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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Hall of Fame voting Day 3, my final 5 candidates

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  • Having gone over the first 12 of the 17 players I think are Hall of Fame deserving, there are just five players left. Today we will take a look at those players and their careers. The five players we are looking at today are Tim Raines, Curt Schilling, Lee Smith, Sammy Sosa, and Frank Thomas.
    Tim Raines
    The biggest thing against Raines is that he played at the same time as Rickey Henderson. While no one can be a Rickey Henderson, Raines was as close as one could get in the National League.
    Raines led the NL in stolen bases four straight years. He had six consecutive seasons with over 70 stolen bases. His 808 stolen bases rank fifth all time. He also led the league in runs scored and plate appearances twice. Additionally, he won a batting title in 1986 and led the league in doubles in 1984.
    Raines was a seven time All Star and he won the 1987 All Star MVP Award.
    While on an injury rehab assignment in 2001, Raines became the first father to play against his son in an official professional game. Later in 2001 he was traded and became just the second player in MLB history to play in a major league game with his son. He is one of only 29 players to play in the majors in four different decades (1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s).
    Raines played in one World Series. He was a member of the 1996 Yankees that beat the Atlanta Braves.
    Curt Schilling
    Schilling played for five teams during his 20 year career. During that time he won just 216 games, but managed to play on four teams that went to the World Series. Schilling won three of four World Series he played in.
    A big game pitcher, Schilling was 11-2 all time in the postseason. Schilling finished with a 4-1 record, a 2.06 ERA and 43 strikeouts in his four Fall Classics.
    Twice Schilling led the National League in strikeouts. He had three seasons with 300 or more strikeouts and struck out 3,116 batters for his career. Outside of Schilling and Randy Johnson both reached 300 punch outs in 2002, no other pitcher has come closer than 23 of the 300 mark (Yu Darvish had 277 in 2013). Schilling currently ranks 15th all time in strikeouts.
    Schilling was a six time All Star. He never won the CY Young Award, but finished as the runner-up three times. He won the NLCS MVP in 1993. Additionally, Schilling won the Babe Ruth Award, the Roberto Clemente Award, the Hutch Award, and the Branch Rickey Award in 2001. However, he did share the Babe Ruth Award with Johnson. Schilling also shared the 2001 World Series MVP Award with Johnson.
    Lee Smith
    When Smith retired from baseball, he was the all time leader in saves with 478. That's pretty remarkable considering 300 was considered to be a magic number for closers. There are currently five relievers in the Hall of Fame and Smith has recorded more saves than all of them.
    Page 2 of 3 - Smith was the first player to save over 400 games in a career. He had 20 or more saves 15 times in his career. Smith had 11 seasons with 30 or more and four consecutive years with 40-plus saves. He led MLB in saves four times.
    Smith became baseball's saves leader in 1993 and retired in 1997. He held the saves record for 14 years, until 2006 when Trevor Hoffman eclipsed it. No active closer is within 135 saves of Smith who currently ranks third on the all time list.
    Smith struck out 1,251 batters in his career and pitched in 1,022 games (good for 11th all time).
    During his career, Smith won the reliever of the year award three times. In 1991 he was runner-up in the CY Young voting. He was a seven time All Star and became the fourth player to make the All Star squad with four different teams.
    Smith never pitched in the World Series.
    Sammy Sosa
    Sosa is the only player in Major League Baseball history to hit 50 or more home runs in four straight seasons. He is also the only player to hit 60 or more in a season three times and is one of just two players to hit 60 or more in back-to-back seasons. But, during all of his career, Sosa won just two home run titles. The first was in 2000 when he hit 50 and the second was in 2002 when he had 49.
    Known as Slamming Sammy, the outfielder finished his career with 609 home runs, good for eighth all time.
    He had nine straight years of driving in over 100 runs and twice he led the league in RBI's (1998 with 158 and 2001 with 160). His 1,667 RBIs are good for 27th all time. He also led the league in runs scored three times.
    Sosa blossomed in the Windy City. He was named to seven All Star teams and won six Silver Slugger Awards. In 1998 Sosa finished second in the great home run race with Mark McGwire, but still won the National League MVP. Five other times Sosa was among the top 10 in MVP voting, including a runner-up finish in 2001.
    Frank Thomas
    If there is any offensive player on this year's list who is a no brainer, in my opinion it is Thomas.
    The former White Sox slugger crushed 521 home runs over his career and also 495 doubles. His homers rank 18th all time while his doubles are good for 63rd. Thomas' home run total is tied with Hall of Famers Willie McCovey and Ted Williams.
    Thomas had 13 seasons with 20 or more home runs. He hammered out 30 or more nine times and had five seasons with 40 or more. Thomas also had 13 seasons with 20 or more doubles. He had 10 seasons of 30-plus two-baggers and twice tallied 40 or more doubles. In 2000, Thomas had 43 home runs as well as 44 doubles.
    Page 3 of 3 - With all his big hits, Thomas drove in 1,704 runs while scoring 1,491 runs. He is 22nd all time in RBIs and 71st in runs scored. Thomas had 11 seasons with 100-plus RBIs, including eight straight. Thomas' 121 sacrifice flies are tied with hank Aaron for a career and rank him fourth all time.
    Thomas also had a very good eye at the plate. He drew 1,667 walks over his career, good for 10th in MLB history. Thomas drew more free passes in his career than he struckout. In his 19 seasons, he struck out over 100 times only three times. But Thomas wasn't just a power hitter, he could also hit for average. He won a batting title in 1997 and was the runner-up in 1996.
    Thomas was a two-time American League MVP and won four Silver Slugger awards. He was a five time All Star

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