Making a case for every player on baseball Hall of Fame ballot

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Let’s play blind shooting! I will show you the career numbers of three players and you will tell me which one you feel deserves the most Hall of Fame recognition. Each of these players has spent the majority of their careers playing second base, and each of them is either considered in the Hall of Fame or is already in the Hall of Fame. I will also provide their best five year periods. Hopefully, providing both their career numbers and their best five years will offer a better understanding of each player’s consistency and peak. That said, here are the players.

Player A:

Career: .285 / .344 / .452; .795 OP; 114 OP +; 282 home runs; 761 XBH; ratio 1.66 K: BB; 344 SB; 57 races in the field saved above the average at 2B

5 year peak: .300 / .364 / .497; .862 OPS; 135 OP +; 131 home runs; 288 XBH; ratio 1.31 K: BB; 88 SB; 12 races on the field above average at 2B

Player B:

Career: .290 / .356 / .500; .856 OP; 123 OP +; 377 home runs; 984 XBH; 1.9 K: BB ratio; 94 SB; 0 Field runs saved above average at 2B

5 year peak: .307 / .378 / .548; .926 OP; 142 OP +; 146 home runs; 375 XBH; ratio 1.66 K: BB; 46 SB; 4 runs in the field saved above the average at 2B

Player C:

Career: .275 / .358 / .465; .823 OPS; 117 OP +; 259 home runs; 728 XBH; ratio 1.65 K: BB; 154 SB; 5 races in the field saved above the average at 2B

5 year peak: .301 / .388 / .535; .922 OP; 135 OP +; 146 home runs; 265 XBH; ratio 1.58 K: BB; 77 SB; 46 races in the field saved above the average at 2B

Who would you choose? Player A was the most consistent in defense. He was a major base thief and his five-year peak isn’t too far off his career numbers. Player B is clearly the best in attack. He has the best offensive numbers in almost every category for his career and five-year peak, but he was only average as a second base defender. Player C arguably had the best peak, even though the offensive numbers weren’t as good as Player B’s. Player C was much better defensive at his peak than Player A or B.

So who am I?

Player A is Ryne Sandberg: 1984 NL MVP, seven-time Silver Slugger, 10-time All-Star, nine-time Gold Glove winner, 2005 Hall of Fame member

Player B is Jeff Kent: 2000 NL MVP, four-time Silver Slugger, five-time All-Star, received 32.4% of the votes in the 2021 Hall of Fame ballot

Player C is Chase Utley: 2008 World Series Champion, four-time Silver Slugger, six-time All-Star, will likely enter Hall of Fame when eligible

Sure, he’s never been as good on defense as his contemporaries, but Kent is arguably the greatest second-baseman of all time. D.uring an era when the use of PED was rampant in Major League Baseball, Kent was one of the most outspoken critics of steroid players. There is practically nothing against this guy.

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