Next year’s Baseball Hall of Fame ballot could include 15 first-time candidates. Here’s an early look at five worth watching:
Teams: Expos, Angels, Rangers, Orioles
By the numbers: 2,147 games, 59.3 wins above replacement, 449 HRs, 1,496 RBIs, .318 batting average
Claims to fame: At his peak, mostly with Montreal, he was one of the best all-around players in the game. The strong-armed outfielder was known more for his offence. Vlad was known for swinging at anything near the strike zone, and his contact rate was phenomenal.
In or out? Strong case for first-year entry. He ranks fourth all-time in WAR among Dominican-born players.
Teams: Indians, Red Sox
By the numbers: 2,302 games, 69.2 WAR, 555 HRs, 1,831 RBIs, .312 BA
Claims to fame: His career slash line (.312/.411/.585) was among the very best of his era. Manny was a clutch right-handed hitter, passing Ted Williams to become baseball’s post-season homer king with his 23rd, in the 2007 World Series.
In or out? The numbers are more than worthy, but Ramirez was twice suspended for performance-enhancing drugs and his defence was shaky.
Teams: Rangers, Marlins, Tigers, Yankees, Astros, Nationals
By the numbers: 2,543 games, 68.4 WAR, 311 HRs, 1,332 RBIs, .296 BA
Claims to fame: Pudge caught more games than any other catcher, passing Carlton Fisk in 2009. On top of the stellar offence, he threw out 45.68 per cent of attempted base stealers, best ever in that category.
In or out? Should be a first-year shoo-in with 13 Gold Gloves and an AL MVP award on top of all the catching records. Jose Canseco linked Pudge to steroid use, but he never tested positive.
By the numbers: 1,829 games, 42.7 WAR, 275 HRs, 1,065 RBIs, .273 BA
Claims to fame: All of the above plus five World Series rings and a career .374 on-base plus slugging mark put him among the best catchers ever. He’s one of just five backstops with 1,500 hits, 275 HRs and 1,000 RBIs. Between 2000 and 2011 he led all catchers in homers and runs batted in.
In or out? His case is built on offence. Chances are he’ll have to wait a while.
Teams: White Sox, Tigers
By the numbers: 1,848 games, 38.5 WAR, 294 HRs, 1,236 RBIs, .309 BA
Claims to fame: His 2007 tour de force — .363 BA, 28 HRs, 139 RBIs — was the best offensive season ever by a Tiger until Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown year in 2012. Ordonez finished second to Alex Rodriguez in AL MVP voting that season despite the first batting title by a Tiger since Norm Cash in 1961.
In or out? He’s a long shot because of weak defence and a lot of injuries.