There are 14 new players up for election to the Hall of Fame this year. Let’s look back at the No. 1 standout seasons of the careers that got them onto the ballot.
None of the group is likely to make it this year — we’ll know for sure on Tuesday, when the Hall of Fame election results are announced. And for some, this will end up being their only year on the ballot. But all of them had at least one Hall of Fame-quality season.
Here’s the best season by every newcomer to the Hall of Fame ballot in 2022-23.
2006 (Reds): 14-11, 3.29 ERA, 184 K, 240 2/3 IP
The only season Arroyo got Cy Young votes was 2010, but the only season he got MVP votes was 2006. That was his first year in Cincinnati, where Arroyo was a workhorse and a great 1-2 punch with Aaron Harang. Arroyo led the Majors with 240 2/3 innings pitched, ahead of NL Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb. His 3.29 ERA and 184 strikeouts were career bests.
2004 (Royals/Astros): 38 HR, 42 SB, 104 RBIs, 121 R, .915 OPS
Beltrán’s 2006 season with the Mets was probably his best regular-season performance. But his sensational 2004, featuring a historic playoff run, makes that the choice for No. 1. Not only did Beltrán nearly join the 40-40 club during the regular season, but he also had one of the greatest postseasons of all time after he was traded from the Royals to the Astros. Beltrán tied Barry Bonds’ record with eight home runs in a single postseason, and he batted .435 in Houston’s two series.
2012 (Giants): 16-5, 2.79 ERA, 193 K, 219 1/3 IP, perfect game
Cain’s 2012 season with the Giants was his best statistically, included his greatest individual achievement and ended with his second World Series ring. The right-hander set career highs in wins, ERA and strikeouts and finished sixth in Cy Young voting. Best of all, he threw the 22nd perfect game in AL/NL history on June 13 against the Astros. Cain tied Sandy Koufax’s record for the most strikeouts in a perfect game, with 14. Then he helped pitch the Giants to their second championship in three years. Cain started the clinching win over the Tigers.
2012 (Mets): 20-6, 2.73 ERA, 230 K, 233 2/3 IP, 5 CG, 3 SHO
Dickey is the only knuckleballer to win a Cy Young Award. This was the season. No one could hit Dickey’s knuckler in 2012 — the 37-year-old led the NL in strikeouts, innings pitched, complete games and shutouts, and set a Mets franchise record with a 32 2/3 scoreless-innings streak. Dickey beat out Clayton Kershaw for pitching’s highest honor and joined Tom Seaver and Dwight Gooden as the only Mets pitchers to win the Cy Young (Jacob deGrom came later).
2011 (Red Sox): .321/.376/.552, .928 OPS, 212 H, 32 HR, 39 SB, 105 RBIs, 119 R
With all due respect to his 2009 season — when he led the Majors with 70 steals and the AL with 10 triples — Ellsbury’s peak was 2011. The 27-year-old transformed into an elite power-speed threat, joining the 30-30 club while maintaining his elite contact ability as a .300 hitter who reached the 200-hit mark. He even won a Gold Glove Award in center field. Ellsbury finished as the runner-up for AL MVP to Justin Verlander.
2009 (Dodgers): .272/.361/.508, .869 OPS, 31 HR, 106 RBIs
Ethier spent all 12 seasons of his career as a Dodger, and he was in the MVP mix in his best season, although no one could touch peak Albert Pujols in 2009. Still, Ethier slugged a career-high 31 homers and reached 100 RBIs for the only time, winning a Silver Slugger Award and finishing sixth in the MVP race. He added three more homers in the playoffs.
2008 (Brewers): .283 AVG, .821 OPS, 24 HR, 74 RBIs, +13 DRS
Hardy had a great run in Baltimore from 2011-14, including three consecutive Gold Glove Awards and a Silver Slugger Award at shortstop. And there’s also his breakout All-Star season in Milwaukee in 2007. But the next year might have been his best combination of offense and defense. Hardy had the best OPS of his career, played the same caliber shortstop as he did for the O’s and led the Brewers to their first playoff appearance since 1982, batting .429 in the postseason.
2007 (Angels): 19-9, 3.01 ERA, 179 K, 224 IP
Lackey deserves a nod for his rookie season, 2002, when he was called up in June and became an instrumental part of the Angels’ World Series-winning rotation. But the year he put up in 2007 was too impressive from beginning to end. Lackey was the ace of the AL West champions, won his only ERA title and was an All-Star, Cy Young Award finalist and an MVP vote-getter for the only time.
2011 (Rangers): .320/.414/.631, 1.046 OPS, 30 HR, 75 RBIs, 36% CS
You might not remember just how good Napoli’s numbers were in 2011 — a .300 average, 30 homers and an OPS over 1.000 as a catcher. On a division champion with Adrián Beltré, Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler and Michael Young, Napoli might have been the Rangers’ best hitter that year. And his playoffs were just as great, highlighted by a .350 average with two homers, 10 RBIs and a 1.164 OPS against the Cardinals in an all-time-classic World Series.
2005 (Cleveland): .292/.366/.520, .885 OPS, 24 HR, 78 RBIs
This is a tossup with Peralta’s first season with the Cardinals in 2014, when he was good enough to get a few MVP votes. But let’s go with his breakout season with Cleveland in 2005, when he took over the shortstop position from Omar Vizquel. With all the pressure, Peralta batted .292 with 24 homers — the most by a Cleveland shortstop since Woodie Held in 1959 — while the team jumped from 80 wins to 93.
2008 (Angels): 62 SV, 2.24 ERA, 77 K
An easy one. K-Rod set the MLB single-season saves record with 62 in his final year with the Angels in 2008, and his mark still stands. Rodríguez even finished third in the AL Cy Young Award voting — he’s still the last reliever to finish in the top three — and placed sixth in the MVP race.
2014 (Padres/Angels): 41 SV, 1.37 ERA, 57 K
Honorable mention goes to Street’s rookie season in 2005 — he was the AL Rookie of the Year with the A’s and posted a 1.72 ERA and 23 saves. But his 2014 season was even better. Street reached the 40-saves mark for the first time and had the lowest ERA of his career, and he got to be the closer for a division champ after the Padres traded him to the Angels mid-season.
2011 (Angels): 18-8, 2.41 ERA, 198 K, 235 2/3 IP
The Angels’ longtime ace has a few contenders for his No. 1 season — you could pick any year from 2010-12, when Weaver was an All-Star and top-five Cy Young finisher all three seasons. In 2010, he set a career high with 233 strikeouts and finished fifth in Cy voting. In 2012, he pitched a no-hitter, led the AL with 20 wins and finished third. But in 2011, Weaver had his lowest ERA across his highest number of innings pitched, and he finished just shy of 200 strikeouts. He was the runner-up for Cy Young to MVP Justin Verlander.
2009 (Phillies): 36 HR, 20 SB, 99 RBIs, .879 OPS
Werth was a huge part of the Phillies’ powerhouses from 2007-10. In ’08, he batted .444 in the World Series as Philadelphia won its first championship since 1980. In ’10, he led the NL with 46 doubles and had 75 extra-base hits, finishing eighth in MVP voting. But in ’09, Werth not only finished with a career-high 36 homers and 20 stolen bases while making his only All-Star team, he also belted seven postseason home runs as the Phillies won the pennant.
This news is republished from another source. You can check the original article here