New York Yankees: No Yankees elected to the Hall of Fame, but they weren’t alone

No New York Yankees player was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, but those Yankee players weren’t alone. For the first time since 2013, no player this year received the honor of being enshrined with other baseball greats. Results were announced Tuesday night by Hall of Fame president Tim Mead, and none of the 24 candidates made it. There were 401 ballots cast, although 14 sportswriters turned in empty ballots. Here is how the Yankee candidates made out.

BOBBY ABREU, RF

Abreu played for the Yankees only three years between 2006 and 2008. He was on the ballot for the second time and received 8.7% of the votes. For the Yankees, he batted .295 with 43 home runs. His best years were with the Philadephia Phillies. The closest he came to an MVP was in 2009 with the Los Angeles Angels.

A.J. BURNETT, RHP

Unfortunately for Burnett, he was on the ballot for the first time but received no votes (0 of 401) and will not be a candidate next year. A player must get at least 5% of the votes to stay on the ballot; if he does, he can remain on the ballot for up to ten years. Burnett with the Yankees was 35-34 from 2009 to 2011. Surprisingly the only time he was an All-Star was in his last year of play in 2015 with the Pirates.

ROGER CLEMENS, RHP

Clemens association with PED’s will likely ever allow him to get into the Baseball Hall of Fame, although he came the closest this year with 61.6% of the vote, which’s 54 votes shy of being elected. Please don’t feel bad; Barry Bonds will probably not receive the honor either he came 53 votes short. For Clemens, it was his 8th try. While with the Yankees from 1999 to 2003, he was 83-42 with an ERA of 4.01.

ANDRUW JONES, CF

Jones closed out his 17-year baseball career with the New York Yankees and retired after the 2012 season. In his two years with the Yankee, he batted just .220 with 27 home runs. His best years were with the Atlanta Braves. He, in his fourth try he got 33.9% of the ballot.

ANDY PETTITTE, LHP

Yankee fan-favorite Andy Pettitte was on the ballot for the third time and received  only13.7% of the vote, but it was his highest percentage to date. Andy, like several other players, was involved in PED’s. Many feel unlike most of the drug users; his infarction was minor to treat an ailment. He was remorseful and apologized to the Yankee organization and its fans. A group of sportswriters are hard-nosed and feel, and any PED involvement is an immediate disqualification for the Hall. Pettitte is the winningest pitcher in the postseason during modern times.

GARY SHEFFIELD, OF

Sheffield’s 40.6% is the highest number of votes he has gotten in his four years of candidacy. Sheffield played in Yankee Stadium’s outfield from 2004 to 2006 for most of it; he was dogged with a bad shoulder. In his three years with the Yankees, he provided excellent defense in the outfield and batted .291 with 96 home runs. He had a remarkable 22-year career, mostly with the Florida Marlins, although he played for nine different teams in his career.

NICK SWISHER, 1B/OF

Swisher was a big fan favorite of Yankees fans, not so of the sportswriters; in his first year of candidacy, he received no votes and will not be on the ballot again. While with the Yankees from 2009 to 2012, he batted .268 with 105 home runs. He played both in the outfield and at first base for the Yankees. Can you say smile? His best years were with the Yankees, and he dramatically fell off after leaving the team. He finished his career in 2015 with the Atlanta Braves.

It’s not like the Baseball Hall of Fame will have nothing to celebrate this year. Last year the celebration was canceled by the coronavirus. So this year, from July 23-26 in Cooperstown, N.Y., the celebration will go on. New York Yankee great Derek Jeter will be enshrined along with Larry Walker, Marvin Miller, and Ted Simmons. Jeter fell just one vote short of a unanimous vote by the sportswriters. Yankee great closer Mariano Rivera is the only player to receive a unanimous vote. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2019.

Other notables that did not get in this year include Barry Bond (PED’s), Curt Shilling (politics/homophobic), Mark Buehrle, Latroy Hawkins, Todd Helton Manny Ramirez, among a few others.

Under Appreciated New York Mets: Gary Sheffield

Over Gary Sheffield‘s legendary career, he played with eight different teams in 22 years. His stint with the New York Mets over the final year of his career is one often forgotten. You will have to go deep in the YouTube archives to find any Sheffield highlights that do not involve his 500th home run.

