December 4, 2022
By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
Former Toronto Blue Jays slugger Fred McGriff was unanimously elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday by the Contemporary Baseball Era Players Committee.
All 16 members on the committee voted for McGriff.
Candidates required 12 of 16 votes (or 75 per cent) to be elected. McGriff was the only one of the eight candidates on the ballot to garner enough support for election.
Don Mattingly was second with eight votes (50%) while Curt Schilling received seven votes (43.8%) and Dale Murphy six (37.5%). Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro garnered less than four votes each.
Born in Tampa, Fla., on October 31, 1963, McGriff wasn’t exactly a blue-chip prospect out of high school. The New York Yankees selected him in the ninth round in the 1981 draft.
On December 9, 1982, in one of legendary Blue Jays GM Pat Gillick’s most astute trades, he managed to pry McGriff, along with outfielder Dave Collins, right-hander Mike Morgan and cash away from the New York Yankees for reliever Dale Murray and third baseman Tom Dodd.
McGriff then rose through the ranks in the Blue Jays’ organization and made his big league debut in 1986. He had his first 20-home run season the following year and then proceeded to have seven consecutive 30-home run seasons from 1988 to 1994.
From there, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound first baseman continued to be a power threat for the San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. In his 19 major league seasons, he had 10, 30-home runs campaigns, but never clubbed more than 37 in a season. He also registered 90 or more RBIs in 12 seasons. He finished his career with 493 home runs, which ranks 29th all-time.
For more information about McGriff’s resume and accomplishments, you can read the article I published on Wednesday.
The 16-member Hall of Fame Board-appointed electorate charged with reviewing the Contemporary Baseball Era Players Ballot consisted of Hall of Fame members Greg Maddux, Jack Morris, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell; major league executives Paul Beeston (Welland, Ont.), Theo Epstein, Derrick Hall, Arte Moreno, Kim Ng, Dave St. Peter and Ken Williams; and veteran media members/historians Steve Hirdt, LaVelle Neal and Susan Slusser.
Legendary Braves third baseman Chipper Jones was scheduled to be a member of the committee but was replaced by Hall after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
The Contemporary Baseball Era Players Committee finalists were selected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America-appointed Historical Overview Committee from all eligible candidates whose most significant career impact occurred from 1980 to the present. Eligible candidates must have played at least 10 major league seasons and been retired for at least 15 seasons.
The Contemporary Baseball Era Committee will now not consider player candidates until 2025 for the 2026 induction year, as part of the three-year era committee cycle.
The Contemporary Baseball Era Committee Executives/Managers/Umpires Ballot will be considered next winter for the class of 2024, and the Classic Era Committee will consider candidates whose primary contributions to the game came prior to 1980 in the winter of 2024.
McGriff will deliver his induction speech at a ceremony in Cooperstown on July 23, 2023.
The former Blue Jays first baseman will be joined in the Hall’s 2023 class by any electees from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America voting. Those results will be announced Jan. 24.