2016 Canadian draft list
Letters of Intent
Delgado headlines an impressive class of 2015 Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductees
By Andrew Hendriks
In an age where advanced statistics, performance metrics and general analytics have changed not only the way we view the game but also the individuals who play it, it’s difficult to ignore the facts
That said, with regards to the overall numbers, there is one Blue Jays power hitter who stands head and shoulders above the rest and for his outstanding efforts over a MLB career that lasted 17 seasons, the former slugging first baseman is set to receive Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame honors this June.
Between 1993 and 2004, Carlos Delgado produced franchise bests in doubles (343), OPS (.949), total bases (2786), runs scored (889), home runs (336), RBIs (1058), and a handful of other individual club batting records en route to posting an offensive wins above replacement total of 39.1 in 6018 career plate appearances as a Blue Jay.
And he accumulated those totals by playing the game with a sense of both class and dignity.
Having predominately appeared during an era in which numbers were often inflated by the widespread usage of performance enhancing drugs, not once was the three time Silver Slugger accused of any wrong doing both inside and beyond the foul lines.
An established leader both on and off the diamond, Delgado’s untainted performance certainly provided a legitimate case for Cooperstown when he became eligible for election this past January.
Vitals: 2035 major league games played, two All Star selections, 473 home runs and a career slashline of .280/.383/.586.
Did he win a league MVP title?
No … but in 2003, the former Epy Guerrero discovery recorded both a better batting average and OPS while driving in in an additional 27 runs more than Alex Rodriguez, the Rangers shortstop who took home the Kenesaw Mountain Landis award for that season, one vote ahead of the Blue Jays first sacker.
Was he ever considered to be the main catalyst on a club that made a deep postseason run?
No … but as a 21 year old, the Aguadilla, P.R. native did receive a World Series ring for appearing with the Jays’ in two games at the end of 1993’s regular season prior to emerging as a pivotal cog in Toronto’s offensive attack throughout his tenure with the club.
Did he play a premium defensive position?
No … after breaking into the majors as a catcher, Delgado was moved to the outfield and later transferred to first base in an attempt to protect the six-foot-three slugger from injury. That said, he did appear in 1078 of Toronto’s 1134 games between 1997 and 2003.This total serves as a credit to his durability in the field considering how the vast majority of those games were played at first.
Did he deserve more than 3.8% of the votes on this years Cooperstown ballot?
Generally speaking, Delgado fell victim to a difficult voting process during his first and only election consideration earlier this year.
Simply put, the ballot was stacked.
Perhaps hinting at just how potent 2015’s version of the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot truly was, the Baseball Writers Association of America elected four individuals in second baseman, Craig Biggio and a cast of former Cy Young Award winners including John Smoltz, Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson, marking the first time since 1955 in which four players were elected from a single class.
In essence, qualified voters are allowed to select 10 candidates for each of their respective ballots and with such standouts as Tim Raines, Mike Piazza, Alan Trammell, Jeff Bagwell and Larry Walker all remaining in the mix at the time of this year’s ballot, in addition to the four selected, room on the 2015 selection card was sparse to say the least.
Had Delgado been able to garner an additional seven votes from the legions of baseball scribes and media personalities involved in the selection process, he would have reached the five percent mark, thus keeping him eligible for next year’s class.
Unfortunately, those who fail to record the 5% mark fall off the ballot.
“If the 300+ home runs come while playing for New York, I bet things would have been different for him” said a former teammate of Delgado’s when asked about the ballot shortly after the totals were released to the public this January.
Perhaps that teammate, who’s numbers benefited greatly by having Delgado’s bat penciled in behind him on the Jays’ lineup card in 1999, was on to something.
Some suggest how due to the fact that Delgado put up the best numbers of his professional career while playing not only for a Canadian team, but also one that remained outside of the playoff picture and, in turn, outside of the American spotlight for the majority of his tenure, his overall chances were hindered.
After all, baseball is the American game. Right?
Still, Delgado’s efforts didn’t go completely unnoticed as his Ruthian style of play inspired a plethora of young Canadian ballplayers who tuned in nightly to watch the Blue Jays attempt to reach the pinnacle once again.
Of the countless Canadian ballplayers influenced by Delgado’s heroics, major leaguers in George Kottaras, Michael Saunders, Joey Votto, Russell Martin, Jim Adduci and Dalton Pompey stand out among the masses.
Is he a Canadian citizen?
No … but but he did play his first professional game on Canadian soil (St Catharines, 1989) and for playing a pivotal role as the cornerstone in Toronto’s lineup during the years that followed the World Series triumphs, in addition to his his continued efforts within the Canadian community in regards to helping grow the game from coast to coast, Delgado will be elected into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame this July.
“Carlos Delgado was the premier slugger for the Blue Jays for over a decade, taking over for (Canadian) Hall of Famer, Joe Carter as the top power hitter in Canada” said Scott Crawford, Director of Operations for the Canadian ball hall. “His never ending smile, his penchant for giving back to the community and his long home runs made Canadians kids pick up their bats and want to swing like Carlos.”
Joining Delgado, 2015’s class of inductees includes fellow Blue Jays alumni, Matt Stairs (St. Johns, N.B.) and Corey Koskie (Anola, M.B.) former Expos manager, Felipe Alou, who like Delgado, has earned a spot in the Canadian hall due to his contributions to the sport, north of the border, as well as Bob Elliot (Kingston, Ont.) columnist with the Toronto Sun/founder of the Canadian Baseball Network.
More information regarding this years induction ceremony and its corresponding events can be found on the Hall of Fames website http://baseballhalloffame.ca/
-Follow Andrew Hendriks on Twitter (@77hendriks)