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Fred McGriff elected to Hall of Fame

McGriff was elected unanimously by the Contemporary Era committee

Fred McGriff

Fred McGriff is going to be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

On Sunday night it was announced that Fred McGriff had been voted unanimously into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the 16-member Contemporary Era committee, which is made up of other Hall of Famers, league executives, and veteran media members.

Players were required to receive at least 12 votes in order to be enshrined, with McGriff being the only player on the eight player ballot to meet this criteria, receiving 16 votes. Don Mattingly received the next highest with 8 votes, Curt Schilling had seven, and Dale Murphy six. The remaining four (Albert Belle, Barry Bonds, Rogers Clemens, and Rafael Palmeiro) all received less than four.

Fred McGriff becomes the second player to have played for the Rays in a regular season game (looking at you Roberto Alomar, Spring Training 2005) and be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, joining Wade Boggs, who was a teammate of McGriff’s in Tampa Bay during the 1998 and 1999 seasons.

McGriff was originally drafted by the New York Yankees in 1981, but would only spend a year in their system before being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, with whom he enjoyed the best regular season numbers of his career.

After a solid rookie campaign in 1987, McGriff became a star in the following seasons as he hit .283/.392/.535 with 105 HR from 1988 to 1990. Then, in an All-Star laden trade that featured Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter, McGriff was sent to San Diego along with Tony Fernandez. During his time as a Padre, McGriff hit .281/.388/.519 with 84 HR from the start of the 1991 season until he was traded on July 18th, 1993 to the Atlanta Braves.

It was with Atlanta, that McGriff established himself as a legend, providing his usual consistency offensively during the regular season and then dominating during the postseason.

The Atlanta Braves were in the midst of a historic run of playoff appearances and McGriff was right at the center of it. He would play in 45 postseason games for Atlanta from 1993 to 1997, hitting .323/.411/.581 with 10 HR over 197 plate appearances. Thanks in part to his efforts, the Braves would win the 1995 World Series.

During the 1997-1998 offseason, the Braves would sell McGriff’s contract to the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays allowing McGriff to play for his hometown team during their inaugural season.

While Tampa Bay would dwell in the cellar for McGriff’s tenure with the team, it wasn’t due to his lack of production as the Crime Dog would continue to provide solid campaigns.

From the start of the 1998 season until he was traded to the Chicago Cubs on July 27th, 2001, McGriff hit .295/.384/.491 with 97 HR over 2,318 plate appearances.

McGriff would enjoy the last above average season of his career while as a member of the Cubs in 2002, hitting .273/.353/.505 with 39 HR over 595 plate appearances. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 2003 season, but struggled and played in just 86 games. It was the first time in his career that he failed to play in over 100 games in a season.

In 2004, just nine homeruns shy of the 500-HR club, McGriff joined the Devil Rays once again but would muster just 2 longballs over 81 plate appearances before being released in July, officially ending his legendary career.

During McGriff’s 19 years in MLB he would win three Silver Sluggers and was a five-time All-Star. He was the first player in the modern era to lead both the American League and National League in homeruns in separate years as well as the first player to hit at least 30 homeruns in a season with five different teams.

McGriff was first eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2010, but failed to garner the necessary 75% of total votes by the BBWAA to be enshrined. McGriff would top out at 39.4% of the votes in 2019, ending his chances of being elected by the BBWAA and moving on the Contemporary Era Committee for the first time this winter.