With the 2014 All-Star game coming up this next week, there will be a number of players selected (most in fact) that should be considered possible locks for Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame after they finish their careers. It will be a pleasure as always to watch them play.
Trying to select ten current Major League Baseball players that I think are Hall of Fame locks is difficult at best, as there’s probably only five or so that I actually think are locks. I’m trying to stretch my imagination though, and as you know such lists are always pure conjecture. All we can do is look at their current and past level of play (and other factors), and make an educated guess.
The truth is there’s really no such thing as a lock when it comes to the MLB Hall of Fame, as players such as Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens can attest, and likely Alex Rodriguez may well attest himself in time. According to a report by MLB Trade Rumors, Alex Rodriguez still plans on playing in 2015, but with the controversy surrounding him recently, if you think he’s a lock you might want to think again!
The so-called Steroid Era in baseball has thrown quite the wrench into the gears of figuring out who could be Cooperstown bound, and these personal and professional issues are certainly not limited to steroids, but stretch to numerous ethical and moral issues such as gambling (Pete Rose) and drug use (Dwight Gooden). In short, no matter how good a player is or was, personal and professional mistakes or bad choices factor in, and the HOF is rarely very forgiving!
According to the BBWAA website, the morals, character, and integrity of any player is certainly a big part of whether or not they get in, but arguments over how vague those notions can be, or how they can be interpreted differently from voter to voter, will always be a part of the debate. The BBWAA website, under the section on Method of Election, very specifically says…
Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.
Those notions of what character means, or even integrity, certainly make picking any current player as a lock impossible or at least difficult, and becomes simply a fun exercise in speculation. We’ve all seen players caught using steroids, and even lying about it, and sometimes they are players we never dreamed would dabble in such issues of character and integrity!
So, can anyone really be a lock who is a current player? Sure, we can take players already retired, judge their play and know their history, and judging locks there becomes much easier. With current players however, it’s not so easy a call to make. I’m going to try though, and hope you’ll share with me your thoughts on players you think might be a lock as well.
Note that this list is not necessarily in order of most worthy to be a lock, but I’ve tried to order or rank them according to my own gut feelings about their hall worthiness. Read on…