Congratulations to Barry Larkin and the late Ron Santo for their recent induction into Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame. Both were deserving of the honor, and Santo's was long overdue.
Three other former players also deserve to be enshrined - Alan Trammell, Lee Smith, and Tim Raines.
Shortstop Alan Trammell played 20 years with the Detroit Tigers, and the six time all star's offensive and defensive numbers match up well with Larkin's. In 20 years Trammell hit .285 with 185 home runs, 1,003 RBI's, 236 stolen bases, and had a .977 fielding percentage. He also batted .333 in postseason games. Larkin played 19 years with the Reds, compiling a .295 batting average, 198 home runs, 960 RBI's, 379 stolen bases, and a .975 fielding percentage while hitting .338 in the postseason.
Relief pitcher Lee Smith, a seven time All Star, ranks third in major league history with 478 saves, behind only legends Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera. Smith led the National League in saves in four seasons, and his career ERA of 3.03 compares well with Hall of Fame relievers Bruce Sutter's 2.83 and Rollie Fingers' 2.90.
Outfielder Tim Raines, also a seven time All Star selection, ranks fifth in baseball history with 808 stolen bases, but he also had a career batting average of .294 and an on base percentage of .385. He was a player who set the table for his teams, which included the Expos, White Sox, and Yankees, among others.
Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame is certain to be getting a lot of attention in the upcoming months and years. A number of outstanding former players will be listed on voters' ballots; some will certainly be inducted in their first year of elgibility. Stars such as Mike Piazza and Craig Biggio in 2013, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux in 2014, and Randy Johnson in 2015 are all likely to be enshrined in their first years. Pitchers John Smoltz and Pedro Martinez may get in during their first year in 2016 or in the following year, while currently eligible Jeff Bagwell may get in within the next couple of years.
An intriguing storyline involves four former players who all almost certainly would have been inducted in their first year - if they hadn't been implicated in the steroid investigation. Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, and Roger Clemens are all entering their first year of eligibilty in 2013; with Rafael Palmiero earning only 12.6% of the vote last year, even with his 569 home runs and 3,020 hits, it doesn't look good for Sammy, Barry, and Roger at this point.