This week’s Player Poll question asks which current players are locks for the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. My definition of a “lock” is a player that could retire TODAY and still make the Hall based on their production up to this point.
Now before you get upset or confused at my rankings, just know that I think that all of these players will become Hall of Famers. I am simply ranking who the biggest locks are.
1. Derek Jeter
The Captain is at the top of this list because of where he will end up ranking all-time among shortstops. By the time DJ calls it a career, he will most likely supplant Honus Wagner as the greatest SS ever. His career numbers combined with the success he enjoyed in the era in which he enjoyed it will give him the nod. He may even be the first unanimous selection in Major League Baseball Hall of Fame history.
2. Mariano Rivera
He only has one pitch. Even if you know what is coming, there is still nothing you can do about it. He’s the greatest closer of all time already, and you have got to expect to see him back in pinstripes next season to finish out his career on his own terms.
3. Chipper Jones
He is a little over a month away from finishing his entire career with one club, and his career offensive numbers will be extraordinary (.300+/.400+/.500+). He is also definitely in the conversation with George Brett for second best third basemen (Mike Schmidt being #1) and top three switch hitter (Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray being the others) of all time.
4. Jim Thome
He is seventh on the all-time home run list with 611 dingers, and he has done that over a tremendous 22-year career. Furthermore, he is seen as one of the true ambassadors and nice guys in the game.
5. Ichiro Suzuki
It is hard to imagine what Ichiro’s numbers would have been like had he started his professional career in MLB as opposed to the Pacific League in Japan. He came to the US at the age of 27, and his truncated career is one of the greatest we have ever witnessed. He is one of the greatest pure baseball hitters of all time.
6. Albert Pujols
It will take a lot for Pujols to outdo the Iron Horse, but he could give Gehrig a run for his money in the “best first basement of all time” category. His first 11 seasons are potentially the greatest first 11 offensive seasons of any player ever. The sky is the limit for his career.
7. Omar Vizquel
He has shown unbelievable mastery with the glove (11 Gold Gloves) and has amassed almost 3,000 career hits in his 24-season career. I suppose the only question is, “when will this ageless wonder actually retire?”
Don’t forget to watch #PlayerPoll on FOX at 3:00pm EST this Saturday to see whom the players and fans think are the best closers in baseball. Also, tweet your picks for the biggest lock for the Hall of Fame to @MLBFanCave and @KyleOKC using the hash tag #CavePickEm.