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Future of fame

By KEVIN KELLY

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 5, 2001


With Bill Mazeroski, Dave Winfield, Kirby Puckett and Hilton Smith set to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame today, it makes you wonder who among the current players would be shoo-ins if they retired today. Here's a look at some virtually assured a spot in Cooperstown:

ROBERTO ALOMAR, 2B, Indians: The most spectacular second baseman of our generation. His .307 career average comes with a .984 fielding pct.

BARRY BONDS, OF, Giants: The first player in history to hit 500 homers and steal 400 bases is a three-time league MVP. 2001 power surge is further re-enforcement.

ROGER CLEMENS, P, Yankees: A five-time Cy Young Award winner, the Rocket boasts 3,658 career strikeouts and has won 20 five times.

TONY GWYNN, OF, Padres: Third quickest to reach 3,000 hits -- he did it in 2,284 games -- and is an eight-time batting champ with the Padres.

RICKEY HENDERSON, OF, Padres: Best leadoff hitter and most prolific baserunner in history has 1,385 career steals and 287 homers.

RANDY JOHNSON, P, Diamondbacks: Hard-throwing left-hander is an eight-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young winner and has 3,291 career strikeouts.

GREG MADDUX, P, Braves: The pedestrian-looking player wins with pinpoint control and is the only pitcher to win four straight Cy Young Awards.

PEDRO MARTINEZ, P, Red Sox: Koufax-like numbers, Martinez is the second pitcher to strike out 300 or more batters in both leagues.

MARK McGWIRE, 1B, Cardinals: With 70 home runs in 1998 and 573 during his career, Big Mac ranks among most prolific power hitters of all-time.

MIKE PIAZZA, C, Mets: First catcher to hit 40 homers in two seasons, hits for average, too: .325 in his career.

CAL RIPKEN, 3B, Orioles: 2,632 consecutive games played with one team. Enough said about the Ironman.

On the bubble

Jeff Bagwell, 1B, Astros

Jose Canseco, DH, White Sox

Tom Glavine, P, Braves

Juan Gonzalez, OF, Indians

Ken Griffey, OF, Reds

Fred McGriff, 1B, Cubs

Rafael Palmeiro, 1B, Rangers

Manny Ramirez, DH/OF, Red Sox

Ivan Rodriguez, C, Rangers

Sammy Sosa, OF, Cubs

Frank Thomas, 1B, White Sox

Keep an eye on

Nomar Garciaparra, SS, Red Sox

Vladimir Guerrero, OF, Expos

Trevor Hoffman, P, Padres

Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees

Chipper Jones, 3B, Braves

Mariano Rivera, P, Yankees

Alex Rodriguez, SS, Rangers

Gary Sheffield, OF, Dodgers

Larry Walker, OF, Rockies

-- Compiled by Kevin Kelly.

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