First-timer Furcal among Braves on HOF ballot

November 18th, 2019

ATLANTA -- As Andruw Jones again hopes to extend his Hall of Fame candidacy, Rafael Furcal, his good friend and former Braves teammate, finds himself on the ballot for the first time.

Jones, Furcal, Gary Sheffield and Billy Wagner stand as the most notable former Braves on the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot, which was released Monday. Each built a strong resume throughout his respective career. The balloting results are scheduled to be announced Jan. 22, live on MLB Network.

Here is a look at the candidacy for each of these former Braves:

Jones batted .254 with 434 home runs and a .823 OPS over a 17-season career that included winning 10 National League Gold Glove Awards, appearing in five All-Star Games and capturing the NL Hank Aaron Award in 2005, when he also finished second to Albert Pujols in balloting for the NL Most Valuable Player Award. The only players to win as many as 10 Gold Glove Awards are Ichiro Suzuki and four Hall of Famers -- Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Al Kaline and Ken Griffey Jr.

The former Braves center fielder had an uneven career, characterized by an early rise to stardom and a steep decline in his last few seasons. Jones produced MLB's third-best WAR, according to FanGraphs, from 1998-2007. The two men who ranked ahead of him within this span were Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez. Immediately behind him? Chipper Jones, his longtime Braves teammate, who was also a first-ballot Hall of Fame electee last year.

Jones received 7.3 percent of the votes when he first made the ballot two years ago. He garnered 7.5 percent last year. A candidate needs to gain at least five percent of the votes to remain on the ballot.

The energetic and fleet-footed former shortstop hit .284 with 189 stolen bases and a .756 OPS while spending his first six big league seasons (2000-05) with the Braves. He joined the Dodgers for the '06 season, and then he finished his career with the Cardinals ('11-12) and Marlins (nine games in '14).

Furcal burst onto the scene when he stole 40 bases en route to winning the 2000 NL Rookie of the Year Award. He hit a career-high 15 homers in 2003, when he gained the first of his three NL All-Star team selections. He retired with a 96 OPS+ and 314 steals, which ranks 155th on the all-time list.


From 1995 -- the rookie season for Wagner and the first unanimous Hall of Famer, Mariano Rivera, elected this year -- through 2010, Wagner’s final season, Rivera led all relievers with 34.9 WAR, according to FanGraphs. Wagner ranked second with 24.1, and Trevor Hoffman -- elected to the Hall in '18 -- ranked third with 24.0.

Wagner did not receive more than 11.1 percent of the votes during any of his first three years on the ballot, but that total jumped to 16.7 percent last year.

Sheffield stands as one of 19 players to produce at least 500 homers and a .900 career OPS. The only other members of this group not yet elected to the Hall of Fame are Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols, Mark McGwire, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz.

Pujols is still active, and Ortiz is not yet eligible to be placed on the ballot. Rodriguez, McGwire, Ramirez and Sheffield were all linked to prohibited performance-enhancing drugs during their respective careers.

Sheffield, who played in Atlanta from 2002-03, has not received more than 13.6 percent of the votes during any of his first five seasons of eligibility.