1 stat to know for every HOF candidate

December 21st, 2021

There are 30 candidates on the 2022 Hall of Fame ballot. Not all 30 have a legitimate shot at induction, of course, but every single one put together some impressive career accomplishments. They wouldn’t have made it to the ballot otherwise.

With that in mind, and with less than a month remaining before the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announces the voting results on Jan. 25, here is one stat to know for each of those 30 candidates. 

Some will focus on career-long achievements, others on single-season greatness. Either way, the idea here is to get to the heart of what made each player worthy of Hall consideration, whether he is headed toward a plaque in Cooperstown or merely a one-and-done visit to the ballot.

Players are listed in alphabetical order.

Bobby Abreu: He is one of only six players all time with at least 250 home runs and 400 stolen bases, joining Craig Biggio, Barry and Bobby Bonds, Rickey Henderson and Joe Morgan.

Barry Bonds: If you split his career into halves, the first (1986-96) would rank 37th all-time among position players in Baseball-Reference WAR (83.6), just behind Ken Griffey Jr. The second (1997-2007) would rank 42nd in that group (79.1), just behind Joe DiMaggio.

Mark Buehrle: The lefty pitched 15 full seasons (2001-15) after debuting in July 2000. In each one, he made at least 30 starts, threw at least 198 2/3 innings and logged at least 10 wins, making zero trips to the injured list.

Roger Clemens: His seven Cy Young Awards are as many as any other two right-handed pitchers have combined to collect since the award was first given out in 1956.

Carl Crawford: Since 2000, he ranks second in MLB in triples (123) and fourth in stolen bases (480), with his seven 45-steal seasons ranking second only to Juan Pierre in that span.

Prince Fielder: Over an eight-year stretch (2006-13), he ranked first in the Majors in games played (1,283), second in walks (724), and fourth in homers (283) and RBIs (860).

Todd Helton: Helton is one of five hitters since 2000 to produce four seasons (2000-04) in a five-season span with at least a 160 OPS+ -- a stat that adjusts for ballpark. The others are Bonds, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols and Mike Trout.

Ryan Howard: In his 2006 NL MVP campaign, Howard racked up 58 homers and 149 RBIs. The only other players to reach both of those marks in the same season? Jimmie Foxx, Babe Ruth and Sammy Sosa.

Tim Hudson: A ground-ball artist in a homer-happy era, Hudson allowed just 0.71 homers per nine innings over his career. That is the lowest rate among 65 pitchers with at least 2,000 innings since 1995.

Torii Hunter: His nine Gold Glove Awards won as a center fielder, which came consecutively (2001-09), are the fourth most all time, behind only Griffey, Andruw Jones and Willie Mays.

Andruw Jones: In terms of Total Zone Runs, an all-time defensive metric, Jones’ 253 runs above average trail only Brooks Robinson among all players.

Jeff Kent: Not only is Kent’s 351 homers hit as a second baseman the all-time record, but he broke the previous record (held by Ryne Sandberg) by a margin of 74.

Tim Lincecum: “The Freak” is the only pitcher to win multiple Cy Young Awards within his first three MLB seasons, doing so in 2008-09.

Justin Morneau: Among Canadian-born players, Morneau is one of three to win an MVP Award (2006), one of two to be a batting champion (‘14) and the only one to capture a Home Run Derby title (‘08).

Joe Nathan: His five seasons with 35-plus saves and a sub-2.00 ERA are more than any pitcher besides Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera.

David Ortiz: Big Papi knew how to go out on top, retiring after a 2016 campaign in which he led the Majors in slugging (.620) and OPS (1.021) and set records for most doubles (48), home runs (38) and RBIs (127) in a final season.

Jonathan Papelbon: He is one of four pitchers to not allow a run in any of his first 17 career postseason appearances, having held opponents to a .339 OPS in that span of 26 innings.

Jake Peavy: When the righty won the 2007 NL Cy Young Award, he also won the NL’s Pitching Triple Crown by leading in wins (19), ERA (2.54) and strikeouts (240). Clayton Kershaw, Randy Johnson, Dwight Gooden, Steve Carlton and Sandy Koufax are the only other NL pitchers to accomplish that feat since 1940.

Andy Pettitte: No pitcher in history has more career postseason starts (44), innings (276 2/3) or wins (19) than Pettitte, who appeared in the playoffs after each of his first nine MLB seasons.

A.J. Pierzynski: Only six catchers in history have squatted behind the plate for more innings than Pierzynski (16,335 1/3), who started more than 100 games at the position 14 times.

Manny Ramirez: The only hitters to log as many plate appearances as Ramirez (9,774) and post a higher OPS (.996) are Bonds, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.

Alex Rodriguez: He ranks in the top 15 all-time for most home runs hit at two different positions -- shortstop (second, 344) and third base (287, 14th).

Scott Rolen: He never appeared at a position other than third base in his career. That includes DH. All of his 17,479 1/3 defensive innings came at the hot corner, where his 140 Total Zone runs rank sixth.

Jimmy Rollins: In Rollins’ NL MVP Award-winning 2007 campaign, he became the only player in history to have a 20-triple, 30-homer, 40-steal season.

Curt Schilling: He led his league in strikeout-to-walk ratio five times -- all in his age-34 season or later. His collective 6.5 K-to-BB ratio over that span is far and away the best in history for a pitcher with at least 700 innings at age 34-plus.

Gary Sheffield: Going back to 1955, only Bonds has recorded a 40-homer season with a better walk-to-strikeout ratio than Sheffield did in 1996 (42 homers, 142 walks, 66 strikeouts).

Sammy Sosa: His 425 total bases in 2001 is the seventh-best single-season total in history and the most by any player since Stan Musial collected 429 in 1948.

Mark Teixeira: The Georgia Tech product ranks fifth all time in both home runs (314) and RBIs (1,017) over a player’s first nine MLB seasons.

Omar Vizquel: The only player in modern AL/NL history to appear at shortstop past his 45th birthday, Vizquel logged 266 games there in his 40s. That’s almost as many as every other player at that age combined, since 1950 (292 games).

Billy Wagner: In his 13 seasons with at least 30 appearances, Wagner never posted an ERA above 2.85. His 2.31 career ERA trails only Mariano Rivera among AL/NL pitchers with 750-plus innings in the Live Ball Era, while his 0.998 WHIP ranks first in that group.