Mike Schmidt is the best third baseman to ever play the game of baseball. That does not make him qualified, however, to judge talent, it seems:
“Michael Young could retire tomorrow, and he would be a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame. He’s probably two Michael Young years away from being a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”
To be fair, I’m not sure if Schmidt is saying “he deserves to be a strong candidate” or “because Young is inexplicably thought of as being better than he is, he will be a strong candidate whether or not he is truly deserving.” If the latter, it’s pretty astute, because I think that Young will get a fair amount of Hall of Fame support. At least enough to last on the ballot for a few years. Unlike, say, Lou Whitaker, who is a better Hall of Fame candidate on the merits than Young is.
Beyond all of that, I don’t think Schmidt saying that Young is a Hall of Fame candidate is as silly as his comparing him to Derek Jeter:
“… he’s a little like Derek Jeter. Is he not? If he played in New York, imagine what people would be saying about Michael Young’s career. Somebody would have mentioned the Hall of Fame a long time ago.”
Maybe Young would have benefited from playing in New York, but Jeter would have been a Hall of Famer if he had played for the East Nowhere Blue Sox. I know people in Texas like to think of Young as “the Rangers Derek Jeter,” but that has never washed for me. Maybe there’s a core of truth to it regarding some perception of his intangibles or what have you, but Jeter is so clearly the superior player the comparison seems to obscure far more than it illuminates.