I really enjoyed watching Fred “The Crime Dog” McGriff. Fred was a very good baseball player for a long time. I think he does deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
Fred was an Atlanta Brave from 1993-1997. McGriff hit a home run in his first game with the Braves, who acquired him to replace the struggling Sid Bream in at first and provide an offensive spark, and was a key player in the Braves’ 51-19 finish to overtake the San Francisco Giants and claim first place in the National League West for a third consecutive season. He finished with a career high 37 homers and fourth place in the NL MVP voting. In the strike-shortened 1994 season, McGriff was batting .318 and had 34 home runs when play ended in August 1994. He won the All-Star Game MVP Award that year after hitting the game-tying home run for the National League, after the NL trailed 7–5 in the bottom of the ninth inning. McGriff was runner-up to Ken Griffey Jr. in the 1994 Home Run Derby.
Fred remained with the Braves in 1995 and continued to be a successful cleanup hitter. He hit two home runs in the 1995 World Series en route to his only World Series championship ring. Fred hit .295/.365/.494 with a career-best 107 RBIs on his way to another World Series appearance in 1996. With 22 home runs in 1997, McGriff appeared to be in decline. He was called out on strikes by umpire Eric Gregg on a pitch 3 feet outside thrown by Liván Hernández during the 1997 NLCS, which was the last significant event for McGriff as a Brave. The team allowed him to be picked up by the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays after the season.
He made 5 All-Star teams while winning 3 Silver Sluggers, 2 league home run titles (one in each league…the first to pull off that feat), and won a World Series ring. His career WAR of 52.4, while not earth-shattering by any means, is as good or better than 62 players CURRENTLY in the Hall, including Lou Brock, Sandy Koufax, Kirby Puckett, Ralph Kiner, Jim Rice, and Phil Rizzuto.
Not that long ago, his 493 home runs as well as his long and consistent career would have essentially guaranteed that he would have at the very least gotten strong consideration for enshrinement even if there are reasons he isn’t a lock.
My my, how times have changed. It is hard to figure out the Hall of Fame voting some days. OK, it is hard to figure it out on many days.
When the voting results were announced in 2015, McGriff, despite being a worthy candidate on paper, only appeared on 20.9% of ballots in his 7th year of eligibility. While a decent jump from the previous year’s 12.9%, much of that can be attributed to decreased number of voters this year due a recent purge of the voting members’ ranks. The end result is that while its not outside the realm of possibility he gets close to induction, its a long shot. The relative snubbing hasn’t gone unnoticed.