Chicago Cubs: Hall of Fame eligibility goes as fast as it came
The Chicago Cubs had three players on this year’s ballot, although most probably didn’t realize two of them were on it. And for the other? Another year of sweating it out as he got his 5% to remain on the ballot.
When you retire from Major League Baseball, all you can do is hope you did enough to make an impression on the Hall of Fame voters. For the Chicago Cubs on this year’s ballot, one of them did more than enough to leave a mark on voters. Unfortunately, there’s the tie to P.E.D.’s that will keep him out of the H.O.F., as well as the way he left the Cubs. The other two? They’re gone as fast as they came.
Sammy Sosa finished his career with 609 home runs, good for ninth all time. He was an MVP once and won six Silver Sluggers. When you look at his Baseball Reference page, the “similar batters” he’s compared to are filled with players in the Hall of Fame. With Jim Thome‘s inclusion to the HOF, only Gary Sheffield is not a member. Yet, while Sosa peaked at 12.5% in his first year of eligibility, he’s had to sweat it out each season since. He remains on the ballot for another year, but all the things he accomplished in his career are tarnished.
Sorry for your loss…of credentials
For Kerry Wood, as good as he was at the start of his career, injuries took their toll on the big righty. But if there’s one thing you can say about him, it’s that he has a sense of humor about it.
And on that note, let the party begin. Wood finished with two votes, doubling what he had hoped for. Wood won the 1998 Rookie of the Year and seemed poised for big things. But an injury kept him from pitching in 1999, and things never seemed to be as good as we’d hoped. In 2002 he won 14 games and led the league in strikeouts with 266. Eventually, Wood shifted to the pen, saving 34 games for the Cubs in 2008.
After being traded to the Cleveland Indians the following year, Wood didn’t have the same success he did in Chicago. He would eventually find his way back to Chicago to finish out his career where it all started. Oh, what could have been for Wood if not for the injuries.
And finally, Carlos Zambrano. I’ll be honest; for a long time, I gave him a bad rap. But looking back–other than being a fiery guy–he did his job. He won 10 or more games seven times, and his bat was always a threat as he hit 24 home runs.
On September 14, 2008, Zambrano tossed a no-hitter against the Houston Astros at Miller Park. The game had been moved because of Hurrican Ike, and Zambrano threw the first no-no since 1972. But this was a time when Jim Hendry was doling out big money for the Cubs, and his big salary didn’t match his output. Thanks for your effort Big Z, but it’s time to go.
So for the Cubs players on the ballot, it’s already over for two of them. And for Sosa, his misery will live on for another year. The best he could hope for is to come clean to the Cubs. To be welcomed back. Both sides have taken a hard stance on it, but they each need to give a little.
Next: Darvish ties growing stronger?
So for Wood and Zambrano, it’s over as quickly as it began. But you need to remember, only 1% of players that play in the MLB are part of the Hall of Fame. So there’s no need to be defeated. Most of us reading this never had the opportunity to play in the majors. So kudos to them and the rest of the player that even made the ballot.