Hey, how about a Hall of Fame post that doesn’t cause any arguments?
Here’s a fun exercise; after seeing Paul Lo Duca‘s name on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot, I got to thinking; wouldn’t it be interesting to see a list of guys who qualified for Hall of Fame ballots who had actually played for the Washington Nationals? Mostly by the nature of the question, so far we’re talking mostly about longer-serving veterans who hooked on with the Nats late in their career within the past few years. Thanks to the mandatory 5 year waiting period after retirement and the Nats inaugural season occurring in 2005, we start by looking at the 2011 ballot and move forward:
- Carlos Baerga: signed a one year deal as a 36-yr old to join the Nats in their inaugural season and serve as a backup infielder. Hit .253 in part-time duty and hung ‘em up after a 14-year career that can be well described as “journey-man.” He was an integral part of the early 90s Cleveland Indians as their starting 2nd baseman and a 3-time all-star, and ended up playing on 6 major league teams and spent parts one season in Korea. Received Zero hall-of-fame votes.
- Vinny Castilla: signed a two year deal to join the Nats, timed with their inaugural season in Washington, but was traded to Colorado for SP Brian Lawrence when it became apparent that Ryan Zimmerman was set to man the hot corner in DC for the next decade or so. Played one more season and retired after 2006. Received Six (6) Hall-of-fame votes.
- Royce Clayton; signed a contract to be the Nats shortstop during the lean Jim Bowden years, and then was included in the Mega swap of players that headed to Cincinnati in the 2006 season. He hung around for one more season in 2007 as a backup short stop and retired afterwards. Received Zero hall-of-fame votes.
- Mike Stanton was picked up in mid 2005 after being released by the Yankees, and he pitched well enough for the Nats that he was able to fetch a couple of low-level prospects in a late September move to Boston (who was looking for some late season bullpen cover). The team then re-signed Stanton for 2006, and flipped him again mid-season, this time to the Giants for Shairon Martis. Stanton toiled a one more season before hanging them up after 2007. Received Zero hall-of-fame votes.
- Paul Lo Duca: one of Bowden’s more infamous signings; he went from our opening day catcher in the 2008 season to being released by August 1st. The highlight of his tenure here was having his name being revealed in the Mitchell Report just a couple days after signing with us. After his release, he signed on to finish out the season with Florida, took a year off and attempted a come back in 2010 (signing a ML contract with Colorado but never appearing above AAA). Hard to believe this guy was a 4-time all-star. Received Zero hall-of-fame votes.
So, thus far the Nats greatest Hall of Fame achievement is Vinny Castilla receiving 6 sympathy votes.
The next few ballots have more of the same: 2015’s features Ron Villone and Julian Tavarez and 2016’s ballot features Cristian Guzman and Jose Guillen. Not until we hit 2017 do we get our first, legitimate Hall candidate/former National in Ivan Rodriguez … and of course there’s no way he gets elected thanks to his ties to PEDs. But i’m sure it’ll be fun to write this post again next year.
Anyway; interesting topic. Now we know the answer to the trivia question, “What former Washington National has come closest to Hall of Fame election?”