Former Padres star could be lone 2023 Hall of Fame inductee

San Diego Padres v Pittsburgh Pirates
San Diego Padres v Pittsburgh Pirates / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages

The San Diego Padres added another Hall of Fame player to their ranks, as first baseman Fred McGriff was finally given the long overdue honor of enshrinement following a very long, very productive career.

McGriff hit 493 career home runs, just seven dingers shy of the 500 mark that would have helped him sweep into Cooperstown on the first ballot. Because of this shortcoming, writers decided to keep him out of the Hall of Fame before the Contemporary Era Committee let him in. He may not have the biggest incoming class alongside him.

Former Cardinals and Phillies third baseman Scott Rolen has over 79% of the vote on publically revealed ballots, as does Rockies legend Todd Helton. However, there is almost always a big drop between the percentage received on public ballots and the final tally. These two might need to wait until next year.

If Helton and Rolen fail to hit that 75% threshold, McGriff will stand alone as the lone inductee for the 2023 class. After getting passed over by out-of-touch voters for years due to his nomadic career, McGriff may finally become one of baseball's immortals on a stage all to himself.

Padres 1B Fred McGriff is officially a Hall of Famer.

McGriff is a baseball rarity, as he played five seasons with three different franchises while maintaining an elite level of play. He got his career started with the Blue Jays, leading the AL in home runs once, became a three-time All-Star and champion with the Braves, and helped make the expansion Devil Rays a viable lineup.

His tenure in San Diego should not be forgotten, however. In one of the biggest win-win trades in MLB history, the Padres acquired McGriff and the late Tony Fernandez from Toronto in exchange for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter. McGriff may have had his best three-season stretch with the Padres.

McGriff slugged 84 home runs in 388 games with the Padres, finishing in the top 10 in MVP voting three straight times while earning an All-Star nod in 1992 and leading the NL in dingers with 35.

One of the great tragedies in Padres history is that this team never became a contender with McGriff, Tony Gwynn, and Gary Sheffield in the same lineup. Poor depth and an iffy starting rotation led to a decline in performance and his eventual trade to the Braves.

McGriff may not have had the longest Padres tenure, but he was without question one of the best infielders this franchise has ever seen. He may not wear a Padres cap on his plaque, but the player fans saw in San Diego was as dominant a left-handed first baseman as there was in the league.

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