Two players who have been longtime borderline candidates on the outside looking in, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte, seem to be getting closer to enshrinement these days as they continue to be dominant even as other players their age are fading away.
Joel Sherman of the NY Post wrote about the pair and their hall chances this morning:
Some players hold on and damage their career stats and potentially hurt their Hall-of-Fame candidacies. But Pettitte and Jorge Posada are adding to their borderline arguments.
Pettitte is missing overall greatness. There was probably never a season in his outstanding career in which he was viewed as one of even the five best starters in the game, though he does have five top-six finishes in the Cy Young voting. He just is not a dominant pitcher. His candidacy is will be based on consistency, accumulation and a lot of strong postseason work. But his candidacy also is going to be hurt by his HGH admission. I suspect many voters will not vote for him based on that admission and/or because they believe his usage was far greater than Pettitte has conceded.
Posada already is among the best offensive catchers in history and also has the added value of being a central member of multiple championships. But he also is lacking overall dominance and his defense is going to be a question.
As a voter, I want to see the conclusion of their careers, obviously. But I currently think they both fall just short of the Cooperstown end zone; with Posada a better candidate currently in my mind than Pettitte.
But it is fascinating how many interesting candidates have been part of recent Yankee teams. You have Pettitte and Posada plus Bernie Williams, Johnny Damon, Mike Mussina and Bobby Abreu; and you can probably throw David Wells into the discussion since his overall numbers stack up pretty well against those of Pettitte. I am not sure any of them are getting in (I rank Mussina as having the best chance), but they all have put together the kinds of careers that will make you think seriously about their place in history.
Thoughts: I think Sherman is right, there has been a decently sized group of recent Yankees that are borderline candidates and that includes Posada and Pettitte. As they stand right now they, even to a bias person such as myself, they are still probably on the outside looking in.
But as they go deeper into their careers many players who were one time peers are dropping by the way-side. In the case of Posada, it seems to me that as he goes deeper into his career guys who were once regarded as clearly better, I’m looking at Ivan Rodriguez, now don’t look that much better by comparison. Yes, obviously Pudge was once the much better player, but his offensive skills have long since declined meanwhile Posada is still an important piece of a championship caliber squad. There has to be some value to that.
Like Sherman said, I’d like to see the conclusion of their careers before making a final judgment. Fortunately for their Hall chances, their careers are still going strong even as they are approaching their forties.