Because six new players were inducted in Cooperstown over the weekend, many baseball broadcasts have included discussions of current members as well as potential future members. During one particular game, one analyst praised the fact that two of the new Hall of Famers spent their entire careers with just one team.
Of course, he was referring to Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones and Detroit Tigers shortstop Alan Trammell. Jones received 410 out of 422 votes during his first year of Hall eligibility, while Trammell was elected by the Veterans Committee.
It was noted that baseball fans may not see for at least a decade more than a single one-year-old player make it to Cooperstown, let alone two of them. The announcer identified two future recruits, Albert Pujols and Adrian Beltre, who have each played for several different teams.
However, a cursory glance at other stars approaching retirement seems to indicate that we will indeed be seeing another one-year-old player soon. In fact, there could be two or more.
Here’s a list of likely or highly prospective single-team players who could be enshrined in Cooperstown after they leave the field.
Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals
This guy is a no-brainer for Hall of Fame induction in his first year of eligibility, no matter what his offensive stats are. He has been the top catcher for nearly two decades, has led the Redbirds to multiple World Series appearances, has been selected as a perennial All-Star and remains one of the best decisive hitters in all of baseball.
Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners
As he approaches his fourteenth season, King Felix is likely to rack up two hundred victories when he hangs up, well short of the coveted three hundred mark that guarantees consecration. However, his era makes it nearly impossible to get more than fifteen wins per year, so that fact, plus a Cy Young award and six All-Star games, could give him a plaque.
Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds
His long contract almost ensures that the Canadian will end his playing days at Great American Ball Park, and his numbers are close to HOF statistics.
Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota native has declined since winning the Most Valuable Player Award as a catcher for the Twins, which could affect his chances of entering the Hall. Also, because he is at the end of his current contract with his hometown team, Mauer could be fired from this list if he signs elsewhere next year.
Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants
Ten years into his career, the catcher is a six-time All-Star with Most Valuable Player and Award Rookie, but it could be his three World Series Championships that eventually land him in Cooperstown.