The Tigers released him one the last day of March in 2009. He only hit .178 in 18 spring training games and was coming off an injury-plagued season. At age-40, the opinion from the Tigers front office had been that he was not versatile enough, and his playing days were over after hitting for his lowest average since 1991 in the previous season.

Mets Swoop In

Sheffield already had interest from the defending champion Phillies, but the Mets brought him in less than a week later. They needed a right-handed bat with power, and Sheffield still yearned for his 500th home run. It was the first time Sheffield played in the National League since 2003, and he had not been a full-time outfielder since 2006.

Sheffield struggled through his first 26 games, mostly due to him starting only ten of them. He only hit .178 but had a .351 on-base percentage. Once he saw consistent playing time, the classic Sheffield offense began to return. He hit .315/.399/.521 with nine home runs, 23 RBI, and even mixed in two stolen bases.

He seemed like a prime trade deadline candidate for the struggling Mets, but a leg injury kept him out for two weeks. When Sheffield returned in August, his All-Star level production faded away. He only hit .241 with no home runs.

Contract Next Season?

Sheffield still felt he could produce in the 2010 season and asked for a contract extension from the Mets. When they denied him, he sat out a game in protest. The Mets were looking to unload veteran talent at the beginning of their long rebuilding period.

Sheffield did not play in 2010 and retired during the 2011 spring training when he did not receive any offers. It seemed like he was going to have a future past 2010, but unfortunately, injuries and age caught up with him.

Seven Former New York Mets are on the Hall of Fame Ballot

It’s officially MLB Hall of Fame voting season, and seven Mets will appear on the 2020 ballot.

The Mets are not well represented in the MLB Hall of Fame. They only have two players enshrined wearing their cap, Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza. That’s the whole list of Hall of Fame worthy players who will forever be remembered for their time with the Mets.

That’s not likely to change in 2020. Of the seven former Mets who are on the ballot four of them only played a single year with the team. So, even if they are enshrined they won’t be wearing a Mets cap.

Of the three who played multiple years with the franchise, none of them are likely to go in as Mets either. All three of them made much larger impacts with other franchises.

Still, It’s important to look back and honor these players. Even if it was only for a short while all of these players made a mark for the Mets.

Billy Wagner

Wagner played three years with the Mets. In those three years, Wagner had a 2.40 ERA, 2.89 FIP, 10.8 K/9, a 180 ERA+, and 101 saves. Wagner was phenomenal with the Mets. He appeared in two all-star games for the team and placed sixth in Cy Young voting in 2006.

Wagner is the most deserving member on this list. He should be in the hall of fame. He is one of the most dominant relievers in MLB history.

Wagner has seven seasons with 50 or more appearances and an ERA+ of 170 or better. Only two other relievers in MLB history have done that, Mariano Rivera and Goose Gossage. Both of them are in the Hall of Fame. Wagner also has the highest K rate of any reliever in MLB history, the sixth most saves, and the seventh highest WAR. Lastly, he has more strikeouts and a lower BAA then Mariano Rivera who made it in on his first ballot.

There is no statistical argument for Wagner to not be in the Hall of Fame. Yet, he was only on 16.7% of ballots in 2019. He also doesn’t appear on any of the five known ballots for 2020. It doesn’t seem likely that he will make the cut this year.

Heath Bell

Heath Bell began his career with the Mets. He played his first three seasons with the team. In those three years, Bell had a 4.92 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 8.8 K/9, 87 ERA+, and no saves. He was a teammate of Wagner’s on the 2006 Mets team.

Bell’s poor performance with the Mets aside, he had a decent career. Bell went on to be the close for the San Diego Padres for years. He transformed into one of the elite closers in baseball with the Padres. However, Bell’s career came crashing down at the end with three horrific years.

His short five-year burst of dominance isn’t likely to get Bell many votes. He’ll likely fall off the ballot after one year.

JJ Putz

JJ Putz was a massive bust for the Mets. He was acquired in a huge three-team trade. Putz was expected to come in and be the Mets closer in 2009. He was supposed to be the replacement for Billy Wagner. It didn’t work out that way.

