The BBWAA have chosen their 2014 Hall of Fame inductees, and no surprise, there were not any Marlins to make the cut. The Marlins did place seven former players on the ballot in pitcher Armando Benitez, outfielders Moises Alou, Jacque Jones, Tim Raines and Luis Gonzalez and catchers Mike Piazza and Paul Lo Duca. With the exception of Piazza and Raines, all were long-shots, and even that implies that they were closer to making it to the Hall of Fame than they actually were.
Benitez pitched for the Marlins in 2004, one year removed from the Marlins 2nd World Series victory. That season was arguably Benitez’s finest, as the relief pitcher posted 47 saves for the fish and compiled a 1.29 ERA on the way to his second consecutive, and final, all-star game. He finished 23rd in the MVP voting that year.
In 2007 Benitez reappeared in a Marlins’ uniform for his second to last season in the majors. That season didn’t go as well as his first as he went 2-5 with an ERA over 5 in 36 games. He would go on to pitch one more season in Toronto before hanging up the cleats.
Benitez was never seriously in the running for the Hall of Fame, but he can take solace that at least one BBWAA writer named him on their ballot. To the best of my knowledge, that writer has not come forward, but Benitez can tip his cap to him, for keeping him from drawing the shutout on the ballot.
Moises Alou may be more well-known to Marlins’ fans for his role on the 1997 Marlins that won the World Series, or for his role on the 2003 Cubs that the Marlins eliminated in the bizarre Bartman series. Alou was a better player than Benitez but had he won, I would have been surprised if he would have entered the Hall as a Marlin considering he played for the Expos, Astros, Cubs and Giants for longer.
Alou put together a pretty solid career starting with a 2nd place ROY finish in 1992 and following that up with 6 all-star appearances and 2 silver slugger awards. He finished in the top 5 of MVP voting twice in his career. In his lone season as a Marlin, Alou was named an all-star and finished 10th in MVP voting.
Alou received 1.1 percent, well short of the 5 percent minimum that would have allowed him to stay on the ballot for another year. Another player that will not be on the ballot next year was Jacque Jones.
Jones’ career as a Marlin was almost an afterthought. He only played in 18 games in 2008, his last season in the major leagues. Jones never made an all-star team, and really his inclusion on the ballot was a bit of a head scratcher. Someone still thought Jones deserving though, since he did receive one vote to prevent the shutout.
One former Marlin that was not able to avoid a shutout was Lo Duca. Lo Duca did not receive a single vote, despite making 4 all-star teams and finishing 19th in the MVP voting in 2001. Lo Duca spent 1 full season, and parts of two others in Miami. His lone full season with the Marlins was in 2005, a year in which he made the all-star team.
Luis Gonzalez earned his fish stripes in 2008, at the ripe old age of 40. Gonzo would make the final stop of his career in south Florida, after playing for 5 teams previously. Gonzo made 5 all-star teams, won a silver slugger, and even finished 3rd in the MVP voting in 2001, the season in which he exploded for 57 home runs.
Gonzo’s best hit in 2001 wasn’t a long ball though, instead it was his World Series winning single against Mariano Rivera and the evil empire in the World Series. That base hit will go down in history and be something that he will always be remembered for. Unfortunately for him, he only garnered .9 percent of the vote, and will not be on the ballot next year.
Many people don’t remember that Tim Raines actually played for the Marlins at the end of his career. He logged 98 games for the fish in 2002 as a 42 year-old. Those would be the last at-bats of a 23 year career. Raines was a runner-up in the ROY award in 1981, and he went on to make 7 all-star teams, one silver slugger award, and finished in the top 10 for MVP voting 3 times.
Raines led the league in stolen bases 4 times, and finished 5th all-time in stolen bases with 808. He finished with a career OBP of .385, and in his seventh year on the ballot earned 46.1 percent. I believe it is just a matter of time before Raines finds himself with a bust in Cooperstown. In my humble opinion he certainly deserves it.
The final player for the Marlins was Mike Piazza. Piazza found himself on the ballot for the second year, this time earning 355 votes. That many votes were good enough for 62.2 percent, only 13 percent away from the Hall of Fame.
I hesitate to even include Piazza in this, considering he was only with the Marlins for 5 games, but even 5 games count. Piazza came over from the Dodgers in the trade that sent most of the world champion Marlins to Los Angeles. Just 8 days later Piazza was traded to the New York Mets for a group of players headlined by Preston Wilson.
While it’s safe to say that Piazza won’t be entering the Hall of Fame as a Marlin if he is selected, it would be nice to have more than just one former player to be in Cooperstown that donned a Marlins jersey. For those of you wondering who that was…Andre Dawson is the lone Marlins’ player to make it to the Hall of Fame, obviously as a Chicago Cub.
What do you think about this year’s Hall of Fame class? Who do you think should or shouldn’t have made it? Let us know in the comments below!