Tom Emanski ought to have returned the favor. The person behind the well-known “Defensive Drills” movies ought to have executed a sequence of infomercials supporting Fred McGriff’s Corridor of Fame candidacy. I can see it now …

“I’m so impressed with the distinctive statistics from Fred McGriff that I’ve given him my full endorsement,” Emanski may have stated. “If you watched him, you knew why.”

After a montage of McGriff highlights — together with his Sport 1 dwelling run within the 1995 World Sequence for the Braves — there’s just one approach this video may have completed, with Emanski pointing emphatically on the digicam: “That is the candidacy video that will get outcomes!”

MORE: McGriff offered unsung second that helped Braves win 1995 World Sequence

However Emanski produced no such video, and in 10 years on the BBWAA poll, McGriff’s candidacy has failed to collect any actual momentum. 

When the outcomes for the category of 2019 are introduced Jan. 22, the slugger recognized affectionately because the Crime Canine will as soon as once more fall far wanting the 75 p.c threshold obligatory for induction. McGriff’s vote totals are up this yr, at 36.5 p.c in response to the invaluable tracker compiled by Ryan Thibodaux, however nonetheless nowhere close to the quantity wanted. That is his final yr on the BBWAA poll; the Corridor shortened a participant’s eligibility from 15 years to 10 years earlier than the 2015 vote.

Listed here are McGriff’s year-by-year voting totals, which have remained amazingly constant (or stagnant, relying in your perspective):

21.5 p.c (2010)
17.9 p.c (2011)
23.9 p.c (2012)
20.7 p.c (2013)
11.7 p.c (2014)
12.9 p.c (2015)
20.9 p.c (2016)
21.7 p.c (2017)
23.2 p.c (2018)

The shortage of traction is disappointing for a participant of McGriff’s caliber, little question. 

However we’ve buried the lede, people.

Fred McGriff will completely wind up in Cooperstown. Generations of followers will gaze upon his bronze plaque within the hallowed gallery and examine his 493 profession dwelling runs, his profession playoff .303 common and 10 dwelling runs in 50 postseason video games — he hit .333 with a 1.065 OPS in October 1995, main the Braves to the World Sequence title — and his 15 seasons with at the very least 20 homers. They’ll examine how his arrival in July 1993 helped Atlanta erase a 10-game deficit within the NL West and edge the Giants by a sport for the title, 104 wins to 103 wins. 

Followers will learn the story of Fred McGriff, Corridor of Famer. 

It will occur, and it received’t matter that he wasn’t elected by the BBWAA. When his resume is positioned alongside these enshrined, his numbers are deserving. It’s true, he’s not one of many 10 finest first baseman within the historical past of the sport, however the Corridor of Fame hasn’t been elite-of-the-elite for the reason that veterans committee dilution of the mid-1940s. Primarily based on what the Corridor truly is, not what some folks need it to be, McGriff belongs. 

MORE: The Braves ought to’ve received much more within the ’90s

In the event you’re a McGriff devotee, you’ll be able to go forward and make plans for a visit to Cooperstown in July 2022 (and also you would possibly must e book quickly, as a result of lodge rooms in that tiny hamlet are scarce). He’ll be eligible for that class as a part of the Right this moment’s Sport Period. That 16-person committee — made up of Corridor of Famers, baseball executives and some veteran writers — will vote in December 2021, and McGriff will probably be a no brainer selection. If latest committee votes are any indication, he would possibly even be unanimous, so long as no person’s feeling cantankerous. 

So why does somebody like McGriff, together with his stable credentials, have to attend? Why was he not elected by the BBWAA in his decade on the poll? And extra to the purpose, why did he by no means actually come shut? What the hell occurred? Let’s have a look. 

First, it’s attainable that no participant has been extra negatively affected by the crowded ballots of the previous decade than McGriff. Right here’s the reality: The BBWAA just isn’t tasked with selecting merely whether or not a participant is of Corridor of Fame caliber. Due to the foundations in place — a voter can solely verify the field subsequent to a most of 10 gamers — the voters are compelled to make poll choices, and these choices are tough.

I’ve had the glory of voting for the previous three years, and I can testify to the problem (extra on my private strategy to McGriff in a second). Can we simply vote for the 10 gamers with the very best resumes? If we imagine greater than 10 gamers on any given poll are deserving, will we strategically forged votes for the gamers who want assist greater than others? And the way do steroid-connected gamers match?  

So many components to contemplate. Anyway, again to McGriff.

