Former KC Royals outfielder Raul Ibanez has officially been placed on the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot. The results of the voting will be announced on January 22nd.
Raul Ibanez had a career that spanned 19 seasons with four seasons being with the Kansas City Royals. The ballots has 18 players who will appear on the ballot for the first time as well as 14 others who have previously been on the ballot.
Out of those who are appearing on the ballot for the first time, it appears only Derek Jeter will be the only lock to be giving a speech in Cooperstown.
Of those who are appearing on the ballot for at least the second time, it can be debated who deserves to be enshrined with the greatest to every play the game. Controversy still looms over several of those on it due to the steroid era of baseball.
For arguments sake, why not take a deeper look into Raul Ibanez’s career and see how he stacks up against other players who are in the HoF and see if he could possibly be inducted some day into the Hall of Fame?
It’s worth immediately looking at the career statistics and trying to compare them to the other players during his time as well as historically for his position. Ibanez played nearly 92% of his 1767 games in the outfield.
Ibanez posted the following career statistics with his current place among the others who have played the game in parenthesis:
- 305 Home Runs (143rd)
- 2034 Hits (268th)
- 1207 RBI (152nd)
- career .272 BA
He also appeared in 44 total playoff games with six of them in the 2009 World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies. Ibanez played in exactly one All-Star Game in 2009.
Larry Walker is another outfielder one the same ballot who put up the following numbers:
- 383 Home Runs
- 2160 Hits
- 1311 RBI
Walker played in five All-Star Games and won the NL MVP in 1997. He also won seven Gold Gloves while playing 28 playoff games to include four in the 2004 World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals.
When looking at both of their numbers against both Hall of Famers Jim Rice and Kirby Puckett, there is a strong argument that Larry Walker should get in, but also Raul Ibanez should have some (although a small amount) consideration on future ballots.
Jim Rice was an eight-time AL All-Star and won the 1978 AL MVP. He was inducted in 2009 in his final chance on the ballot with the following numbers:
- 382 HRs
- 2452 Hits
- 1451 RBI
- career .289 BA
Kirby Puckett was inducted in 2001 and went to ten All-Star Games, won six Gold Gloves and was the MVP of the 1991 World Series with the Minnesota Twins. He had the following numbers:
- 207 HRs
- 2304 Hits
- 1085 RBI
- career .318 BA
Larry Walker clearly has a legitimate chance this year to be inducted into the Hall of Fame based on comparison to both Jim Rice and Kirby Puckett. Raul Ibanez, on the other hand, will hopefully see some recognition by a few on the BBWAA. Ultimately he will fall short of the 75% of votes needed.
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Although he won’t make the Hall of Fame, Raul Ibanez is still one of the fan favorites in Kansas City. He will always be remembered for the closed door speech he gave the 2014 Royals team before they went on an 8-0 run in the postseason. That also helped pave the way for a World Series title one year later.