Salvy Someday to Cooperstown?

Jun 21, 2016 -- 10:48am

By Chad Rader
810whb.com Site Editor

 

Any statements about the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Royals historically have stopped and started with two words:

George Brett

After then, perhaps a couple of players have stirred early thoughts of finishing their career with a speech at Cooperstown. Bret Saberhagen. Carlos Beltran.

Heck, from 1995-2010, it was tough to foresee the next player just in the Royals Hall of Fame. After Mike Sweeney retired, there weren’t even many Royals who played more than five years. Let alone put up any worthy numbers. To even think Kansas City would produce a Baseball Hall of Famer, well, that was laughable.

Until now, and while the roster is filled with future Royals Hall of Famers, it only has one with a true – and legit – shot as a Major League Baseball Hall of Famer.  

For most the Royals, the Eric Hosmers, Alex Gordons and Lorenzo Cains aren’t piling up big offensive numbers to project as Hall of Famers. Yes, Hosmer has a lot of career left, but first base is such a tough position to make the HOF without 500 homers or a few MVPs. Otherwise, Hosmer probably projects as another Will Clark with many strong years, postseason moments but not the big career numbers to stack with the first base greats.

To make the Baseball Hall of Fame, one has to combine stats at the top of his position with either longevity, big playoff moments or intangibles off the chart.

Of course, George Brett had all of these. Some just had a longevity, solid numbers and were on memorable winners (Tony Perez, Catfish Hunter), a very good player who hit big milestones (Robin Yount, Craig Biggio with 3,000+ hits apiece) or just token Chicago Cubs (Ron Santo, Billy Williams).

One Royal does have an early graph towards joining Brett in Cooperstown:

Salvador Perez

While its early in his career, Perez is on track for many nice landmarks for the position:

 

Gold Gloves

Perez already has three at ages 23, 24 and 25. But this isn’t always a benchmark for the position to get into the Hall of Fame.

Only six catchers have won more than four Gold Gloves. Yet only one (Johnny Bench – 10) is in the HOF, with Ivan Rodriguez and Yadier Molina to be determined.

For that matter, 20 catchers have won the Gold Glove 3 times, but only two (Bench, Gary Carter) are currently in the Hall.

If we count Ivan Rodriguez as a HOFer, then only 3 of 20 have made the HOF and it isn’t a serious factor as one would think in HOF voting.

Only five catchers have won 6+ Gold Gloves. Rodriguez (13), Bench (10) lead the list, with Molina (8) perhaps approaching 10 total. After then, irony for KC with Bob Boone (7) and Jim Sundberg (6).

 

All-Star appearances

Assuming Perez makes the All-Star Game, which as the leading overall vote getter should be a no-brainer, Perez already has four ASG appearances – by age 26.

Other full-time* catchers: Yogi Berra (15), Johnny Bench (14), Ivan Rodriguez (14), Mike Piazza (12), Gary Carter (11), Carlton Fisk (11), Roy Campanella (8).

All are in the Hall of Fame.

*Elston Howard had 9, but his first three ASG’s years averaged less than 50 games at catcher. Howard didn’t make the HOF.

And just because Salvy is the leading vote-getter doesn’t necessarily mean anything. The likes of Davey Lopes, Josh Hamilton, Jose Bautista (twice) have led the majors in votes. But for the most part, there have been many Ken Griffey Jrs, Cal Ripkens, Joe Morgans, Reggie Jacksons and even three catchers in Ivan Rodriguez, Gary Carter and Joe Mauer.

Which the fact the two retired catchers who have led the All-Star Game in voting in the last 30 years each made the Hall of Fame may say something in itself. That’s how dominant a catcher is during his time, to lead the ASG in voting.

Let’s go overall. In MLB history, 64 players have made the All-Star Game roster 10 or more times. Excluding being banned (Pete Rose), steroids (Bonds, McGwire) or not being voted on yet (A-Rod, Manny Ramirez), only two  aren’t in the Hall. Steve Garvey and … catcher Bill Freehan.

 

Playing on a Winner

While many players have made the Hall of Fame while not playing for perennial championship teams, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Being a fixture of “that era the Royals won” will help Salvy.

Another 1-2 postseasons will have Perez. Because being part of "an era" does make a difference, as below with say a Lance Parrish vs possibly Jorge Posada into the Hall of Fame.

Finally, having a World Series win over a New York team also will help. As we know, Brett's heroics over New York only boosted his lore come voting time. While Perez didn't have the signature moment (but was a part of it) vs the Mets, it still helps the World Championship came against the Mets instead of being vs Atlanta or Milwaukee.

 

Offensive numbers

Salvy needs to approach 250 homers to be a 100% lock. But compared to his position, 250 homers and say 8 Gold Gloves and 8-10 All-Star Game appearances would be enough.

First, a look at Hall of Fame catchers and their numbers in the past 50 years.

Yogi Berra: 358 HRs, 1430 RBI

Johnny Bench: 389 HRs, 1376 RBI

Carlton Fisk: 376 HRs, 1330 RBI

Gary Carter: 324 HRs, 1225 RBI

Mike Piazza: 427 HRs, 1335 RBI

*Ivan Rodriguez: 311 HRs, 1332 RBI

 

Yes, a short list. Ivan Rodriguez theoretically would be another, but hard to say what the view of the ‘roids era will take on him. But he should be clear.