In his one way with the Mets, Putz had a 5.22 ERA, 4.19 FIP, 79 ERA+, 5.8 K/9 and BB/9, and just two saves. He was a disaster.

However, it was an anomaly of a year. Putz was an elite closer before he got to the Mets, and he was an elite reliever when he left. After leaving the Mets Putz had four straight seasons with an ERA under three, two of which he had an ERA under 2.20.

Like with Bell Putz was not dominant for a long enough stretch, and had too many bad years to garner many votes. He’s likely going to be off the ballot in his first year.

Jose Valverde

Jose Valverde played just one season for the Mets in 2014. It was the last season of his career, and it wasn’t pretty. At 36-years old it was a disaster. One that most saw coming after Valverde’s 2013 season was just as bad.

In his single season with the Mets Valverde had a 5.66 ERA, 4.87 FIP, 10 K/9, 62 ERA+, and just two saves. It was not a good season.

Valverde has a better chance of getting in than Bell and Putz did. Valverde finished in the top six of Cy Young voting on two occasions. He even got MVP voting twice. That likely won’t be enough for him as his career tended to be up and down, but at his best Valverde was one of the best relievers of his generation.

He just didn’t hit that ceiling enough to get real consideration for the Hall of Fame. Valverde likely won’t get enough support to stay on the ballot, but he should get more support than Bell and Putz.

Jeff Kent

Jeff Kent spent most of the beginning of his career with the Mets. He played his first four and a half seasons with the Mets. He was then moved in one of the most infamous trades in franchise history for Carlos Baerga.

In those four and  half years, Kent was a developing young player. He hit .279/.327/.453. That’s nothing like the player he would become for the Giants. Just one year after the Mets traded Kent he became an MVP caliber player, he placed eighth in MVP voting that year.

Kent is the best offensive second baseman of all-time. The stats speak for themselves. The only real ding against him is his sub-par defense at second base. Even that shouldn’t stop him from getting in. The numbers defensively weren’t so bad that Kent shouldn’t be allowed in.

Yet, he is denied year after year. He has never garnered 20% of the vote on a ballot despite his unbelievable numbers. The answer as to why is simple. The media doesn’t like Jeff Kent. He was a stand-offish player who disliked the media and handled them poorly. As such, the media has responded in kind, while lesser players like Sandy Alomar and Craig Biggio get enshrined.

Bobby Abreu

Bobby Abreu played just one year for the Mets, the last of his career. He came of the bench for the Mets in 2014 and played in 78 games. He was a decent bench bat for that team, he slashed .248/.342/.338.

Abreu has a hall of Fame argument. He was worth 60 career bWAR, and his offensive numbers are good. He accumulated a ton of numbers during his 18-year MLB career.

That’s really the issue for Abreu though. He was only a two-time all-star, a one-time silver slugger, and a one-time gold glove winner. He did garner MVP votes in seven seasons, but he was never a top-10 vote earner.

Abreu is a stat collector. He played a long time, which allowed him to accumulate stats, without being an elite player. That will impress some voters because his longevity is impressive. However, it won’t impress enough of them for him to get in.

Abreu will likely stay on the ballot after this year, but he’s not likely going to garner much more than that five percent needed to stay on.

Gary Sheffield

Gary Sheffield also played his last season with the Mets, it was his only one with the team. In that lone season, Sheffield was an often used bench bat, playing in 100 games and having 312 PA. He was one of the better bench bats in baseball that year slashing .276/.372/.451. It was a great end to a great career.

Sheffield was a nine-time all-star. He won 5 silver sluggers and was an MVP vote-getter in seven seasons. He finished top 10 in six of those seven seasons, and top 3 in three of them.

Sheffield was an elite player during his career who put up some eye-popping numbers. He should be in the Hall of Fame. Yet, like so many others he is denied his spot. He has never garnered 20% of the vote.

It’s because of a rumored connection steroids. Sheffield never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, but he was named on the Mitchell Report. That’s enough for many voters to him completely. That’s enough to deny Sheffield spot in the Hall of Fame.