloves in his fifteen-year career.
Melvin Mora – Utility man (3B, OF, SS) who was twice named the AL Player of the Month (May ’04 and August ’08). Named to two All-Star teams, and with the Mets in 1999, he scored the winning run in the last game of the season, which forced a one-game playoff with the Reds.
Magglio Ordonez – Right fielder who was named to six All-Star teams, he won the AL batting title and came in second in the MVP voting in 2007. Owner of a lifetime .309 batting average over a fifteen-year career.
Edgar Renteria – Over his sixteen-year career, was named to five All-Star teams. Got the game winning single to give the Marlins their first World Series title in 1997, and was the WS MVP with the Giants in 2010 thanks to a .412 batting average and two game-winning home runs in the five game series.
Arthur Rhodes – Relief pitcher, he made the All-Star team in 2010. In 2011, he played for Texas for most of the season before being traded to St. Louis in early August. When those two teams met in the World Series that year, he’d have earned a championship ring no matter which team won – he got it with the Cardinals.
Freddy Sanchez – A lifetime .297 batting average, this second baseman made three All-Star teams and won the NL batting title in 2006. Part of the Giants championship team in 2010.
Matt Stairs – Played the outfield and first base for 12 teams in 19 years. Part of the Phillies’ championship team in 2008. Holds the record for most pinch-hit home runs in a career with 23.