Roberto Alomar entered the Hall of Fame with a Jays cap on his head—but when will another Toronto Blue Jay crack Cooperstown?
Last weekend Robbie Alomar became the first-ever player to enter the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame as a Toronto Blue Jay. Despite playing for a number of teams during his 16 years as a professional baseball player, his five seasons in Toronto defined his career: the Jays’ beloved second-basemen earned five straight Gold Gloves and two World Series rings and was named the 1992 ALCS MVP (not to mention throwing down a master performance in this McCain Punch classic). While we’re excited to see Alomar in the Hall—alongside wunderkind general manager Pat Gillick, who was also formally inducted on Sunday—in a Jays cap, we know the wait for the next former Blue Jay to crack Cooperstown is likely to be long. Sure, Roger Clemons, Frank Thomas and manager Bobby Cox are all virtual lock-ins, but none spent significant time in Toronto and all achieved the bulk of their success elsewhere. And, frankly, the Hall of Fame’s unnecessarily complicated voting system isn’t helping matters. We did a little research, and the truth is the chances of another Jay breathing the Hall’s rarified air are about as slim as the chances of Rob Ford riding a two-wheeled vehicle down Jarvis Street. All the same, we decided to break down the best Blue Jays candidates into three tidy groups after the jump.
Group 1: Seriously? How is this guy (read: Dave Stieb) not in the Hall?!
Tom Henke, Dave Stewart, Joe Carter and Stieb. All four received less than the requisite five per cent of ballots the first time around and none has appeared on a ballot again in at least seven years. The absence of the first three is somewhat defensible (although isn’t cherishing guys who do this the whole point of having a hall?). But Stieb, who received a paltry 1.4 per cent of votes in 2004 (his only year on the ballot), was one of the best pitchers of the ’80s and holds the unofficial record for most complete game one-hitters, which has to count for something, right?
Group 2: The long shots
Fred McGriff and Carlos Delgado. It wouldn’t surprise us to see either of these guys make it one day (and with a nickname like the “Crime Dog,” really, it’s only a matter of time), but McGriff received only 7.4 per cent of the vote this year (down from 20 per cent in his first eligible year) and Delgado will have to overcome the stigma of starring for a perennial loser during his prime.
Group 3: The best bets (assuming you’re willing to wait…a while)
Cito Gaston and Roy Halladay. Managers notoriously take forever to get into Cooperstown, so let’s move on to Halladay. With three 20-win seasons, two Cy Young awards and the respect of the baseball media, Halladay will certainly be enshrined in Cooperstown someday. The only question is: if the Phillies win a World Series with Doc on the mound, whose hat will he wear?