Gary Sheffield officially hung them up on Thursday after a 22 season career. My initial reaction, after a cursory glance at his stats, was that he is Hall of Fame worthy.
See? I guess now would be a good time to show my work even though I might not agree with my original thesis anymore. The stats are there. The 509 home runs are good for 24th all time. His .292/.393/.514 line is solid. While he never won an MVP, he did have three top five finishes and six top 10s. According to Baseball-Reference, similar batters to him include Mel Ott, Reggie Jackson and Mickey Mantle.
But then, against the advice of my therapist, I went digging through some Wins Above Replacement data. Sheffield finished with a 65.8 WAR which is right in that 60-70 HOF bubble. Larry Walker finished with a 72.2 WAR and received 20.3% of the 2011 Hall of Fame voting. So we might not want to start betting on which hat Sheff will be enshrined in just yet.
Sheffield won't even have the highest WAR of first time eligible outfielders in five years. Jim Edmonds also just retired after not being healthy enough to try one last run with the Cardinals. I already wrote about Edmonds' HOF candidacy and I was leaning toward imaginary voting yes. So I guess I'm leaning yes on Sheffield too. His case just isn't as slam dunk as I initially thought. I mean, look at the WAR Graph people.
Of course, if Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell aren't in by then, the whole system is broken anyway.
My first draft of this post was longer and nerdier. But I accidentally erased that one and lost interest in writing it again. Deal with it.