It could be decades before we see another Cubs player make the Hall of Fame

With the core of the 2016 team failing to live up to his vaunted billing in the years that followed, we seem to be poised for a lengthy Cooperstown drought as Cubs fans.

Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

As the confetti was swept off the streets of Chicago on an unseasonably warm, sunny November day back in 2016, Cubs fans felt a dynasty was taking shape. Anchored by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, it seemed the future had never been brighter for a franchise that had just snapped a 108-year championship drought.

But that was the one and only parade - and NL pennant - for the Joe Maddon-led Cubs, who advanced again to the NLCS the following year before falling to the Rockies at home in the 2018 NL Wild Card game after a late-season collapse and missing the postseason altogether in 2019. That ended the Maddon era on the North Side and, less than two years later, Rizzo and Bryant - along with Javier Baez - were wearing different uniforms altogether.

Since those trades, Baez has cratered - becoming one of the least valuable players in the game playing for Detroit, Bryant has failed to stay healthy in Colorado and Rizzo has been largely solid, yet unspectacular, in 2+ years in the Bronx, with his 2023 season coming off the rails after suffering a concussion that went undiagnosed for more than two months.

On the heels of Wednesday's Baseball Hall of Fame announcement, with Adrian Beltre, Todd Helton and Joe Mauer joining Jim Leyland in Cooperstorn this summer, I couldn't help but ponder who the next player could be inducted into the Hall. The short answer? I don't know that we've even seen him play yet.

Even core of historic 2016 Cubs seems unlikely to produce a Hall of Famer

Jon Lester is the only possibility from that 2016 team and, by most measures, he's a fringe candidate. Maybe his postseason resume pushes him over the top? But I'd wager he's more of a Hall of Very Good guy in most voters' eyes and I can't argue with those who feel that way. Sammy Sosa, the face of the franchise in the late 90s and early 2000s, has no chance given Cooperstown's stance on PEDs and both Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee, the Cubs' two anchors in-between those eras, had their chances and quickly fell off the ballot due to lack of support.

Looking at today's team, well, there probably isn't a Hall of Fame player here. Dansby Swanson doesn't have the resume - at least not yet. Same goes for Nico Hoerner, who would probably have to rack up 200 hits a year for the next decade-plus to even get consideration. The pitching staff definitely doesn't carry that sort of firepower, either.

So, for now, we can appreciate those who've donned a Cubs cap over the years (and those who want to, still, like Andre Dawson). But it looks like we're entering a major dry spell when it comes to our team and Cooperstown enshrinement.