ATLANTA -- Andruw Jones will remain on the Hall of Fame ballot for at least one more year. But the lack of support he has drawn over the past two years proves most of the voters do not share the opinion Willie Mays once offered Terry Pendleton."I was in the
ATLANTA -- Andruw Jones will remain on the Hall of Fame ballot for at least one more year. But the lack of support he has drawn over the past two years proves most of the voters do not share the opinion Willie Mays once offered Terry Pendleton.
"I was in the ballpark standing next to Andruw Jones talking to Willie Mays and Willie Mays said, 'Kid, you might be the best center fielder I've ever seen play,' " Pendleton said. "Is that not saying something?"
Though he won 10 consecutive Gold Glove Awards and drew comparisons to Mays in the process, Jones received a vote on just 7.5 percent of the Hall of Fame ballots cast this year. His total was comparable to the 7.3 percent received during his only previous year of eligibility. A player needs to be included on at least 5 percent of the ballots to remain eligible through this process.
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Fred McGriff's frustrating candidacy ended Tuesday, when he received just 39.8 percent of the votes during what was his 10th and final year on the ballot. The former Braves first baseman had never previously received more than 23.9 percent of the votes. A player needs to be included on 75 percent of the ballots to be inducted.
Other former Braves who fell short on this year's ballot included Billy Wagner, who received 16.7 of the votes, and Gary Sheffield, who was on 13.6 percent of the ballots. Both received 11.1 percent of the votes in 2018.
Before his production rapidly declined upon turning 30, Jones produced MLB's third-best WAR from 1998-2007. The two players who ranked ahead of him within this span were Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez. The man ranked immediately behind him was his longtime Braves teammate Chipper Jones, who gained a first-ballot Hall of Fame induction last year. Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente, Al Kaline, Ken Griffey Jr. and Mays stand with Ichiro Suzuki as the only other outfielders to win as many Gold Glove Awards as Jones. Had Statcast™ been around to compare each of these elite defenders, there's a good chance Jones would have received more love during these first two years on the ballot.
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McGriff finished his 19-season career with a .284 batting average, .377 on-base percentage, .509 slugging percentage and 493 home runs. The five-time All-Star would have likely reached the 500-homer plateau had portions of the 1994 and '95 seasons not been erased by a work stoppage.
While the homer total stands as a significant variable within this evaluation, it's still noteworthy that McGriff is just one of 16 players to hit .280 with a .375 OBP, .500 SLG and at least 490 home runs. The 15 others on this list are Mays, Frank Robinson, Rodriguez, Mel Ott, Sheffield, Babe Ruth, Jose Pujols, David Ortiz, Mickey Mantle, Frank Thomas, Jimmy Foxx, Manny Ramirez, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig and Bonds.
Sheffield also stands as one of 19 players to ever 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 Rodriguez, Pujols, Mark McGwire, Ramirez and 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.
From 1995 (rookie seasons for Wagner and Mariano Rivera) through 2010 (Wagner's final season), Rivera led all relievers with 34.9 fWAR (Fangraphs' WAR Model). Wagner ranked second with 24.1 and Trevor Hoffman ranked third with 24.0.
Hoffman was elected to the Hall of Fame last year, and on Tuesday Rivera became the first player to ever be elected unanimously.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.