Skip to content

Juan Gonzalez for the Hall of Fame!

Nov 14, 2011, 6:40 PM EST

Juan Gonzalez AP

Incredibly enough, he’s not even a Scott Boras client.

Tweets ESPN’s Jon Weisman:

In today’s mail, I received a 12-page full-color campaign brochure for Juan “Igor” Gonzalez’s Hall of Fame candidacy.

12 pages trumpeting Juan Gonzalez. Someone had a lot of time on their hands.

Gonzalez, of course, was a two-time MVP thanks to some very impressive RBI numbers (144 in 1996, 157 in 1998). He also led the AL in homers twice. He doesn’t have much else for black ink, though. He led the AL in slugging once in 1993. He never led the league in OPS. In fact, his highest finish there was fourth.

Gonzalez obviously comes up well short of Hall of Fame qualifications as is, though he’d rate as a very divisive candidate had he been able to stay healthy after age 31 and finished with 500-550 homers and 1,700 or so RBI. After that age-31 season with Cleveland, he had 277, 327, 127 and one at-bats the next four years, leaving him with 434 homers and 1,404 RBI.

Those totals rank 40th and 70th all-time, respectively. And those are the strong points of his case. His raw OPS of .904 ranks 61st all-time for players with 3,000 plate appearances, but that’s partly a product of his era and the ballparks he played in. Switching over to OPS+ drops him all of the way to 138th all-time.

Not that there’s anything wrong with being the 138th greatest hitter of all-time. Gonzalez was never a bad hitter at any point in his career. Even in his one off year in his prime, he hit .275/.330/.472. During those final four seasons with his body betraying him at every opportunity, he hit .286/.327/.503.

Gonzalez also hit .290/.333/.742 with eight homers in 15 postseason games (his teams lost all four of those series anyway).

Still, Gonzalez is no Hall of Famer, and it’s doubtful he’ll survive on the ballot another year after barely eclipsing the five-percent cutoff in his 2011 debut (he finished at 5.2 percent). A 12-page pamphlet isn’t going to change that.

  1. apgreco - Nov 14, 2011 at 6:46 PM

    Gonzalez had a chance until he hit the age of 31…..when his hitting and his career pretty much ended. Up to that point he had a great career. He did not even get 2000 hits in his career. Had he approached 500 homers and 2000+ hits, then he might have gotten in the HOF but without that….nice career until the age of 31…..

  2. Walk - Nov 14, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    I liked to watch him when he played. It was an offensive explosion in era he played in and he still stood out. I am big fan though of judging people by era they played in, but there were some truly great players in that era and ops+ tells the true story for me. Nothing wrong with 12 page ad, i have been known to go all in myself now and again. Personally i consider him a lot like jim rice until i think about time they played in then i gotta gim jim rice the nod for having better career. But gonzo played 400ish games less so yeah closer than i would have thought.

  3. SmackSaw - Nov 14, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    He’s a shoo in for the steroids HOF.

  4. billymc75 - Nov 14, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    As a life long Ranger fan Jaundo is not a HOFer, he should be on the wall next to other players at our park but seeing how he didn’t finish here he prob wont be

  5. SmackSaw - Nov 14, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    They could put this on his plaque;

    In 2001, Gonzalez’ trainer, Angel Presinal was questioned by Canadian police when he picked up an unmarked bag containing anabolic steroids and Clenbuterol. He told the police that the bag belonged to Gonzalez, then with the Indians. Four years later, in Juiced, Jose Canseco claims to have educated Gonzalez, along with Rafael Palmeiro and Ivan Rodriguez, about steroids when they were teammates in Texas (1992-1994). He subsequently claims to have acquired steroids on behalf of all three before personally injecting each of them ‘many times.’ Canseco says all three used a combination of HGH and steroids (Deca-Durabolin and/or Winstrol) and ‘a small dose’ of injectable testosterone.

  6. Walk - Nov 14, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    That is why you judge a player by the era in which they played. If steroids were rampant in era they played in then judging him by his peers at the time makes all the more sense. Besides i saw a lot of pitchers on what is saw of the mitchell report, may have been more than hitters and i really do not know what impact that had on the game. Maybe it helped pitchers, maybe it hurt them, i do not know. I cannot see it doing anything other than helping a hitters game though. I do know they would not have taken them if they did not think it would help and that by itself had an impact.

    • Matt - Nov 15, 2011 at 8:10 AM

      Saying that steroids must have helped because the players wouldn’t take them if they wouldn’t help is a poor argument. Players do stupid things all the time that they believe help them which have no real effect beyond the placebo effect of making them think they’ll be better…everything from not stepping on the baseline to peeing on your hands to wearing those stupid necklaces…not one of those things has a real, measurable benefit. I’m not saying that steroids did/did not help, they probably provided some additional power to the users with the increased muscle use, but to say that they had to help because they were used is nonsense.

  7. hushbrother - Nov 14, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    He’s a shoo-in for the Divorce Lawyers’ Hall of Fame

    • cowboysoldiertx - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:54 PM

      5 or 6 divorces right?

  8. Detroit Michael - Nov 15, 2011 at 8:59 AM

    I use OPS+ sometimes too because baseball-reference.com carries it and it’s easy, but it overvalues a low-walk, high-homer guy like Juan Gonzalez. Switching to wRC+ at Fangraphs.com, for those with a minimum of 3,000 PA, Gonzalez now drops to 188th for his career. Tim Salmon is the nearest match in terms of batting quality and length of career. There are many, many batters with better credentials who are not in the Hall of Fame yet.

  9. foreverchipper10 - Nov 15, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    Somewhere I have his rookie card which shows him batting from the other side of the plate. I bet I couldn’t get 5 bucks for it.

  10. Walk - Nov 15, 2011 at 11:50 PM

    Placebo effect was what i was referring to. You see articles all the time saying saying steroids did or did not help. Personally i think there is no way they could not have helped if for that very effect. The problem is i have no way of quantifying the results on a hitter. This is only hurt by fact not everyone was taking them and pitchers were taking them as well so maybe one day they had an advantage and another maybe they did not. I personally dont think you should keep a whole era of players out of the hall for steroids though. Take each case individually. If a guy like juan just barely makes it look at whether he may have been part of the scandal and let his case go before the veterans committee, they should have a better idea than the rest of us whether a player is worthy. Maybe take a guy like bonds, i think it extremely likely he was hof worthy without any aid if in fact he took a banned substance. Remember not all names on mitchell report were for steroids, they were for banned substances that would hurt players not just help them.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Cubs shore up rotation with Jon Lester
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. M. Cabrera (4238)
  2. W. Myers (3287)
  3. M. Kemp (2807)
  4. W. Miley (2448)
  5. C. Headley (2384)
  1. M. Morse (2370)
  2. J. Lester (2333)
  3. M. Scherzer (2023)
  4. J. Upton (1989)
  5. C. Hamels (1933)