I intended this to be an article on my non-existent Hall Of Fame ballot (which will come soon enough) but when I went looking for the "official" ballot to see who was on it, I realized that not every player would be on it that was eligible. Now, I get that a guy like Chris Mabeus wouldn't be listed, but I guess I just kind of assumed that anyone who had any sort of career would be listed. Not so.
There are twenty-seven players on this year's BBWAA ballot, of which thirteen are new to the ballot. According to the BBWAA website, "[a]bout 30 players are selected by a special, six-member screening committee, which pares down the list from all those who meet the eligibility requirements." If any two members of the screening committee nominate a player, he's on the ballot. It doesn't get into much more detail than that, so it's assumed that there is no set limit so-to-speak; the "around 30" number just happens to be what it has come out to in the past. Now, with players such as Phil Nevin and Tony Womack on the ballot, I wondered who didn't make the ballot. Someone needs to spotlight these guys, who had a career that was good enough at one time to have at least a decent amount of teams want to employ them at the major league level.
So I'll do just that. Thanks to Baseball-Reference.com for giving me a reference point. I'll try to do one a day. Today, thanks to alphabetical order, is...
Edgardo Alfonzo (2B, 3B)
Team(s): New York Mets (1995-2002), San Francisco Giants (2003-2005), Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2006), Toronto Blue Jays (2006)
Best Season: 2000 (.324/.425/.542, 25 HR, 94 RBI)
All-Star Appearences: 1 (2000)
Claim To Fame: Part of the BEST INFIELD EVER.
Edgardo was the Venezuelan Carlos Baerga, or Baerga was the Puerto Rican Alfonzo - not sure, but the two hadn't been teammates for a little over two seasons at the end of the 90s, I'd wonder if they were the same person. Both started their careers early (21), both played second and third (though Alfonzo played more third while Baerga was mostly a second baseman), and both hit well until they saw their careers take a hit at an early age. Baerga struggled when he was 27 (where you'd think he'd be hitting his prime) and was quickly dealt by Cleveland to the Mets with Alvaro Espinoza for Jose Vizcaino and some guy named Jeff Kent. (In the Mets defense, it's not like Cleveland held onto him for very long; they sent Kent (and Vizcaino) that offseason to San Francisco in a package for Matt Williams.)
While Baerga fizzled out in New York, he seemed to inspire Alfonzo, who hit his peak after Baerga left the Mets. After two straight very good seasons with the Mets in 1999 and 2000 (where he finished 8th and 15th in the NL MVP balloting respectively), he took a hit in 2001 (at age 27, just like Baerga), but then wrapped up a respectable 2002 season before hitting free agency. Alfonzo signed a four-year deal with the San Francisco Giants, where he wasn't able to come close to his peak Met years, and was dealt to the Angels during the winter of the 05-06 offseason for 41-year-old Steve Finley. The Giants won that deal, as Alfonzo went 5-50 for the Angels before being cut. Toronto picked him up for a few games, but would release him as well, ending his major league career.