Jaffe: Fred McGriff’s Hall of Fame case by JAWS

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs on December 11, 2018:

Despite being an outstanding hitter, Fred McGriff had a hard time standing out. Though he arrived in the major leagues in the same year as Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro and was the first player to lead each league in home runs since the dead-ball era, he couldn’t match the career accomplishments of either of those two men, finishing short of round-numbered milestones with “only” 493 home runs and 2,490 hits. The obvious explanation — that he didn’t have the pharmaceutical help that others did — may be true, but it was just one of many ways in which McGriff’s strong performance didn’t garner as much attention as it merited.

That isn’t to say that McGriff went totally unnoticed during his heyday, but some of the things for which he received attention were decidedly… square. Early in his major league career, McGriff acquired the nickname “the Crime Dog” in reference to McGruff, an animated talking bloodhound from a public service announcement who urged kids to “take a bite out of crime” by staying in school and away from drugs. He also appeared in the longest-running sports infomercial of all time, endorsing Tom Emanski’s Baseball Defensive Drills video, a staple of insomniac viewing amid SportsCenter segments on ESPN since 1991.

Read the full article here: https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/jaws-and-the-2019-hall-of-fame-ballot-fred-mcgriff/

Originally published: December 14, 2018. Last Updated: December 14, 2018.