We at Sox and Dawgs decided to start taking a look at some current players to see if they could gain election to Hall of Fame. In this series, we’re going to look at players who are currently active who have reasonable consideration to be a Hall nominee. This isn’t a science and you may have others on your list that we left off. There are some fine young players who are just starting their careers who may have Hall potential but for arguments sake these are for guys who have been around a bit or those few outstanding younger players who just jump off the page at you.

In this series we’re going to look at the players by position as compared to Hall members of that position. The position is the primary position of the player through his career. If he played a significant amount of games in another position that will be listed next to his name. Some of the guys we will look at over time have endured position changes, but because the majority of their career was at one position over another we have chosen that as the position in which they are being considered.

The fourth category we will look at is first baseman.

The Baseball Hall of Fame first baseman we are going to use for comparison are:

Jimmy Foxx 20 years, 2317 G, 8134 AB, 1751 R, 2646 H, 458 2B, 125 3B, 534 HR, 1922 RBI, .325 BA, .428 OBP, .609 SLG, 9 All-star teams, 3 MVPs, 1 Triple Crown, 2 Batting titles, Hr leader 4x, RBI leader 3x

Lou Gehrig 17 years, 2164 G, 8001 AB, 1888 R, 2721 H, 534 2B, 163 3B, 493 HR, 1995 RBI, .340 BA, .447 OBP, .632 SLG, 7 All-star teams, 2 MVPs, 1 Triple Crown, 1 Batting Title, Hit leader 1x, Hr leader 3x, RBI leader 5x

Hank Greenberg 13 years, 1394 G, 5193 AB, 1051 R, 1628 H, 379 2B, 71 3B, 331 HR, 1276 RBI, .313 BA, .412 OBP, .605 SLG, 5 All-Star teams, 2 MVPs, HR leader 4x, RBI leader 4x

Harmon Killebrew 22 years, 2435 G, 8147 AB, 1283 R, 2086 H, 290 2B, 24 3B, 573 HR, 1584 RBI, .256 BA, .376 OBP, .509 SLG, 11 All-star teams, 1 MVP, HR leader 6x, RBI leader 3x

Willie McCovey 22 years, 2588 G, 8197 AB, 1229 R, 2211 H, 353 2B, 46 3B, 521 HR, 1555 RBI, .274 BA, .374 OBP, .515 SLG, ROY, 6 All-star teams, 1 MVP, 1 All-star MVP, HR leader 3x, RBI leader 2x

We have five possible candidates for the Hall, with two having played significant games as a designated hitter:

Their stats are current as of July 7, 2007.

Jim Thome (DH) 17th year, 1941 G, 6595 AB, 1292 R, 1856 H, 358 2B, 24 3B, 485 HR, 1344 RBI, .281 BA, .410 OBP, .564 SLG, 3 All-star teams, 1 Silver Slugger, HR leader 1x

Todd Helton 11th year, 1508 G, 5402 AB, 1058 R, 1792 H, 433 2B, 31 3B, 293 HR, 1044 RBI, .332 BA, .431 OBP, .586 SLG, 5 All-star teams, 4 Silver Sluggers, 3 Gold Gloves, 1 Batting Title, Hit leader 1x, RBI leader 1x

Carlos Delgado 15th year, 1793 G, 6381 AB, 1100 R, 1788 H, 435 2B, 16 3B, 421 HR, 1336 RBI, .280 BA, .386 OBP, .551 SLG, 2 All-star teams, 3 Silver Sluggers, RBI leader 1x

Frank Thomas (DH) 18th year, 2180 G, 7698 AB, 1440 R, 2332 H, 469 2B, 11 3B, 501 HR, 1622 RBI, .303 BA, .423 OBP, .562 SLG, 5 All-star teams, 4 Silver Sluggers, 2 MVPs, 1 Batting title

Albert Pujols 7th season, 1017 G, 3796 AB, 797 R, 1254 H, 276 2B, 12 3B, 266 HR, 809 RBI, .330 BA, .418 OBP, .620 SLG, 5 All-star teams, 3 Silver Sluggers, ROY, 1 MVP, 1 NLCS MVP, 1 Gold Glove, 1 Batting title, Hits leader 1x

First of all, first baseman have some cool nicknames. Double XX, Iron Horse, Hammerin’ Hank, Killer, Stretch, The Big Hurt and Prince Albert. That being said, lets look at some numbers. Of the Hall members, I knew some of these guys were good but even I didn’t realize how good. My jaw dropped looking at the numbers for Foxx, Gehrig and Greenberg. The .600+ slugging percentage is truly unreal. Another thing about the top three guys is number of all-star teams they made.

Those numbers are low because the All-Star game wasn’t started until 1933 or 34 and those guys were already playing for a while before the event was even started. You could easily add another 5-8 all-star appearances for each guy. I used Killebrew and McCovey because I saw them in the twilight of their careers and always heard how good they were in their primes. I used them rather than some borderline guys like Tony Perez or Orlando Cepeda.

Now lets look at some current players we have on our list. To me the only guys who get in are Frank Thomas and Todd Helton. Thomas gets in on the power numbers with 500+ HR’s, 1600+ RBI plus he is a career .300 hitter has two MVPs and a batting crown. I doubt he gets to 3,000 hits because he is 600+ shy of it and he’d need another 4 years possibly to get there. Helton in my opinion gets in based on his all-around game. Hopefully he has another 6-8 years in him and he pads those numbers and gets closer to 3,000 hits. The thing that will help Helton is the defense he has 3 Gold Gloves, he also is a career .300 hitter with a .400+ OBP and a nearly .600 slugging percentage. In fact his slugging percentage is better than Thomas, Carlos Delgado and Jim Thome who we also looked at.

The borderline guy on this list is Thome. He has the HR numbers but he’s lacking in hits and batting average and doesn’t have any of those fancy trophies voters look for like MVPs or batting titles and surprisingly he only has one HR title, 1 Silver Slugger award and 3 all-star teams. He could end up with better overall numbers than McCovey and Killebrew but I still think he’s on the fence.

And if Thome is a borderline guy then Delgado is out. While a feared power hitter in his era he too doesn’t have the numbers. He has good power numbers but if you compare him to Greenberg who played two fewer seasons he’s just approaching and passing some of Hammerin’ Hank’s numbers but Delgado has played in 400 more games.

That brings us to Pujols. If Delgado is out, Thome is borderline and Helton and Thomas get in, then Prince Albert, if he continues on this pace, is about as dead cinch a lock as there ever will be. In just his 7th season he has 5 all-star appearances, 1 MVP and he finished second 3 times and third once. He also has a ROY, 1 Gold Glove, a batting title, was MVP of the NLCS and led the National League in hits once. By season’s end he will be near 300 HRs, have around 875 RBI in addition to being a career .300 hitter and sporting an outrageous .600+ slugging percentage that compares to Foxx and Gehrig. And he’s ONLY 27. Barring a tragic series of injuries ala Ken Griffey Jr., this guy is going to do some serious damage to the record books. If I’m going to pay good cash money to watch a game in person I think Albert Pujols would be the player I’d want to watch in person the most right now. Alex Rodriguez maybe the best player in the game but Pujols is pretty close to being his equal.