MLB Hall of Fame: Every Class’ Best Player (2000s Edition)

Plaques in the main hallway identify inductee classes in the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum July 25, 2004 in Cooperstown, New York. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
Plaques in the main hallway identify inductee classes in the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum July 25, 2004 in Cooperstown, New York. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /
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MLB speedsters
(Photo by Mickey Pfleger/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images) /

Let’s take a look at the best players in each MLB Hall of Fame class in the 2000s

One decade down, and now it’s time to move on to the next one. We have already covered some of the game’s greatest to find their way to the MLB Hall of Fame, now who do the 2000s have in store? Let’s find out.

2009: Rickey Henderson, OF, 9 teams (1979-2003)

Accomplishments: 1990 AL MVP, 10x All-Star, 2x champion, Gold Glove, 3x Silver Slugger

Other inductees: Joe Gordon, Jim Rice

Not only was Rickey Henderson a rare breed in that he played in four different decades for nine different teams, but he was the rarest of breeds in one of the five tools: speed. Simply put, the image of Rickey Henderson raising third base high in the air upon breaking the stolen bases record should be put up in the Hall of Fame, put in the dictionary under “speed”, or both. Henderson obliterated the record formerly held by Lou Brock, holding a margin of 468 with 1,406. For context, that’s the same difference between Brock (938) and 46th place Jimmy Rollins (470). Stealing over 100 bases three times in his career, including a potentially untouchable 130 in 1982, Henderson sped past his competition on the way to Cooperstown.

2008: Rich “Goose” Gossage, CP, 9 teams (1972-1994)

Accomplishments: 9x All-Star, 1978 champion/Rolaids Relief, 3x saves leader

Other inductees: Barney Dreyfuss (exec), Bowie Kuhn (exec), Walter O’Malley (exec), Billy Southworth, Dick Williams (manager)

Not only does Rich Gossage possess one of the most unique nicknames in baseball, one which often supersedes his actual first name, but he holds the distinction of being perhaps the best second-best closer in a team’s history, While he played for the New York Yankees for just 7 years, it was where he arguably made his biggest mark, winning his only World Series in 1978 and making four All-Star teams while in the Bronx. In addition, Goose is one of just three players to ever win 100 or more games while recording 300 or more saves (Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers). So, while he may not have been the most dominant in terms of numbers at his position, with a career high of 33 saves, he was one of the best.