Assembling the Perfect Hall of Famer from the Top 2013 MLB Candidates
What would make up the "perfect" Baseball Hall of Fame player?
Someone like Barry Bonds will be a Hall of Famer because of his tremendous power. Roger Clemens will be induced into Cooperstown because he won so many games and struck out so many batters.
The "perfect" Hall of Famer would presumably also hit for contact and have great speed. Good defensive skills would help as well, but Hall of Famers likely achieved that status because they played defense well enough to sustain a long career in baseball.
Of the players eligible for the 2013 Hall of Fame class, several of them have aspects that would constitute the "perfect player." But which traits would make for the best features in such a bionic, Frankenstein-type of creation?
Here is how we'd put the "perfect" Hall of Famer together, based on the players currently on the ballot.
Barry Bonds' Power
This is a no-brainer, right?
Any "perfect" Hall of Famer would have to include the power of the hitter who's hit 762 home runs, the most in MLB history.
The detractors might say Bonds truly became a slugger after he began taking steroids. The book Game of Shadows reports that Bonds did so after the 1998 season.
In the 13 seasons prior to that, however, Bonds hit 40 homers three times and collected 411 home runs altogether. Lightning-quick bat speed, an outstanding batting eye and, of course, sheer strength enabled him to achieve those numbers.
Roger Clemens' Right Arm
The "perfect" Hall of Famer might as well be an all-time great hitter and pitcher. For that, he'd need the right arm of perhaps the best right-hander in baseball history.
Roger Clemens' arm led him to 354 wins, ranking him ninth on MLB's all-time list. His 4,673 strikeouts are the third-highest total in the sport.
Obviously, plenty of other factors contributed to Clemens' success. He had a fanatical attention to conditioning and a fierce competitive instinct. It also didn't hurt that he played for some excellent teams with the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees and Houston Astros.
But it all starts with that right arm.
Craig Biggio's Contact
Of the 37 players on the 2013 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot, Craig Biggio has the most hits with 3,060.
Our "perfect" Hall of Famer isn't just going to launch balls into the seats. He also has to get plenty of hits. For that, he has to make contact.
Maybe the last four or five of Biggio's 20 MLB seasons were an attempt to stretch his career around to reach that 3,000-hit milestone. But Biggio did get there, and if he absolutely couldn't still play, he wouldn't have been on the field.
Biggio wasn't just a slap hitter either. He had extra-base power. His 668 doubles rank fifth in MLB history.
Mike Piazza's Opposite-Field Power
We already have the home run thing covered for our "perfect" Hall of Famer with Barry Bonds' power. Including Mike Piazza's ability to crank balls to the opposite field might therefore be redundant.
But no hitter in recent memory could take a pitch on the outside part of the plate and hit it with authority to right field like Mike Piazza.
Among current MLB players, maybe Miguel Cabrera rivals that ability.
According to Baseball-Reference, 81 of his 427 home runs went to the opposite field. That accounts for 19 percent of his homers, which is a pretty good chunk of his career total.
Tim Raines' Speed
Our "perfect" Hall of Famer needs some speed as well.
He can't just crank the ball out of the park and spray hits all over the field. Once he's on base, he needs to take the opposing pitcher and catcher out of their game by making them think about him running on the basepaths.
Tim Raines ranks fifth in MLB history with 808 stolen bases.
Even more impressive is that he was only caught stealing 146 times. That accounts for an 85 percent success rate. If Raines decided to steal second base, he was rarely stopped.
Curt Schilling's Sock
If Curt Schilling is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, it won't be because he pitched in the 2004 ALCS on an ankle injured enough to soak his right sock with blood.
The bleeding resulted from Schilling tearing the sutures used to stabilize the tendons in his right ankle.
It was a signature moment for Schilling, one that showed his toughness, desire to win and willingness to give his team its best chance to win.
Maybe a "perfect" Hall of Famer doesn't need a signature moment. His career would ideally speak for itself. But one moment or image that everyone can remember certainly doesn't hurt when it comes to remembering a player.
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