But while Perez is 26 and looks on a good track, here are a few others that looked the part at the same stage:

 

 

 All-StarGold GlovesHRRBIAwards
Benito Santiago3375333ROY
After 3 straight AS and GGs, Santiago made another AS the next year, then just one more at 37 years old. He also didn't win another GG after 26 years old.
Lance Parrish20102328 
Parrish went on to 8 All-Stars and 3 GGs, while piling up 324 HRs and 1070 RBI over 19 years. Parrish may represent what Perez could be and NOT make the HOF
Charles Johnson1463201 
CJ was a member of the World Champion Florida team, but didn't win another GG and just one ASG appearance
Joe Mauer3272397MVP, 3 BA titles
Mauer looked like a certain HOF'er with an MVP, 3 batting titles by 26. But didn't hit well since
Buster Posey2061263ROY, MVP
Posey lost a year with a broken leg, but since has put up big numbers and on 3 World Champions
Salvador Perez4490359 

 

Let’s assume Perez finishes with 24 HRs and 80 RBI, he’ll be at the following after the age of 26:

HRs: 90
RBI: 359

Now let’s say over the next 10 years, with some big years, but some injuries, he averages 15 HRs and 70 RBI:

HR: 240
RBI: 1059

 

Perez would need to average 20 HRs for the next 10 years, and 80 RBI  to get to the 300-HR, 1300-RBI mark as the other current Hall of Fame catchers (plus Ivan Rodriguez).

 

Others to compare by pure numbers:

Lance Parrish (1977-1995)
324 HRs, 1070 RBI
8 All-Star Games
3 Gold Gloves
1 World Series ring
1 postseason

 

Perhaps Parrish got overlooked, especially when compared to Gary Carter (just 3 Gold Gloves), the numbers are VERY similar.

---

Another name, and on many winners:

Jorge Posada (New York Yankees, 1995-2011)
275 HRs, 1065 RBI
5 All-Star Games
0 Gold Gloves
4 World Series
14 postseasons

 

If Posada makes the Hall of Fame, that actually may help Salvy in two regards. 1) the bar is lowered for offensive numbers 2) the Hall is more open to catchers than averaging about 1 per every 10 years. 

---

And back to:

Bill Freehan (Detroit, 1961-1976)
200 HRs, 758 RBI
11 All-Star Games
5 Gold Gloves
1 World Series title
1 postseason

Freehan has the ASGs and a good number of Gold Gloves, but shows that the offense is a must.

So there isn’t any certain plateaus that if Perez hits, he’ll make. But getting to 300 homers and 1,300 RBI certainly will seal the deal. If 250 homers, then will need to stack up around 8 Gold Gloves and 8-10 All-Star Games to offset falling shy of 300/1,300.

 

Against His Peers

The final hurdle to be looked at is, how did he stack up at his position? Was he the dominant player at his position, or top 2-3 and deserving of the Hall of Fame?

Buster Posey

Posey will be Salvy’s biggest threat, if it became and either-or situation. Even with big years, Posey still sits at 110 homers in his age 29 year, and would need to average 20 homers per year for a decace in a giant ballpark to get to 300. While Gold Gloves aren’t a big factor for the Hall (see Carter or Piazza), Posey essentially only had one full MLB year before the age of 25, which will hurt the overall career numbers.

Joe Mauer

Mauer once led the majors in All-Star votes (2010), won the MVP in 2009 and three batting titles – all by age 26. But then he failed to hit more than 11 homers in a year, and just over 10 three times. Perez could pass Mauer in career homers by the age of 28.

While on three post-season teams, and likely will end up with a batting average over .300, Mauer may not even clip 150 homers, and that’s tough sledding on a Hall of Fame ballot.

Yadier Molina

Molina has the All-Star numbers (7) and Gold Gloves (8) along with postseasons (8) along with World Series (4) and titles (2) and to make some noise. But his offense is offensive with just 101 HRs and 669 RBI, and looks more like the next Bill Freehan of his era.

 

With the early jump on his career, Perez looks to have a 30-homer, 100-RBI jump on Buster Posey. He likely blows out the other two, though Mauer (MVP, 3 batting titles) and Molina (postseasons) have a decent debate.

But in the end, perhaps like Piazza and Posey, or Fisk, Bench and Carter, there’s no reason why Posey and Perez both can’t be in the Hall of Fame.

 

Overall

A few obvious factors for Perez have to happen:

-          Stay healthy

-          Stay productive

-          10 All-Star Games

-          8 Gold Gloves

-          300 homers

-          1,200 RBI

-          Make another 1-2 postseasons

 

Although, Perez could reach 250 homers and 1,000 RBI, and if he reaches either 10 All-Star Games or 8 Gold Gloves, there hasn't been a catcher denied yet of the Hall of Fame with either of the ASG or GG totals. Then with 250/1000 and 8/8, Perez should be in.

Perez is on a right track though and you being to wonder, will someone be dumping a water cooler on Salvy in Cooperstown someday?

 

Chad Rader serves as the site editor of 810whb.com and oversees 810 Varsity. Rader can be followed at @810varsity or @chadrader

 

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