By MATTHEW OSBORNE
Last month, Torii Hunter became only the eighth player to ever hit 300 homers and win nine Gold Gloves. This didn’t immediately send me off on a quest to send Hunter to Cooperstown, but it did put him in some interesting company.
Of the other seven guys to pull off this feat, four are already Hall of Famers – Willie Mays (660 homers) Mike Schmidt (549), Al Kaline (399) and Johnny Bench (389).
Ken Griffey Jr. (630) and Pudge Rodriguez (311) are mortal locks for the Hall, too. The last guy on the list is Andruw Jones, who is an interesting case himself.
Jones had 434 RBIs, 1,289 RBIs and a .254 batting average. He also scored 1,204 runs but fell shy of 2,000 hits despite a long career (1,933).
Baseball Reference has Jones’ most similar hitter listed as Dale Murphy, not a guy you want to be placed with when it comes to impressing Hall of Fame voters.
(Side note: When it comes to the Murphy-Jones comparison, here’s where I don’t care for/understand/readily accept WAR as a legitimate stat. Murphy’s WAR is far lower than that of Jones – 62.7 to 46.3 – and Murphy was the superior ballplayer by far in every way except speed, and that advantage only existed when comparing young Jones to older Murphy.)
Hunter actually has cracked the 2,000-hit barrier and has comparable run (1,115) and RBI (1,178) numbers and he’s still playing.
It would be easy to argue that Hunter is a better Hall of Fame candidate than Jones, but neither is going to garner much support.