Earlier this evening I happened upon MLB.com trying to quickly catch up on anything missed from the long weekend. In so doing, I landed on this piece that chronicled the warm reception Nomar received upon his first trip back to Fenway since being traded back in 2004. It was nice to hear of the ovations for a guy who owned Boston for an extended period of time. To be honest, it served to remind me that Nomar Garciaparra, not too long ago one of the most feared hitters in the game, was still playing in the majors (albeit sparingly for the Oakland A’s).
No one can argue Nomar’s greatness – particularly as it relates to his time in Boston. Recalling his heyday also forced me to do what fans often due when trying to assess a player’s ultimate legacy or historical standing – consult the stats.
Which is how we landed at one of the favorite topics of baseball fan debate – a question that in only three words can spark the most vociferous responses in all of sports: Hall of Famer? The factors and considerations are plentiful. Do we look at Nomar as a shortstop exclusively? How does one factor injuries into the equation? And, what is frequently becoming a HOF credentials pre-requisite query for players of this era, well, you know…
HOF arguments often begin and end with the numbers. So, at the very least, that’s where I started. Twenty-one shortstops currently boast residences in Cooperstown. Here’s where Nomar Garciaparra ranks (in a few categories) among that group if his career ended today:
HRs: 228, 4th (behind Banks, Ripken and Yount)
BA: .313, 3rd (behind only Honus Wagner and Arky Vaughan)
We’ll spare you the complete rundown and comparisons. But consider these additional Nomar notables:
6 All-Star appearances
2 AL batting titles
1998: Finished second in MVP voting
This, of course, is just a sprinkling of stats and accolades. Take a deeper look. Then, we just want one simple word in the comments. Yes or no. Is Nomar Garciaparra deserving of a spot in Cooperstown?
My vote? A fairly assertive…no. On account mainly of lack of consistency and longevity at his peak performance levels. What say you?
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About the Author: Cecilio's Scribe is the founder of The Legend of Cecilio Guante and a generally pessimistic fan of the Mets, Jets, Knicks and Rangers. A fine NYC-based gentlemen who hones his marketing skills as his primary trade by day. Husband, chef, father of a newborn and after-hours blogger by night. Proud alum of the mighty Big Red of Cornell. University. Hot sauce devotee. Staunch protester of the continued wussifcation of American sports. Sometimes I rhyme slow, sometimes I rhyme quick.