Who is it? Before you look down at the rest of the article, let's take a look at this particular ballplayer's statline, remaining unbiased to start;
- .280 career batting average
- .386 on-base percentage
- .549 slugging average
- 431 homeruns
- 1,374 runs batted in
- 1,130 runs scored
- 1,848 hits
- 139 OPS+
And some other stats:
- 3 Silver Sluggar Awards
- 2 Top 5 MVP finishes
- 3 Top 6 MVP finishes
- 5 Top 12 MVP finishes
- 10 consecutive seasons with at least 30 homeruns with 90+ RBI
- One Hank Aaron Award
- Currently has the 17th best at-bat per rbi ratio of all-time
- Currently has the 19th best homerun percentage of all-time
- Currently has the 33rd best OPS of all-time
- Currently has the 28th best slugging average of all-time
- Currently has the 15th best isolated power average (slg minus batting avg): This number is better than Ken Griffey Jr, Sammy Sosa, Mike Schmidt, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Harmon Killebrew, Joe DiMaggio, and Hank Aaron
Do you know who it is?
The numbers don't lie, they are impressive, but are they Hall worthy? In any other era, these numbers would almost guarantee a plaque in Cooperstown, but now, a lot more is expected out of first baseman. No, these numbers don't compare with Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Hank Greenburg, or other truly legendary first baseman, but when they are more deeply looked at, they could turn a few heads.
Carlos has shown decline in the past few seasons, but he is 36 years old, and that is expected. The average is dropping lower, as is the power, but he is only 69 homers away from the magic 500 mark. He can easily get there with 2 more solid seasons or 3 average ones like he had last year. He can still play the field, and he can still hit and possibly accept a DH role in his future.
He is arguably one of if not the best offensive player in Toronto history, and although he has not gained notoriety through all-star appearances, world championships, or MVP awards, the numbers are there, and across the board, his power ranks among the best of all-time.
Was he ever the best player any year? You can argue that for 2000 when he hit .344, had 41 homers, and slugged .664 when he lost the MVP to Jason Giambi (.333, 43 homers, .647 slg, and, y'know, steroids). Is he the best run producer of his generation, no? Is he the best power hitter, no? Is he the best first baseman of his generation, no?
Have his career numbers that are still climbing in key categories, along with a consistent string of 10 tremendous seasons from 1997-2006 (1996 was his first full year in the majors, 25 homers and 92 RBI), to his worst season thus far in 2007 at the age of 35 (24 HR, 87 RBI, .258 avg), given him the worthiness to enter Cooperstown? Well, that's up for debate.
I may like the Mets in the National League, but personally, I have no real fan connection to Delgado as I do with Manny Ramirez, David Wright, or any other players that I truly love to watch and respect, but with those numbers, it would be difficult to ignore for the BBWAA come voting time.
When people look at Carlos Delgado right now, nobody really says "there's a future Hall of Famer," but maybe they should.