John Smoltz backs former Braves teammate Fred McGriff’s Hall of Fame case

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John Smoltz believes his former Atlanta Braves teammate Fred McGriff should join him in Cooperstown.

While Fred McGriff was not elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame the first time around, his former Atlanta Braves teammate John Smoltz believes “Crime Dog” absolutely belongs in Cooperstown.

McGriff fell off the ballot after not getting 75 percent of the vote from 2010 to 2019. The five-time All-Star earned three Silver Sluggers in his career, helping the Team of the 90’s win its lone World Series championship in 1995. McGriff retired from baseball at the age of 40 with 493 home runs, 2,490 hits and 1,550 runs batted in for his hometown Tampa Bay Devil Rays back in 2004.

If McGriff hit seven more home runs, he would probably have a plaque in Cooperstown already.

Braves: John Smoltz sees former teammate Fred McGriff is a hall of famer

As a child of the 90s, no, the Braves do not win the 1995 Fall Classic without McGriff at first base. Chipper Jones may have been the rookie sensation at the hot corner and David Justice was still a beast in the outfield, but McGriff was the heart of that Atlanta offense. Yes, Smoltz and the greatest starting staff baseball will ever see carried them, but McGriff was massively overlooked.

What hurt McGriff was his soft-spoken nature, although, those Tom Emanski instructional videos were dope. The other big thing probably keeping him out of Cooperstown was he never played anywhere for very long. McGriff played for six teams in his 19 big-league seasons. He spent five seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, part of five with Atlanta and five with expansion Tampa Bay.

Again, it really comes down to what organization is going to stand up for you to help get you in. If McGriff were to get into Cooperstown, he is probably wearing a Braves cap. Unfortunately, his No. 27 jersey is not retired by the Braves, as Austin Riley dominates in it now. Atlanta also has two other players it is desperately trying to get into Cooperstown: Dale Murphy and Andruw Jones.

If voted on by the veterans twice every five years on the Today’s Game ballot, McGriff will likely get in at some point. Jones still has time on the ballot, and may get in the next few years or so. However, Murphy is not getting any younger. The guy was a two-time NL MVP. Braves Country has been a little distracted of late, but now is the time for them to rally behind Crime Dog.

Fans may not love McGriff’s potential future enshrinement into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but it is out of the writers’ hands and into the Veterans Committee.

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