Throughout the late 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, former Atlanta Braves player Fred McGriff was one of the best sluggers in the MLB.
McGriff, known for his “Crime Dog” nickname that was given to him by ESPN’s Chris Berman, he carries a Hall of Fame resumé.
In recent years, he has become a debated topic for HOF voters.
This came as 2019 was his final year on the voting ballot.
However, he received just 39.8% of the vote, falling well short of the required 75%.
Since McGriff bounced around between many different teams, his perception in the sport seems to have gotten clouded.
He had a long and successful career as he stood out on different teams across MLB.
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) October 31, 2020
Because of this, it is important to look back on McGriff’s career and understand just how good of a player he was.
Impressive Career Numbers
McGriff broke onto the MLB scene in 1987 as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.
In his rookie season, he tallied 20 home runs with a .247 average.
For the next season, he became the Blue Jays’ starting first baseman and established himself as one of the better players at that position.
In 1988, he hit 34 home runs with a .282 average.
This started a streak of seven straight seasons from 1988-1994 with at least 30 home runs.
Most HR’s from 1988 – 1994:
• Fred McGriff (242)
2nd most HR’s from '88 – '94:
• Barry Bonds (218)
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Say no to drugs. Say yes to the Crime Dog. pic.twitter.com/fQ1g2Vnne1
— ᗪOᑎKEYᕼᗩᑕK™ (@DonkeyHack) October 31, 2018
Over this period, he led the AL in home runs with 36 in 1989 and then the NL with 35 in 1992.
This was when he was with the San Diego Padres, who made a blockbuster trade for him in 1990.
McGriff Becomes A Brave
During the 1993 season, McGriff was once again traded.
This time, it was to the Atlanta Braves who were coming off back-to-back World Series appearances in 1991 and 1992.
When he joined the Braves during 1993, the team was nine games behind the San Francisco Giants.
However, in the final 68 games of the season, the team went 51-17 led by McGriff.
Over this short stretch, he hit 19 home runs and tallied 55 RBI.
In the strike-shortened 1994 season, McGriff slugged 34 home runs in just 113 games.
However, his power numbers would drop after this.
In 1995, McGriff was an integral part of the Braves team that won the World Series.
"Freddie McGriff set up the whole lineup and the rest was history!" 🏆
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) February 21, 2018
While he is most known for his contributions to these Braves teams, he continued putting together good years as he entered his late-30s.
After an underwhelming 1997 season, he was picked up by the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the offseason.
Over his last seven seasons, McGriff hit 30-plus home runs three more times.
This made him one of only two players to hit at least 30 home runs in one season for five different teams.
His final one came with the Chicago Cubs in 2002, when he hit 30 home runs in his age 38 season.
In 2003, he went onto the disabled list for the first time in his 18-year career.
Finally, he was released by the Rays whom he rejoined in 2004, marking the end of his MLB career.
Is McGriff HOF Worthy?
When looking at his career story, there are a lot of reasons to carve a spot in Cooperstown for him.
He finished with 493 career home runs, which he spread out pretty evenly throughout his whole career.
In an era when power numbers were inflated due to steroids, McGriff’s name remains clean.
He also has the most home runs of anyone who isn’t associated with PEDs or is not HOF eligible to not be inducted.
On top of this, he has a solid .284 career batting average with a .377 on-base percentage.
With all of this in mind, he definitely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
McGriff was one of the best hitters during his era, and his career aged well.
He ultimately just aged out of the league, remaining effective until his age 38 season.
Now, he is a special assistant in baseball operations for the Braves.
"Crime Dog" looks like he could still hit about 30 bombs!
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) June 18, 2019
The former All-Star remains a fan favorite player for people who watched his career progress.