Seems like everyone is writing Hall of Fame articles today. You’ll have that when the biggest news out there involves backup catchers. Anyway, here’s MLB.com’s Marty Noble, first on his Hall of Fame criteria:
When putting check marks on the ballot, the rule–to me–is to be as
selective as Ted Williams with a 3-1 count. The term “borderline Hall
of Famer” ought to be regarded as an oxymoron. A step on the Hall of
Fame borderline is not akin to a bloop that raises chalk. If a player
falls on the line, he doesn’t get my vote.
Then, with that in mind, he goes on to advocate in favor of Keith Hernandez’s Hall of Fame case, using all kinds of arguments that borderline players always get. He was feared! No one wanted to face him with the game on the line! He was jobbed out of an MVP award! See how great he was in these [cherry picked] situations! It’s a stretch of an argument for a borderline candidate.
Hernandez was a nice player — for a long while he was the second best first basemen in baseball behind Eddie Murray — but the beginning and ending of his Hall of Fame argument really is his glove. Which was a fine, fine glove, but I’m not at all convinced that a glove-heavy (relatively) bat-light first baseman is a Hall of Famer. Especially when you measure it against his potential (how much of it was wasted due to cocaine?) and the fact that he ceased being a productive player when he was 34.
He’s in the Steve Garvey/Don Mattingly class in my mind. Close, but no cigar.