Who's headed to Cooperstown? (AL East edition)

Tuesday, May 05 2009 @ 10:45 PM EDT

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

Every year, we have a discussion/debate/brawl regarding who among active players is headed to enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. This year, we'll break that down into six separate discussions/debates/brawls, divided (logically enough) by division. We'll start with the home of the home nine, the A.L. East.

To be clear -- this is not a prediction or a projection, but just an off-the-top starting point. To that end, each team's Hall possibilities are broken down into five categories ...

  1. Absolute slam-dunk mortal lock, also known as The Schmidt-Seaver Level;
  2. Certainly on pace to make it, or The Rod Carew in 1977 Level;
  3. Will get some votes, but probably never get inducted, or The Steve Garvey Level;
  4. Solid player, but no real chance at enshrinement, or The Larry Bowa Level; and
  5. Too early to tell, but worth watching, or the, um, Is He Ruben Sierra or Dave Parker or Hank Aaron? Level.
That last one is the toughest. There are many players who are off to incredible, obviously Hall of Fame starts, but will they flame out like Sierra? Have a nice career but not quite Hall-worthy, like Parker? Or become part of the pantheon, like Aaron?

There are very few players in that first "slam dunk" category, meaning players who could retire right now and rest comfortably while drafting their acceptance speeches. There are just about as few in the "on pace to" category that acknowledges the current greats who just haven't been around long enough yet to get the plaque-makers busy. There are many players at the third and fourth levels -- solid, but not Hall-category guys, though some will at least get some support from voters. As for that "Too early to tell" category, it's not really at all for rookies or brand-new players; you won't see names like Lind and Snider.

In fact, the below list doesn't even really do justice to the many solid players on the teams listed -- a guy like Nick Swisher, for instance, doesn't bear mentioning, though honestly, if he was an Oriole, he might have been listed just so their categories weren't completely barren. (Again, this is all pretty random. Feel free to jump in with "How could you not even mention ...?")

The list only considers active players, though if you really want to make a shout-out for a manager, umpire, front office guy or even a recently-retired player, please feel free to do so.

One final note -- there is no consideration given below to whether or not a player also belongs in The Mark McGwire Level ... use of PEDs, suspected, confirmed, or even admitted, is not one of our criteria.

Methodology... I scanned rosters and drew unscientifc, non-statistical knee-jerk conclusions. You got a problem with that? I freely admit this almost certainly missed someone(s) really obvious, that I misplaced/miscategorized others, etc. So what? This is a discussion starter. Go to it!