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The Hall of Fame Case: Pat Burrell

CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 24: Pat Burrell of the Philadelphia Phillies poses during Photo Day on February 24, 2007 at Brighthouse Networks Field in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) (Al Bello/Getty Images)

The likes of Jeff Bagwell and Tim Raines -- and even first-timers like Vladimir Guerrero or Pudge Rodriguez -- shouldn't have too much trouble racking up National Baseball Hall of Fame votes. But there are plenty of other players on the 2017 ballot who require a little more voter-cajoling. Players that may not have the on-field resume, but deserve an impassioned Hall of Fame case nonetheless. Players like …
Patrick Brian Burrell. Or, as the cool kids call him, Pat the Bat. OK, so his nickname isn't the most creative or inventive, but Burrell still had an impressive 12-year career worthy of reflection now that he finds himself on the Baseball Writers' Association of America Hall of Fame ballot. Here are just a few of the countless reasons to send Pat the Bat to Cooperstown:
He was drafted No. 1 overall and then led his team to a World Series title
Being taken first overall in the MLB Draft is a tremendous honor, but one that is accompanied by sky-high expectations. In the most fundamental way, Burrell is one of the very few to ever fulfill those expectations. In 1998, the Phillies drafted him first overall, no doubt with hopes of seeing him one day lead a championship parade down Broad Street. Ten years later, he made those dreams come true as the starting left fielder for the 2008 World Series champion Phillies.

Since the advent of the MLB Draft in 1965, only five No. 1 overall Draft picks have brought home a World Series trophy for the team which drafted them: Burrell (PHI, drafted '98, title '08), Luke Hochevar (KC, drafted '06, title '15), Darin Erstad (LAA, drafted '95, title '02), Chipper Jones (ATL, drafted '90, title '95) and Darryl Strawberry (NYM, drafted '80, title '86).
He was a World Series hero
In 2008, Burrell's postseason heroics were mostly confined to the early rounds, including a two-homer effort in series-clinching Game 4 of the NLDS against the Brewers. In the World Series, he was held to just one hit, but that hit just so happened to be one of the biggest hits of the series.
The Phillies held a three games to one lead over the Rays heading into Game 5 of the series, but found themselves locked in a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the seventh. Burrell stepped to the plate to lead off the inning and delivered in a big way:

He nearly gave the Phillies the lead all on his own, but the ball struck mere inches below the top of the wall and, instead, Burrell found himself on second base with a leadoff double. He was lifted for a pinch-runner, Eric Bruntlett, who ultimately came around to score the decisive run as the Phillies held on to win the game, 4-3, and clinch their first championship in 28 years.
Burrell became a free agent that offseason, making that World Series-winning double the last hit of his illustrious Phillies career. Two years later, he wound up securing another World Series ring as a member of the 2010 Giants.
He introduced the baseball world to Elvis Burrell
There are a lot of good baseball dogs in the world, but none better than the late, great Elvis. He accompanied his human friend Pat to the World Series parade in 2008 and forever endeared himself to Phillies fans.

He beat the best
Throughout his career, Burrell faced five pitchers who have since gone on to make the Hall of Fame -- Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz -- and he homered off all five of them.
Here he is taking Pedro deep:

And, for good measure, here he is taking (probable) future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw deep when Kershaw was a rookie:

The guy can take on a slip 'n slide without spilling a drop
I mean, seriously, that is a Hall of Fame talent if ever I've seen one:

He's already a Phillies Wall of Famer
Unsurprisingly, the Phillies have already honored their former No. 1 overall pick and World Series champion with a plaque on their Wall of Fame. Of his 292 career homers, 251 came in a Phillies uniform, which is good for fourth in Phillies franchise history behind only Mike Schmidt, Ryan Howard and Del Ennis.
He was a key member of a team that has its share of cool on-the-field moments, like the time he went back-to-back-to-back with teammates Chase Utley and Howard:

Pat the Bat is a legend whether he gets a Cooperstown plaque or not, so they might as well put him in the Hall.