His first look on the poll was as a part of the potential class of 2010. Andre Dawson was the one participant to achieve the mandatory 75 p.c of the vote that yr, however eight different gamers on that poll have been elected to the Corridor — Roberto Alomar, Barry Larkin, Bert Blyleven and Tim Raines had been voted in by the BBWAA, and Alan Trammell, Lee Smith, Jack Morris and Harold Baines had been elected by committees. Edgar Martinez, who made his debut that yr, stands an excellent probability of being elected by the BBWAA this yr. Stars of the 1980s, together with Mark McGwire, Dale Murphy, Don Mattingly and Dave Parker had been there, too. 

The poll crunch solely obtained worse a number of years later, when zero gamers within the class of 2013 reached 75 p.c, however 11 gamers acquired at the very least 33 p.c and 17 hit double-digits. McGriff was 13th on the record, at 20.7 p.c. That was the yr Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa made their poll debuts — and ramped up the PED conversations — together with Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza and Curt Schilling. 

In 2014, three first-year candidates had been elected — Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas — however the glut of worthy holdover candidates from 2013 remained. Three extra first-timers — Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz — obtained in with the category of 2015, together with Biggio on his third strive. That yr, a staggering 14 gamers acquired at the very least 24 p.c of the vote, with McGriff coming in at 12.9 p.c. 

We’ve lastly seen a little bit of a poll clearing the previous two years, with seven gamers elected — three first-timers and 4 on at the very least their second try — and that’s an enormous cause McGriff appears like he’ll end comfortably above 30 p.c for the primary time. It’s not that voters don’t assume he belongs in any respect, it’s that he’s simply not been within the high 10 on ballots that characteristic as many as 15 gamers who may ultimately wind up in Cooperstown. He’s not simply getting last-year sympathy votes this time, people. 

And now, my ideas on McGriff. 

I imagine in voter transparency. I feel it’s vastly necessary to the credibility of the method, and it’s one thing baseball followers ought to demand and count on. With all three of my ballots, I’ve written prolonged columns explaining not solely why I did vote for gamers, however why I didn’t vote for others. Here is what I wrote about McGriff this yr

A bit extra about my thought course of: I’ve voted for the utmost 10 gamers every year. I received’t all the time try this, however with the glut of nice gamers on the poll the three years I’ve had a vote, I’ve needed to not simply determine which gamers are Corridor-caliber, however prioritize how I’m going to make use of every of my 10 spots and why that participant deserves the vote. 

FLASHBACK: How one pitch would possibly’ve paved John Smoltz’s path to Cooperstown 

So how do I most successfully use every of my 10 spots? 

If gamers truly stand an opportunity of being elected that yr, I’ve voted for those I strongly imagine deserve enshrinement in Cooperstown. If I imagine a participant deserves to stay round on the poll and keep within the dialog for at the very least one other yr, I’ve voted for them (see first-year guys Johan Santana and Scott Rolen final yr). If it’s a participant whose totals are extremely scrutinized, I’ve voted for him to present an correct illustration for the extent of assist within the BBWAA (see Bonds and Clemens all three years). 

McGriff hasn’t match into any of these classes. He’s by no means been near election, so my vote wouldn’t get him over the hump. He’s by no means been near falling off the poll, so my vote wouldn’t preserve him within the dialog. And with a scarcity of any form of momentum towards election — as we’ve seen with Tim Raines, Edgar Martinez and Larry Walker — it actually didn’t seem to be a vote for McGriff was engaging in a lot. 

Right here’s my McGriff fact: I actually, really really feel that his BBWAA-era destiny was sealed earlier than I ever acquired my first poll. He acquired a decrease share the yr earlier than my first vote (20.9 p.c) than he did in his first yr on the poll (21.5 p.c). With my effort to present every of my 10 votes most impression, McGriff hasn’t made the lower, regardless that I really feel he belongs.

And right here’s the opposite factor: I’ve checked out McGriff’s numbers in comparison with gamers who’ve historically been elected by means of varied veterans-type committees through the years. McGriff has lengthy appeared destined to be a simple committee selection. In a committee, he’s not competing with the elites who occur to be on that particular poll — elite, super-duper stars equivalent to Pedro Martinez, Frank Thomas, Greg Maddux or Ken Griffey, Jr. — for certainly one of 10 votes. In a committee, he’s being in comparison with all the spectrum of Corridor of Famers, which, to be trustworthy, can typically be a a lot much less demanding bar to achieve. 

I’ve thought this for years, and the Right this moment’s Sport Period outcomes introduced in December — 10 gamers on the poll, members can vote for a most of 4 — confirmed my considering. If 12 of the 16 voters felt Harold Baines deserved a spot within the Corridor, all 16 would possibly deem McGriff worthy for induction in 2022. That’s not a knock on Baines, however extra of a affirmation of how I really feel the committee will consider McGriff. 

So let me be the primary to introduce you to Fred McGriff, member of the Corridor of Fame class of 2022. Congrats, Crime Canine. Unsure which cap you will put on, however I am certain you will look nice in bronze. 

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