It may be odd for any discussion to focus on baseball when most of the country is suffering through an arctic freeze. Despite that, the honorees for Baseball’s Hall of Fame Class of 2014 will be announced later this week. It is a forgone conclusion that Greg Maddux will be in on his first ballot and teammate Tom Glavine will likely be joining him. So, too, will be slugger Frank Thomas. But what about former members of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are yet to place their first inductee into The Hall?
This year, Luis Gonzales is eligible for the first time and Curt Schiling is now in his second year of eligibility. In D-Back franchise history, both stand prominently. Gonzo is the D-Backs’ all-time leader in career home runs, runs batted in, doubles and walks, to name a few. His performance over the course of the 2001 season is one for ages, playing in 162 games, batting .325, driving in 142 runs and going yard 57 times, a team record. But his career numbers are nowhere near Hall-worthy. As for Schilling, his name appears on almost all franchise records for pitchers. He is third in Diamondback history in wins (58), complete games (18), shut-outs (5), and strikeouts (875). A remarkable footnote to these numbers is that Schilling did this in only 3 1/2 seasons as a member of the D-Backs.
Both Gonzo and Schilling are also a significant part of major league post-season history. Gonzo will always be remembered for a bloop single against baseball’s greatest closer (Mariano Rivera) in one of the greatest world series ever played. Schilling’s post-season credentials are even more impressive, compiling an overall record of 11-2 during his time in the majors, four victories while in Arizona and six wins in Boston, including the “bloody sock” game.
Yet Gonzo will never be a hall of famer and Schilling likely won’t have his number called this season when the likes of Maddux and Glavine are on the ballot. Further, despite growing up in the Valley, it is unlikely that Schilling would enter The Hall as a D-Back. The team identification for inductees is determined by the executives of the Hall of Fame and not the player. Would they decide that Schilling goes in as a member of the Phillies,, where he spent almost half his career, a D-Back, for whom he started only 107 of his 438 games, or as a member of the Red Sox?
In any event, do not despair D-Back fan; all will be addressed by the Class of 2015. Randy Johnson will have his first year of eligibility one year from now and I am betting the farm on two things: First, The Big Unit will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Second, despite playing for six franchises during his career (10 of which were with the Seattle Mariners and only 8 were in Arizona) he will be adorned in a Diamondback uniform when his Cooperstown statue is created. This is one time where the saying “wait until next year” is not such a bad thing.