Tuesday, December 1, 2015

2016 HoF Ballot: Mark McGwire - 1987 Leaf #40 with special guest Jose Canseco

Mark McGwire appears on the Hall of Fame ballot for his 10th and Final Time this year. Due to some recent changes to the voting process McGwire will not get the opportunity to hang around for five more election cycles.

For me it doesn't matter, Cardwise the first thing I think when I hear Mark McGwire's name looks like this...

1987 Leaf #40 McGwire and Canseco

or This

1988 Fleer Superstar Special Oakland's Power Team

or This

1988 Topps #797 Athletics Leaders

And I am sure there are more - given the era I assume there are lots more. Kind of curious that in all three cards the two players appear in the same order. I thought the latter two shots may have been at the same session but Jose Canseco is wearing different arm bands in each photo.

Mark McGwire HOF Verdict:

Well if you haven't guessed from tthose three cards here it is: 

Unlike many fans the marriage of Steroids/PEDs and Baseball have made my life less difficult rather than more complicated. First off I don't get excited over HoF results, I think they are fun to follow and generate interesting conversations. Secondly it allows me to be arbitrary for no real good reason as to whom I put into the Phungo Hall.

And you know what - I dislike Mark McGwire. Having steroids out there lingering is a nice bonus to justify a NO Vote on my HoF ballot.

Beyond that I think of McGwire as a marginal HoF candidate. He is probably just over the line stat-wise.

Despite his 583 Home Runs among the 19 HOF first baseman McGwire ranks just a tick below the groups average in WAR scores for all three JAWS categories (WAR, WAR7 and JAWS).

Primarily known as an offensive threat at a power position McGwire never won an MVP award. He did finish 2nd to fellow PED suspect Sammy Sosa in 1998 despite having a higher WAR than the Cubs outfielder - Both Sosa and McGwire ranked behind Barry Bonds in 1998 WAR, However McGwire led the league in oWAR.

McGwire did check the Rookie of the Year box and won a pennant with the 1989 A's and was an all-star a dozen times.

We take a look at the reverse of each of the cards
1987 Leaf #40 McGwire and Canseco (b-side)

The text discusses the Rookie of the Year torch passing from Canseco to McGwire. Nice to see Sal Bando get a mention with all the thunder including Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson

1988 Fleer Superstar Special Oakland's Power Team (b-side)

Fleer mention of McGwire's incredible 49 Home Run rookie campaign gives them a nice opportunity to give a nod to Hall of Famer Frank Robinson.

1988 Topps #797 Athletics Leaders (b-side)

As a stat nerd I find the topps Team Leader card the most interesting. Some great names there beyond McGwire and Canseco. The Hall of Famer appearing here is Dennis Eckersley. Fellow pitcher Dave Stewart is just starting his great stretch as the A's ace. Stewarts 261+ innings ranked 8th in the majors in 1987, That would have led all of MLB every season since 2003 (Roy Halladay 266). The NL has not seen a pitcher eclipse that mark this century - Randy Johnson 271.2 in 1999.

Sources and Links
2016 Phungo HoF Ballot
Baseball Hall of Fame

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