Dec 19, 2012, 10:11 PM EDT
The New York Post’s Ken Davidoff ran down every player on the Hall of Fame ballot in his column today, but this is all he had to say about Ryan Klesko:
A name we remember from the ‘90s Braves run, but not for anything in particular he did. He was a solid outfielder. No.
That’s about a quarter of the writeup that Jeff Conine, Roberto Hernandez and Aaron Sele received. Only Todd Walker got shorter shrift.
ESPN’s Jim Caple did something similar, though his column, as typical, was as much humor as baseball. Even so, Klesko got the shortest writeup, or at least tied with Jeff Cirillo:
Yes, he belongs on the ballot. After all, he was a one-time All-Star and a third-place rookie of the year finalist!
So, I think Klesko deserves better. One-time All-Star hardly does him justice.
A part-time player initially, Klesko nonetheless had a .907 OPS in 92 games in 1994 and a 1.004 OPS in 107 games in 1995 (both strike-shortened years). In the 11 years from 1994-2003, he never once finished with an OPS under .800. He topped .900 six times. And he did it while typically playing in pitcher’s parks.
143 players have had at least 6,000 plate appearances since 1990. Their OPS+s ranged from 195 (Barry Bonds) to 75 (Brad Ausmus). Klesko comes in 34th on that list at 128, placing him right there with Bobby Abreu, David Justice, John Olerud and Sammy Sosa (all 129) and Moises Alou, Ellis Burks and Tim Salmon (all 128). That’s not quite Hall of Fame territory, but it certainly makes for a heck of a career.
And as for doing nothing memorable, well, you know, he did homer in three straight World Series games for the 1995 Braves in their lone championship in the last 50 years.
So, no, Klesko isn’t a Hall of Famer or anything particularly close. But for 11 years, he was one of the NL’s top threats against right-handed pitching and a guy who typically hit third or fifth for six postseason teams. I think that’s worth a few sentences.
- Yankees reveal Mark Teixeira’s shin injury is “more than we thought” 14
- There’s a chicken pox outbreak in the Royals’ clubhouse and multiple players are infected 23
- Shoeless Joe Jackson is not being reinstated 64
- And That Happened: Monday’s scores and highlights 66
- Cubs acquire Austin Jackson from Mariners 22
- Unknown Cuban ballplayer sleeps outside of Dodger Stadium, hoping for a tryout 34
- And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights 74
- Jake Arrieta no-hits the Dodgers with 12 strikeouts 32
- Sarah Palin sticks up for Curt Schilling, tells ESPN to “stick to sports” (266)
- Dan Patrick: When does ESPN cut ties with Curt Schilling? (202)
- Curt Schilling taken off of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball telecast this week (134)
- Joe Girardi would like Carlos Gomez to “play the game right” (97)
- And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights (87)