Single page view By David Schoenfield
Page 2

When Al Gore invented the Internet, I think he had the Baseball Hall of Fame on his mind.

STATISTICAL KEY
OPS = on-base percentage + slugging percentage
OPS+ = Adjusted OPS, compares a player's OPS to his league average, with 100 being average and 110 being 10 percent better than average, etc.
ERA+ = Adjusted ERA, compares a pitcher's ERA to his league average, with 100 being average and 110 being 10 percent better than average, etc.

OPS+ and ERA+ taken from Baseball-reference.com

There are Web sites pleading the cases for Jim Rice, Dale Murphy, Ron Santo and others. When Rafael Palmeiro reached the 3,000-hit level recently, everyone from Bangor to Bimini had an opinion on his Hall of Fame candidacy and used the Internet to voice it.

Fans care passionately about this. Thousands will make their way to Upstate New York this weekend for the induction of Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg. The rest of us will spend our spare time on the Web with this great debate: Which of today's major leaguers will end up in Cooperstown?

In 1955, when there were only 16 teams, 33 active major leaguers were playing who eventually made the Hall, an average of 2.1 players per team.

In 1965, there were 20 teams and 34 future Hall of Famers, plus Pete Rose -- 1.75 per team.

In 1975, there were 24 teams and 31 Hall of Famers (so far), plus Rose -- 1.29 per team.

In 1985, there were 26 teams and 21 Hall of Famers (so far), plus Rose and certain future inductees Rickey Henderson, Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn and Roger Clemens -- 1.0 per team.

Based on the historical trends, about 40 currently active majors leaguers will be elected to Cooperstown eventually. So I've crunched the numbers, studied the tendencies, pulled out some crazy predictions and peered into the future.

Vote: Cooperstown Cut
You've heard the pitch. Are some rule changes in order?
Vote: Who would you send to the Hall?


In the next two days, then, we'll reveal our rankings of the 40 current players who will get their plaques in the Hall of Fame. We're starting with the easier ones today: the top 20. It really gets interesting Friday with Nos. 21-40. Those are the guys who make the greatest debates.

1. Roger Clemens and 2. Barry Bonds
The only questions left with these two: Is Clemens the greatest pitcher of all time? And: Has Rick Reilly already written his "Why Bonds doesn't deserve to go into the Hall of Fame" column?

3. Greg Maddux
His 1992-95 peak, when he won four straight Cy Young Awards with a 1.56 ERA in '94 and 1.63 in '95, matches up with the greatest peak value of any pitcher.

4. Tom Glavine
Glavine has 269 wins and his career is winding down (wait, make that "his career is about to hit a brick wall"), so it appears he'll fall just short of the automatic 300-win barrier. No doubt, many electors -- especially those who used to pour down beers with Cy Young and Lefty Grove -- will disqualify Glavine because of that. After all, no starting pitcher with fewer than 300 wins has been voted in by the writers since Fergie Jenkins in 1991. That's insane. Glavine has won 20 games five times and has two Cy Youngs, finishing in the top three in four other years. He has a 2.47 ERA in eight World Series starts, including a one-hitter in the clinching game in 1995. He's a lock.

Continued...


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