Jim Edmonds will be eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame on the 2016 ballot, and though he’ll be judged along with another first-time eligible who’ll be a shoo-in (Ken Griffey Jr.), a strong case can be made for both center fielders in the Hall.
Most baseball fans will remember Edmonds for his spectacular over-the-shoulder diving catches, but Edmonds was an offensive force as well throughout his career. His career OPS+ (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage, normalized to remove park effects) is a very good 132, which in itself is higher than more than a dozen current Hall of Famers. He finished his career with 393 home runs, fifth all-time for a center fielder.
Collecting eight Gold Gloves over his 17-year career, Edmonds set the standard for center fielders in the late 90s and early 2000s. His WAR (a statistical measure of how many extra wins a player was worth) topped all players save for Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez from 1995-2005, in no small part thanks to his excellent defense and the runs saved by it.
Edmonds may not currently have the cheering squad for the Hall of that Griffey Jr. has, but the case can clearly be made that he belongs. Let’s hope the voters agree in 2016.
Featured photo by G. N. Lowrance/Getty Images.