Shortstop Jhonny Peralta (who will be eligible for Hall of Fame voting this year) had a dependable, productive eight seasons in Cleveland, which puts him squarely in the Hall of Dependable.
As we turn the page on a contentious baseball Hall of Fame vote that saw David Ortiz as the only inductee over the likes of Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and more – and a vote that saw Omar Vizquel drop an unprecedented 25% from the previous year – let’s take a quick peek at the incoming eligible players for what would be the class of 2023.
As far as first-timers on the ballot go, there aren’t many names that should get people fighting to the degree we’ve seen this year. Carlos Beltran, who played twenty years and hit 435 career home runs, will likely make the Hall of Fame someday, though likely not on his first ballot.
Other first-time eligible players include Francisco Rodriguez, Jered Weaver, R.A. Dickey (all knuckleballers should get an automatic entry into the Hall), Matt Cain, John Lackey, Andre Ethier, Jayson Werth, Bronson Arroyo, Jacoby Ellsbury, and J.J. Hardy.
Former Cleveland shortstop Jhonny Peralta is also on that list, and though he won’t be making the Hall of Fame, he really should be considered for the Hall of Extremely Dependable.
Peralta played eight seasons in Cleveland (fifteen total, with stops in Detroit and St. Louis), hitting .264/.329/.422 with 103 home runs, 201 doubles and 456 RBIs, which culminated in a nice, average 99 OPS+. For his entire career, Peralta had a 102 OPS+; he was somebody who could be plugged into a lineup with exact expectations and he would typically deliver on them.
He had a particularly good stretch during the better seasons the then-Indians had in the early-to-mid 2000s. From 2005-2008, Peralta hit .273/.339/.450 with 81 home runs, 132 doubles, 307 RBIs and a 108 OPS+, providing some early stability at the shortstop position immediately after Vizquel left for the San Francisco Giants in 2005.
Peralta also had a heck of a 2007 postseason for Cleveland, hitting .333 in eleven games against the Yankees and Red Sox. And though no one will likely be writing sonnets about the beauty of Peralta’s defensive wizardry at shortstop, or third base where he would occasionally dabble, he was of course quite dependable there as well.
Peralta will of course not wind up being a Hall of Famer, but every team needs a player like him. Cleveland was lucky to have him as it entered a new era, and hopefully he’ll continue to be remembered by fans as an inductee into that vaunted Hall of Extremely Dependable.