The 2020 National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot has been released, and this year, only one player who spent time with the Milwaukee Brewers has made the cut. That man is Gary Sheffield, who was drafted the Brewers in the first round at #6 overall in 1986. He debuted in the big leagues two years later at age 19 and spent the first four seasons of his career in the Cream City before going on to appear for seven other teams during a career that spanned 22 seasons.
This will be Sheffield’s sixth year on the ballot out of a possible total of 10 years that a player can remain eligible. He put up Hall of Fame-worthy statistics during his career, including 2,689 hits and 509 home runs accompanying a .292/.393/.514 slash line that translates to a 140 OPS+ over the course of nearly 11,000 plate appearances in Major League Baseball. Baseball-Reference values his contributions at 60.5 wins above replacement.
Despite his stellar career, Sheffield has had trouble gaining much traction for the Hall of Fame. He was not a popular player with the Brewers, criticizing the team when they moved him off shortstop and intimating that racism was part of the reason. He dealt with injuries during his tenure in Milwaukee and there have long been rumors that Sheffield intentionally botched plays in the field in an effort to get traded away from the franchise. The Brewers shipped him to San Diego in a five-player trade in spring of 1992. He was also later implicated as a PED user in the Mitchell Report and the BALCO scandal. Sheffield was named on only 13.6% of the ballots last year, with 75% needed for admission into the Hall of Fame. A minimum of 5% is needed to remain on the ballot for the following year.
Eligible Hall of Fame voters must submit their ballots by year’s end, and the 2020 Hall of Fame Class announcement will be on January 21st.