Therefore, a good test for whether a player should be elected to the Hall of Fame is whether or not he was clearly better than Jack Clark. The data suggests that people who were better hitters than Clark probably should be in the Hall of Fame. There have been 47 players who, like Clark, posted an OPS+ of 135 or better over 8,000 or more plate appearances. Of those 26, are in the Hall of Fame. Of the remaining 21 all but four other players, Will Clark, Bob Johnson, Sherry Magee and Reggie Smith are either on the ballot, still active or not yet eligible.
Gary Sheffield’s retirement immediately ignited some discussion about his Hall of Fame qualifications. Sheffield’s candidacy is interesting because it raises a number of questions about the Hall of Fame and upon what criteria members should be selected. Sheffield’s numbers were very strong, but his links to steroid use, the era in which he played, the number of teams for which he played and various controversies which followed him for most of his career make him less of an automatic selection.