The Dodgers have a policy of only retiring the numbers of Hall of Famers. And, in case you missed it, following the results of last Sunday’s vote from the veterans committee for the Hall of Fame, L.A. has a new name to consider when it comes to number retirement.
Fred McGriff has been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Contemporary Era committee. Among those who did not receive the necessary 12 votes from the 16-person committee: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro and Don Mattingly.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 5, 2022
We’re joking, of course, about the number retirement. McGriff spent one season in Los Angeles, signing as a free agent before the 2003 season, and he hit 13 of his 493 career homers in Dodger blue. While he definitely won’t be wearing a Dodgers hat on his Hall of Fame plaque, the question of which hat he will be wearing is interesting. “Crime Dog” played five seasons each with Toronto and Atlanta, and while he played better for the Blue Jays — 19.4 WAR and 153 OPS+ with Toronto, 11.1 and 128 with Atlanta — he was very good with the Braves, too, and made three All-Star teams, won a World Series, and played 90% of his postseason games with Atlanta.
Regardless of which hat he wears on his plaque, this is exciting for McGriff. If not for the strike of 1994-95, McGriff would have topped 500 homers in his career and probably been elected by the BBWAA years ago. Instead, he finished at 493 and dropped off the ballot after ten years in which he topped out at 39.8% of the vote.
The veterans committee saw things quite differently, as Crime Dog received 100% of the votes from the 16-person committee. McGriff has always been held up as a “clean” alternative to the PED users of his era, and with his election on the same ballot in which Barry Bonds got basically no support, the voters made a clear statement.
Those committees don’t always get things right, but Fred McGriff is a deserving Hall of Famer. Just don’t expect his number 28 to go up on the wall at Dodger Stadium any time soon.
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