The 2020 Hall of Fame (HOF) class is starting to garner some attention, especially with a tweet from Steven Marcus posting that he would only vote for Derek Jeter.
With the New York Yankees bias out there, I started to think about how many Toronto Blue Jays were quickly overlooked in Hall of Fame voting.
In 2015, Carlos Delgado was put on the election ballot for the first and last time after receiving just 3.8% of the vote, which was shy of the 5% minimum to remain the following year. This was for a guy with 473 home runs and one of the true power hitters not accused of taking performance-enhancing drugs during the steroid era.
Looking more into Delgado’s career he was not only one of the better power hitters of his generation, but he could have potentially walked away with a couple of AL-MVP titles.
In my opinion, the greatest hitter in Blue Jays history Delgado kept up his high level of production for nine full seasons. The catcher turned left fielder, turned first basemen was an amazing player over some dark years in the Blue Jays franchise. Over his nine-year span with the Blue Jays, Delgado averaged 38 doubles, 36 home runs, 114 RBI and a .286 average that included two All-Star appearances, three Silver Slugger Awards and he finished top four in MVP voting twice.
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The year 2000 was arguably Delgado’s best season when he led the league in doubles (57) to go with 41 home runs, 137 RBI and a .344 batting average. That year Delgado finished fourth in AL-MVP voting, which was behind both Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez who have admitted to steroid use. Frank Thomas was the other player in the top four who finished ahead of Delgado in voting and like Delgado was never suspected of steroid use.
In 2000, Delgado finished just two homers and six RBI behind Thomas, but Delgado finished 16 points higher in batting average and had 13 more doubles. It would have been an extremely close race between Thomas and Delgado for the true AL-MVP if you took out the cheaters.
Three years later, Delgado finished the season with 38 doubles, 42 home runs, 145 RBI and a .302 average. Delgado led the league in both RBI and OPS, which had him finishing second in AL-MVP voting; behind the face of steroid use Alex Rodriguez. That year, outside of Rodriguez there was no other player even close to Delgado’s season, no other player finished with 40+ home runs. When it came to run production of the next five players in voting, Nomar Garciaparra finished closest in RBI, a mere 40 RBI behind Delgado.
In the four seasons following Delgado’s departure from Toronto, he finished with 33+ home runs and 114+ RBI in three of those seasons. The decade of steroid use shadowed a player who played the game clean, fair and proper.
When you compare Delgado’s career totals of 483 doubles, 473 home runs, 1,512 RBI and .280 average he is on par with recent Hall of Fame inductees Harold Baines, Edgar Martinez, Alan Trammell, and Jeff Bagwell. With those statistics, he should not have had one induction opportunity.
Do you think Carlos Delgado deserved a better chance at the Hall of Fame, would have one or two more AL-MVP awards helped his cause?