Yes, the MLB offseason has only begun. But many fans are already looking forward to next year. One topic that is always on every fan’s mind is the next classes for the Hall of Fame. In Cooperstown, New York, the best of America’s past time has made their residences. Like every year, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will have veterans of the ballot, as well as names entering the pool for the first time.
In this particular class, there is a chance that first ballot players could dominate the roll call. Let’s take a look at four names entering the voting pool for the year who could be immortalized as soon as 2019.
Class of 2019: 1st Ballot Hall of Fame?
1. Mariano Rivera: Right-Handed Pitcher
Fans and critics alike label Mariano Rivera as an obvious first-ballot Hall of Famer. Many of them aren’t even New York Yankees fans. Also known as “Sandman”, Rivera was a pinnacle for the Yankees’ dominance of the 90’s. Arguably the greatest closer in baseball, the 13-time All-Star holds the MLB record for most career saves and games finished. On top of that, his 2.21 ERA is the 13th lowest in baseball history.
Rivera is a five-time World Series Champion, along with the World Series MVP of 1999. He was also the last player to dawn the jersey number 42 after the league universally retired the number in honor of Jackie Robinson. When he played, once “Enter Sandman” by Metallica started playing (where he got that nickname), visiting teams knew trouble was coming.
2. Roy Halladay: Right-Handed Pitcher
The late and great Roy Halladay was a dominant ace in his 16-year career. During his time, Halladay tallied a pitching record of 203-105, along with a 3.38 ERA and 2,117 strikeouts. He also won the American League Cy Young Award as a Toronto Blue Jay in 2003 and the National League Cy Young as a part of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2010. The Toronto Blue Jays retired his jersey number 32, to honor his 12 years with the team.
The Hall of Fame, along with the rest of the baseball, will not live to see Halladay give his speech when he gets enshrined. Halladay died in a plane crash on November 8, 2017. He was 40 years old at the time of his passing.
3. Lance Berkman: Outfielder/ First Baseman
During his 15 years on the diamond, Lance Berkman was a formidable power hitter. He first burst onto the scene as a Houston Astro. There he earned himself five of his six All-Star selections. Not to mention he played a crucial role in Houston’s playoff success during the 2000s. Berkman also had brief stints with the New York Yankees, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers. While in St. Louis, Berkman got his World Series as part of the 2011 roster, as well as being named “NL Comeback Player of the Year.”
His career numbers include, 366 home runs, 1,234 RBIs, a .537 slugging percentage and a .293 batting average. Houston has not retired his jersey number no. 17 at this time.
4. Todd Helton: First Baseman
Todd Helton is well on his way to becoming the very first Colorado Rockies player in the Hall of Fame. No doubt he has the resume for a shot at immortality on first ballot. During his 17-year tenure in the majors, all with Colorado, Helton hit 360 home runs and 1,406 RBIs. He also tallied a .316 career batting average and a .539 slugging percentage. Helton started erupting around the beginning of the new millennium. In every season from 1999-2004, Helton has recorded at least 30 home runs, 95 RBIs and a .320 batting average. During that span, he also had at least a .425 on-base percentage, and a slugging percentage of .530.
He doesn’t hold a shabby amount of accolades to his name either. Helton has earned three Golden Gloves, four Silver Sluggers, and the NL Hank Aaron Award in 2000. The Colorado Rockies organization retired his jersey no. 17 in 2014.
Featured image courtesy of sbnation.com
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