Toronto Blue Jays legend Carlos Delgado discusses what he could have done differently, to improve his chances of being elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
When it comes to discussing the greatest Toronto Blue Jays of all time, Carlos Delgado is in the mix. During his 12-years with the team, he was undoubtedly one of the best ever to play in Southern Ontario.
Certainly, Delgado’s resume makes for impressive reading. He holds the franchise record in a whole host of categories, including home runs (336), RBIs (1,058), runs (889), doubles (343), slugging percentage (.556), OPS (.949); the list goes on.
Unfortunately for the three-time AL Silver Slugger, it still wasn’t enough to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He fell off the ballot in 2015 after his first attempt, due to receiving less than the required five percent of votes.
Ever since, Delgado has wondered what he could have done differently to improve his chances of being enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame. While he is extremely proud of being in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, there is still some understandable regret.
"“This is my thinking: I played parts of 17 seasons, if I go another year and I get to 500 home runs and I get closer to 1,700 RBIs, probably the conversation to the Hall of Fame … would’ve been different.“Am I a better baseball player because I played another year and I got to 500 home runs and (close to) 1,700 RBIs? Hmm, maybe not. It’s just that, sometimes, longevity, it gives you an extra boost.”"
Certainly you can appreciate Delgado’s rationale. During his MLB career, which included tenures with the Florida Marlins and New York Mets, he totaled 483 home runs and 1,512 RBIs.
Of the 27 players who reached 500 home runs, 18 of them are in the Hall of Fame. Delgado is 34th on the all-time list as it is, but 500 home runs was still theoretically a realistic goal.
In respect of RBIs, the two-time All-Star was never going to get anywhere close to 1,700. He is still ranked 55th all-time however, which also makes for impressive reading.
Delgado shouldn’t be too hard on himself though. He battled an increasing number of injuries towards the end of his career, which meant it didn’t matter how much desire he had to continue playing.
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The 2000 AL Hank Aaron Award winner’s legacy was complicated by being part of the so-called Steroid Era. This is extremely frustrating, especially when considering he was never linked to/accused of taking steroids.
Critics will point towards Delgado very rarely leading the league in any major categories. However, it still seems preposterous that he was only on one Hall of Fame ballot, when considering his consistency during his career.
After all, we’re talking about someone who is one of only six players in Major League history to hit 30 home runs in 10 consecutive seasons (the first eight with the Toronto Blue Jays). Ultimately, it’s on the Hall of Fame voters, who deserve criticism for Delgado falling off the ballot after just on year. (Not that they ever lose sleep about this type of thing.)
For his part, while there is still some regret, Delgado can sleep easy at night. As per Ruminski, he said:
"“I’m not gonna cry over spilled milk. I enjoyed what I did. I tried to compete to the best of my ability for the time that I had the opportunity to, and I’m happy.”"
Do you believe Delgado was unfortunate not to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame? What is your main memory from his career with the Toronto Blue Jays? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.