The 2018 Hall of Fame Ballot has plenty of worthy contenders to join the Hall of Fame this upcoming year. 14 players return to the ballot, and 19 new players have been listed on the ballot. Today, we look at the career of outfielder Gary Sheffield.
A player who struck fear into the hearts of pitchers everywhere just with his sinister wag during his at bats, right fielder Gary Sheffield was known for his incredible bat speed and control when at the plate.
Making the Case: Gary Sheffield and the 2018 Hall of Fame Ballot
Drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the first round with the sixth overall pick of the 1986 June Amateur Draft, Sheffield would wait for two years to make his debut with the Brewers. After playing four years for the Brewers, Sheffield, along with pitcher Geoff Kellogg, was traded to the San Diego Padres on March 26th, 1992. In exchange, the Brewers acquired pitcher Ricky Bones, right fielder Matt Mieske, and shortstop Jose Valentin. After two seasons in San Diego, Sheffield, along with pitcher Rich Rodriguez, was traded once again, this time to the Florida Marlins on June 24th, 1993. In exchange, the Padres acquired pitchers Andres Berumen, Trevor Hoffman, and Jose Martinez.
Sheffield would play six years with the Marlins before being traded once again. Sheffield, along with pitcher Manuel Barrios, third baseman Bobby Bonilla, left fielder Jim Eisenreich, and catcher Charles Johnson, were traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 14th, 1998. In exchange, the Marlins acquired catcher Mike Piazza and third baseman Todd Zeile. Sheffield would play four years in Los Angeles before being traded once again. Sheffield was traded to the Atlanta Braves on January 15th, 2002. In exchange, the Dodgers acquired pitchers Andrew Brown and Odalis Perez, and right fielder Brian Jordan. After playing two years in Atlanta, Sheffield would become a free agent for the first time. During the free agency period, Sheffield would sign a three-year, $39 million contract with the New York Yankees.
After those three years with the Yankees, Sheffield would be traded again after having his option picked up. Sheffield was traded to the Detroit Tigers on November 10th, 2006. In exchange, the Yankees acquired pitchers Anthony Claggett, Humberto Sanchez, and Kevin Whelan. After two years in Detroit, Sheffield was released. On April 5th, 2009, Sheffield would sign a one-year deal worth $400,000 with the New York Mets. That season with the Mets would be his last as he would retire in 2011.
Statistics and Accomplishments
During Sheffield’s time in Florida, Sheffield hit a .228 with 122 home runs and 380 RBI. In his time with the Dodgers, Sheffield would hit a great .312 batting average with 129 home runs and 367 RBI. During his time with the Brewers, Sheffield hit a .259 batting average with 21 home runs and 133 RBI. In his time with the Yankees, Sheffield would hit a .291 batting average with 76 home runs and 269 RBI. In Atlanta, Sheffield would hit a .319 batting average with 64 home runs and 216 RBI. With the Padres, Sheffield would hit the same average with 43 home runs and 136 RBI. With Detroit, he hit a .247 batting average with 44 home runs and 132 RBI. In his career, Sheffield hit a .292 batting average with 509 home runs and 1,676 RBI. In Sheffield’s career, he was part of the 1997 World Series championship team.
He was also a nine-time All-Star from 1991-1992, as well as 1996, from 1998-2000, and from 2003-2005. Sheffield would win the Silver Slugger five times in his career, winning it in 1992, 1996, and from 2003-2005. In 1992, Sheffield would win the Major League Player of the Year as well as the NL Batting Title.
The Arguments For and Against
Sheffield’s resume is quite remarkable, which sets a great argument to get Sheffield into Cooperstown. But the argument against him is quite strong as well. Sheffield’s name was mentioned in the Mitchell Report, a summary of an investigation into steroid use in MLB.
Even with his remarkable career, Sheffield will not make it into the Hall of Fame, at least this year. The talent in this class is extremely distinguished, which makes a very competitive field, in which Sheffield will most likely not make the cut. His case is not necessarily helped with being mentioned in the Mitchell Report, and the fact that Barry Bonds, another player mentioned in the report, is on the ballot which has caused a lot of talk about the report. At some point, Sheffield will have too many credentials to be denied, but the report is too big of a scandal to gain entry.
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