In conjunction with the Baseball Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony this past Sunday, the sports website Hall & Arena is formally announcing its inaugural Hall of Fame baseball class.
The criterion for induction into the Hall & Arena Hall is twofold: 1) the player will probably never be inducted into the real hall of fame, and 2) the player was once greatly beloved.
The H&A Hall committee proudly describes these inductees as the “Best of the Rest.”
So without further ado, here are the four inductees in the Hall & Arena Hall of Fame baseball class (please stay tuned for the basketball and football inductions at a later time).
Famous for his patented leg kick, Sierra played 20 seasons in the majors. The native Puerto Rican hit 306 home runs, batted .268, and tallied 2,152 hits in his career. A journeyman outfielder, Sierra played for 12 different major league clubs, but his favorite hitching post was in Texas. Sierra played for the Rangers on three separate occasions. He finished his career with the Minnesota Twins in 2006.
With no disrespect to Hank Aaron or Chipper Jones, Murphy is the most beloved Atlanta Braves player of all time. Murphy, the poster boy for clean livin’ and noble thoughts, wasthe Atlanta Braves in the 1980s. No. 3 hit 398 career home runs, the bulk of which came in the mid-1980s while the Bravos were limping through years of mediocrity. Murphy hit 30 homers in four consecutive seasons (1982-85) and reached a high water mark in 1987 with 44. In the decade of the 1980s, only Mike Schmidt hit more home runs than Murphy. He was a lifetime .265 hitter and won back-to-back NL MVP honors in ’82 and ’83.
In 1988, if you would have said Darryl Strawberry would finish his career with only 335 home runs and fail to make the Baseball Hall of Fame, people would have thought you were crazy. The Mets right fielder launched 280 home runs over a nine-year span from 1983-91, won Rookie of the Year in 1983, and finished second in the MVP voting in 1988. But beginning in 1992, his career went into a tailspin.
Over a 19-year career, McGriff clubbed 493 career home runs (he’s tied with Lou Gehrig), hit for a .284 career average, and collected a total of 2,490 hits. McGriff was a five-time All-Star and won a World Series with the Atlanta Braves in 1995. McGriff played for the Blue Jays, Braves, Padres, Cubs, and Dodgers—and two stints with the Tampa Bay Rays. Perhaps it’s a crime, dog, that Fred McGriff will probably never be inducted into the real hall of fame in Cooperstown. H&A
Cover photo by Al Blanton