It’s funny, but there’s a lot of what-ifs in our 2007 bunch, despite some easy, slam-dunk Hall of Famers. Even among them, actually.
For example, what if Mark McGwire could have stayed healthy from 1993 to 1995? There’s probably 65 “missing” home runs there.
What if Tony Gwynn had the ability to control his weight during his 30s? He probably lost almost a season’s worth of games and dozens of runs of fielding value to his fork. He’s still an easy HoMer, but you wonder.
What if Eric Davis had been made of something other than peanut brittle? And hadn’t gotten colon cancer, too.
What if Tony Fernandez hadn’t been knocked silly by Bill Madlock and later hit in the face by Cecilo Guante?
What if Lou Piniella hadn’t ill-advisedly tried to turn Paul O’Neill into a pull hitter and left him to succeed with his natural swing? [By the way, the Reds of the 1980s came up with Davis, O’Neill, Barry Larkin, Chris Sabo, Tom Browning, John Franco, Kal Daniels, Nick Esasky, Jeff Montgomery, and Rob Dibble, not bad.]
Well, it’s not the Hall of What Almost Happened that we’re electing here. But sometimes you wonder in what string-theory-predicted universe Tony Fernandez doesn’t get rolled by the Mad Dog, builds on the huge growth of his 1987 season (as the Jays win the AL East, of course), and goes on to hit well enough for years that he’s a Hall-level player.
F= Hall of Fame member
M = Hall of Merit member
S = Hall of Stats member
NEW FOR 2007
David Cone (M,S)
Tony Gwynn (F,M,S)
Mark McGwire (M,S)
Cal Ripken (F,M,S)