Looking at the Hall-of-Fame Ballot: Nick Swisher
Nick Swisher was a World Champion Yankee. He brought needed energy and fun to the team., He was able to play multiple positions. He seemed to often come through in the clutch.
Does Nick Swisher belong in the Hall-of-Fame?
The Low Bar (or the Harold Baines Test):
Regular readers will know that my first test for any player to be included in the Hall-of-Fame is what I call the “Harold Baines Test.” In short, a player must have a lifetime WAR (Baseball-Reference) above that of Harold Baines. If the player’s lifetime WAR is below that of Baines, it is my opinion that he does not belong in the Hall-of-Fame. Ranked by WAR, Harold Baines comes in as the 552nd best player of all-time with a WAR of 38.7. This is the low bar. There are literally hundreds of players better than Baines who are not in the Hall-of-Fame. We have no business electing players who rank lower than Baines.
We start off, right from the start, with bad news for Nick Swisher. His lifetime WAR of 21.4 does not crack the top 1,000 players of all-time.
Harold Baines laps Nick Swisher.
But, since WAR isn’t everything, maybe there’s a case somewhere…
Awards, Honors, and the Like:
It seems logical to assume that a Hall-of-Fame player would have received a good deal of honors and awards during his playing days.
Unfortunately, this category is one that also does not help Swisher’s cause.
Nick Swisher was an All-Star only once in his twice in his 12 year career. He never won won a Gold Glove. He never won a Silver Slugger Award and never he won an MVP.
The best we can do here is note that he was 6th in the Rookie of the Year vote in 2005.
Swish also didn’t often lead the league in any categories. The following are his only league leading totals:
2013 – Led the American League in errors by a first baseman.
In his career, Nick Swisher never hit .300 or better in six seasons. That’s very good.
He hit 30 or more homers only once. But, of note, he did hit 20+ homers for 9 consecutive years. That’s not nothing, in fact, that is very impressive.
Nick Swisher never had a 100 RBI season.
All of this, combined, seems rather lacking for a Hall-of-Famer.
This category also does not help Nick Swisher.
He ended his career with just 1,338 hits.
He didn’t hit 300 homers – ending with 245.
Swisher’s lifetime batting average wasn’t .300. It wasn’t even .250. Instead, he finished at .249.
Most Similar Players:
Baseball Reference lists the ten most similar players to each MLB player for their career. For Nick Swisher, the ten most similar players to his career are not Hall-of-Famers. None. Zero.
The most similar players were all nice players, but none are Hall-of Famers. These players are Carlos Santana, Jayson Werth, Bob Allison, Jeff Burroughs, Andre Thornton, Pat Burrell, Kevin McReynolds, Matt Stairs, Mark Reynolds, and John Mayberry.
That’s a collection of very good players.
That’s not a collection of Hall-of-Famers.
Nick Swisher was a Yankee for four very enjoyable seasons. He hit .268/105/349 as a Yankee.
Swished added a great element of fun to the Yankees.
He was a very good Yankee. He was a very good baseball player.
Nick Swisher was not a Hall-of-Famer.
Postscript… Nick Swisher had this moment (among other great moments) which, emotionally, is Hall-of-Fame worthy: