The Baseball Hall of Fame released the names of this year's finalists who will appear on the ballot. Among the selections are four former Brewers, including one who seems likely to get in this winter.
Trevor Hoffman and Gary Sheffield return to the ballot and will be joined by first-timers Mike Cameron and Matt Stairs.
Hoffman played the final two years of his career in Milwaukee, notching 47 of his 601 career saves. The changeup master was on 67.3% of HOF ballots last season, his first year of eligibility, and seems like a solid bet to at least get very close to the 75% needed for induction this year.
Sheffield appeared on 11.6% of ballots in his second year of Hall eligibility, but that number would be much higher if boos from Milwaukee counted as Hall of Fame votes. Sheffield hit .259/.319/.376 in parts of four seasons with the Brewers to start his career, by far his worst stat line of any of the eight teams he played for in his 22-year career. Sheffield was traded to San Diego before the 1992 season and immediately became an MVP candidate. He was a 9-time All-Star after leaving Milwaukee but never finished higher than 2nd place in MVP voting, which he probably thinks is Bill Spiers' fault.
Stairs only played one season with the Brewers, but Milwaukee was just one of seven (7!!) teams he played a single season for. He was also one of the few fun parts of that terrible 2002 season we'd like to otherwise forget. Stairs ended up hitting .262/.356/.477 with 265 home runs in 19 seasons. Known mostly as a pinch-hitting specialist, Stairs likely would have ended up being much more appreciated if he was younger when the statistical analysis era fully caught on.
Cameron is similar in that he was never truly appreciated for the value he brought to a team, but appearing on the ballot is a nice cherry on top of a very good 17-year career. He'll likely always be known as The Guy Who Was Traded For Griffey, but he won three Gold Gloves (he likely deserved more), hit .249/.338/.444, and slugged nearly 300 home runs while also stealing nearly 300 bases. He was a very good all-around player who will also probably get a few Nice Guy votes from the writers. For the Brewers, Cameron notched an .801 OPS in two seasons, hit 49 home runs, and was the veteran who became a mentor for guys like Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun. Even near the end of his career, Cameron ranked 5th in WAR on the 2008 Brewers team that finally broke through and made the postseason after 26 seasons.
This will likely be the only year on the ballot for both Cameron and Stairs, unless they appear on 5% of ballots. Sheffield, like the rest of the Steroid Era sluggers, will likely continued to be punished by the writers by remaining in Hall of Fame purgatory -- getting enough votes to continue appearing on the ballot, but making so little year-to-year progress it's unlikely he'll get in. That leaves Hoffman as the lone Brewers connection -- as small as it may be -- to this year's potential Hall of Fame class.