Delgado Isn’t on the Ballot?
When I was reviewing the 2016 Hall of Fame ballot, one name was conspicuously missing: Carlos Delgado. I knew he retired in 2009 and was never able to play again. I figured it was an error. Nope. Somehow , Delgado only received 3.8% of the vote. How is that possible?
I’m not saying he’s a Hall of Famer. I’m saying it’s up for legitimate debate. Over his career, his 162 game averages were .280/.383/.546 with 38 homeruns and 120 RBIs. THAT’S HIS AVERAGE! Overall, he would finish with 473 homeruns and 1,512 RBIs in 17 years in the big leagues. Look, I know he played in an offensive era, but those numbers are other worldly. I don’t know why 96.2% of the voters couldn’t give him more consideration.
Maybe it’s because he fell one healthy season short of 500 homeruns. Every clean player with 500 homeruns has been elected to the Hall of Fame. Maybe it’s because he spent too much of his career in Canada. Gary Carter seemingly had the same problem, but he had one or two more signature moments with the Mets than Delgado did. Maybe if the Mets win the World Series in 2006 the voters would’ve looked at him differently.
What I do know is Delgado was a feared slugger. When the Mets obtained him in 2006, they went from a .500 club to contenders. Once Willie Randolph slotted him in that cleanup spot, the Mets took off, and Delgado was excelling in his first opportunity to play for a contender. In the 2006 postseason, he went off hitting .351/.442/.757 with three doubles, four homers and 11 RBIs.
I remember him struggling in the beginning of 2008 wondering if this was it for him. He only hit .248/.328/.455 in the first half, and I’m not even sure he was that good. With a .500 team that collapsed the prior year and in need of a spark, especially, with a fired manager, Delgado came in like a raging inferno. In the second half, he hit .303/.386/.606 with 21 homers. He willed the Mets into contention.
Sadly, his career and the stretch of good Mets baseball would end when Delgado needed hip surgery due to bone spurs and a torn labrum. Delgado did not get the chance to go out on his own terms. He deserved better than that much like he deserved more than the paltry 3.8% of the vote he received last year.
In any event, I’m happy Delgado came to the Mets. He retired as one of the top 3 first baseman in Mets history. He may belong to the Blue Jays, but he will always be a Met in my book. Hopefully, the Mets will induct him into the Mets Hall of Fame. It’s not the same as Cooperstown, but it’s something.
Unfortunately, Delgado will no longer be on the ballot. We all lose because of this. We lose because we can’t have intelligent debates over whether or not he belongs in Cooperstown. We lose because we can’t re-live his career highlights. We lose because a great player and a good man was slighted.
There are debates to be had on the players on the 2016 ballot. For the life of me, I can’t wrap my head around the fact that Carlos Delgado isn’t one of them.