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Reeves: Juan Gone from Hall of Fame

1/10/2012

The slick promotional publication hit the mailbox sometime in late November or early December, just as it has for several years now. On the cover was the man we came to know and love as "Juando the Condo."

Maybe you preferred his more common nickname of "Igor." Either way, you know who I'm talking about: Juan Gonzalez, who still ranks No. 1 in Texas Rangers history in six different offensive categories.

Those exploits are spelled out in glorious detail in the publication, which each year has been expertly prepared and presented in hopes of spurring Baseball Writers' Association of America members with Hall of Fame votes -- those, like me, who covered at least 10 consecutive major league seasons as a beat writer or baseball columnist -- to put a check beside Juan's name on the ballot.

Yet it has failed -- through no fault of its own -- so miserably, that Gonzalez, a two-time MVP, received just 23 of the 573 votes cast this year, a measly 4 percent, which means he failed to acquire the minimum 5 percent support required to keep his name on the ballot.

Thus fades away, after just two years of Hall of Fame consideration, the greatest hitter -- in my opinion -- in Rangers history, a man who in 1998 posted a single-season offensive line of .318 with 45 homers, 110 runs scored, 157 RBIs and 382 total bases. That's the same year he had a jaw-dropping 100 RBIs by the All-Star break. Despite a career marred by frequent injury, he belted 434 home runs and drove in 1,404 in his career, HOF numbers by anyone's standard.

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