Dan's Dugout: Who's Next for the Hall of Fame? • Latino Sports


Dan’s Dugout: Who’s Next for the Hall of Fame?


After the Monday Roundtable that concluded Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, a writer sidled up to Mike Piazza and said, “This was the bar mitzvah you never had.”

Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mike Piazza relax at the Monday Roundtable Credit: Dan Schlossberg

Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mike Piazza relax at the Monday Roundtable Credit: Dan Schlossberg

The former catcher kicked back his head and laughed, relieved that the ordeal was over. Next year, he will go back as a spectator rather than a participant — a guest at the party rather than the host.

Piazza admitted he teared up in his hotel room while rehearsing the speech he delivered to 50,000 people last Sunday. He also lost control of his emotions when he reached the big stage.

Seeing his father Vince in the audience touched his heart-strings but watching Ken Griffey, Jr. acknowledge his father and three children didn’t help, Piazza said later. The Griffeys were not only the first father-and-son tandem to play in the majors at the same time but also the only pair to produce back-t0-back home runs. Senior was 40 and Junior just 20 at the time.

Cheers of LET’S GO METS interrupted Piazza several times Sunday but will be more prevalent this weekend when the Mets retire his number. He prepared another speech — twice as many as the typical bar mitzvah boy is required to read.

By the time the tears clear at CitiField this weekend, Piazza’s No. 31 will join the other numerals retired by the Mets: 14 (Gil Hodges), 37 (Casey Stengel), and 41 (Tom Seaver).

On August 6, the Seattle Mariners will emulate the CitiField ceremony when they retire Griffey’s No. 24,

Junior Griffey will have his number retired a week after the Mets retire Mike Piazza's 31. Credit: Dan Schlossberg

Junior Griffey will have his number retired a week after the Mets retire Mike Piazza’s 31.
Credit: Dan Schlossberg

worn as a tribute to earlier Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, whom Griffey admired.

Even before Piazza and Griffey headed home from Cooperstown, talk began about who’s next in line.

Three locks will be Chipper Jones in 2018, Mariano Rivera in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020. How the Hall of Fame will handle the crowds those three will draw is a question for the ages. All three could top the record attendance of 82,000 people who came to see Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn enter the gates of Cooperstown in 2007.

Although only a handful of players win election the first time they’re eligible, many of the players soon to come onto the ballot will eventually find their way to the hallowed hall. Here’s a list of first-time candidates to consider:

2017: Vladimir Guerrero, Jorge Posada, Manny Ramirez, Ivan Rodriguez

2018: Chipper Jones, Hideki Matsui, Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel

2019: Roy Halladay, Todd Helton, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera

2020: Bobby Abreu, Josh Beckett, Derek Jeter, Paul Konerko

2021: Tim Hudson, Torii Hunter, Aramis Ramirez, Barry Zito

And don’t forget the holdovers from previous years, with Jeff Bagwell, Trevor Hoffman, and Tim Raines all strong possibilities for the Class of 2017.

Elsewhere in baseball:

Aroldis Chapman has been timed at 105.1 mph.

Aroldis Chapman has been timed at 105.1 mph.

The Cubs may have given up a lot to the Yankees for a three-month rental of Aroldis Chapman but the lefthanded flamethrower justified the deal from the Chicago side the first day he arrived . . .

The Miami Marlins, suddenly a strong contender in the National League East, got a major boost by reinstating fleet second baseman Dee Gordon, who had been suspended for 80 games for substance abuse . . .

Before the election of Griffey, a first-in-the-nation draft pick, the highest draft choice to reach Cooperstown was Reggie Jackson, picked second by the Oakland Athletics in 1966.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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