Every year, I give a hearty hello to the gentlemen who appear on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot but don't receive any votes. This time around, there are seven honorees, bringing the total to 229, if the introduction to last year's post is to be believed.
I'll also use this space to note that after years of pestering by my colleague Michael Lortz (a.k.a. Jordi Scrubbings), I have spent the past two years or so gathering notes for a potential Bizarro Hall of Fame book. If my wife and I ever manage to stop having kids (we're currently working on twins after adding child number two early last year), it might actually become a reality.
Rich Aurilia – Barry Bonds wasn’t the only San Francisco Giant that had a pretty good offensive season in 2001. Aurilia hit 37 home runs, drove in 97, led the National League with 206 hits, and established career highs in virtually every major offensive category. (Other guys who have equaled his 364 total bases from that season, good for 144th on the all-time list: Lou Gehrig, Vlad Guerrero, Alex Rodriguez, Frank Thomas, and Jacoby Ellsbury.) He also played in his only All-Star Game (as the National League’s starting shortstop), won his only Silver Slugger, and finished twelfth in the MVP voting.
Tony Clark – He may be all important and stuff now as the head of the MLB Players Association, but I will always and forever remember Tony Clark for the 2002 season, when he came to Boston following an All-Star caliber season with Detroit and proceeded to hit .207 with three homeruns and 29 RBI in 90 games. It might be the worst season I’ve ever seen from a Red Sox player not named Tony Pena (and at least Pena had that cool crouch that made him worth watching).
Jermaine Dye – The end of Dye’s career always confused me because he was one of those players who had a pretty good final season, then just sort of disappeared. A 102 OPS+ and 0.2 rWAR aren’t particularly sexy numbers, I know, but you’d think some team could’ve provided a home for a guy who had just hit 27 homers and driven in 81 with a .340 on-base percentage.
Cliff Floyd – When Todd Walker became a Bizarro Hall of Famer two years ago, I noted that it felt like he had played in Boston for longer than the single season he actually spent with the Red Sox. Floyd is a similar case, appearing in just 47 games for Boston after being acquired from Montreal via trade and before signing with the Mets in the offseason. He played for seven teams in his 17 year career, including three in 2002 alone and four in his final four seasons.
Brian Giles – Giles may not have received any Hall of Fame votes, but the fact that he appeared on the ballot gives him bragging rights over his younger brother Marcus, who only played seven seasons and therefore didn’t qualify. It’s not altogether surprising that the elder Giles didn’t receive any votes; there’s always a Steroid Era power hitter (he had 30+ round trippers four straight years from 1999-02) or two who doesn’t fare well in the balloting. The snub of Giles drew some ire from the Internet, which pointed to his 136 OPS+ and career .400 OBP as reasons he should have received at least some support.
Eddie Guardado – Much like the Bizarro Hall seems to welcome at least one new slugger with every ballot, there is usually at least one closer who gets added. With Troy Percival narrowly avoiding that fate, Guardado emerged as 2015’s lucky contestant. Everyday Eddie began his career as a starting pitcher before transitioning to the bullpen and eventually serving as a closer for the Twins and Mariners from about 2001 to 2006. The bulk of his success occurred in 2002-03, when he saved 86 games (including a league-leading 45 in 2002) for the Central Division-winning Twins.
Jason Schmidt – Schmidt was one of those pitchers who peaked high for a couple seasons but didn’t maintain that level of achievement for particularly long. In his case, the relevant seasons were 2003 and 2004, when he 35-12 with a 2.79 ERA and 459 strikeouts for the Giants. He finished second and fourth, respectively, in the Cy Young voting and led the league with a 2.34 ERA in 2003. He couldn’t maintain that pace, however, though he did put up some decent numbers here and there.