Year Inducted: 1993 (BBWAA, ballot #1, 396/423)
Alex Rodriguez is known for many things these days. He’s known, primarily, as a steroid user and someone that wasted his talent by doing steroids. During the 2015 postseason, he appeared as a commentator on Fox Sports 1 and did a pretty decent job, reprising his role this past postseason and showing some improvement. Rodriguez was also known as a playoff choker in his career, having a career postseason OPS of “only” .822 compared to his regular season OPS of .930. However, the post season is full of small sample sizes when it comes to numbers like that, so one really good series can really boost a player’s overall numbers, just as one very poor series can cause serious damage. Sometimes, a player’s October numbers can be a primary reason why someone gets voted into the Hall of Fame, as was the case for Reginald Martinez Jackson.
Jackson, “The Straw That Stirs the Drink”, played 21 seasons in the bigs, mostly with the A’s and Yankees. Martinez really excelled at two things: hitting for power and driving in runs. In his career, he slashed .262/.356/.490 for a wRC+ of 139. Jackson clobbered 563 homers in his career, along with 463 doubles and 49 triples. He was not a terrific baserunner, but managed to be worth +2 runs on the bases while scoring 1551 runs and driving in 1702.
Jackson’s fielding was infamously bad. Like most sluggers in the outfield, he didn’t possess great range, and had poor reflexes in the field. As a result, he was worth -185 runs defensively. Every ounce of value Jackson had came from his bat.
Jackson had a reputation for coming up big in October, most notably for a 3 HR game in the World Series against the Dodgers. And, true, Jackson put up great numbers in October, but they weren’t that much different from his regular season numbers. Reggie’s October slash line was .278/.358/.527, slightly better than his regular season line, but pretty close. Based on OPS, Jackson had just as many poor series (8 times with an OPS no greater than .697) as great series (9), so results at best inconclusive as to whether or not he truly “upped his game”.
Cliches aside, Reggie was absolutely a beast of a hitter, retiring with the 6th most homers ever and ranked 15th in RBI. Jackson is one of those easy choices, where there was little thought needed to justify his induction.
Stay tuned for the next updates.
On deck 11/9/16:
#83- the best defensive SS ever
#82- the best reliever in the Hall of Fame