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Fred McGriff    

As Fred McGriff made an attempt to hit 500 career home runs, a debate began as to whether 500 was still a magic number for Hall of Fame entry.

As Fred McGriff made an attempt to hit 500 career home runs, a debate began as to whether 500 was still a magic number for Hall of Fame entry. Sadly the message was a clear one; if Fred McGriff can get there maybe the number just doesn’t hold the same meaning.

Fred McGriff did not reach 500 homers as he fell seven short, thus ending the aforementioned debate. The man dubbed the “Crime Dog” may have been a two time Home Run champion but he was not always considered among the upper echelon of power hitters. Perhaps it was because he played first base in a time of powerful first basemen (hence only five All Star appearances), or in the midst of the steroid era where he posted traditional Home Run figures at a time when freakish power numbers occurred. Regardless, McGriff was a very capable power hitter who was an asset to any lineup he played on.

Would his chances improve had he reached 500? It probably would. Likely what holds his chances back even further is that he was perceived as being too one dimensional. His fielding was average at best, and he was not going to win games with his speed. Despite a long career, he never played longer than five seasons with any team and thus lacked the set identity with any franchise. Statistically speaking, he does rank with other first basemen in the Hall, but he also does with a few left out. If McGriff had just one more intangible voters wouldn’t be on the fence with him like they are now.

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