I know I’m just about the only one who gets upset about these things. And, yeah, there probably are better uses of my time. But how could anyone look at these two infielders and decide that the second is the one worthy of a spot on the Hall of Fame ballot?
Player A: .284/.357/.425, 146 HR, 744 RBI, 53 SB in 5,385 AB
Player B: .273/.317/.356, 36 HR, 368 RBI, 363 SB in 4,963 AB
Player A is Edgardo Alfonzo, who turned in a four-year run as one of the NL’s top players in the late-90s.
Player B is Tony Womack, who had one legitimately good season in a career spent mostly dragging his teams down.
Now, Alfonzo is obviously no Hall of Famer. However, through age 28, it looked like he had a chance. He hit .292/.367/.445 with 120 homers and 538 RBI in his first eight seasons with the Mets, good for a 113 OPS+. Ryne Sandberg hit .284/.339/.430 with 109 homers and 473 RBI through age 28, giving him a 108 OPS+.
Unfortunately, Alfonzo had very little to contribute after that. Upon arriving in San Francisco at age 29, he was an average regular for two seasons. He then turned in an awful year at age 31 and was done at 32, though he did try comebacks afterwards.
But Alfonzo deserves his spot on the Hall of Fame ballot. He was a regular for just as long as Womack was and obviously a much better player. The difference between Alfonzo’s career OPS and Womack’s is the same as the difference between Willie McCovey’s (or Adrian Gonzalez’s) and Alfonzo’s. Alfonzo is also obviously more worthy than other newcomers Eric Young, Terry Mulholland, Phil Nevin and Jeromy Burnitz. Someone really blew it by not getting him his place.