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In the game of baseball, there is nothing more exciting than a walk-off hit. At one moment, the outcome of the contest is in the balance. A moment later, it’s over. In baseball history, few players have participated in a walk-off home run more dramatic than Joe Carter.

It was Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. The Toronto Blue Jays were up 3 games to 2 but were trailing the Philadelphia Phillies in the bottom of the 9th inning. With runners on 1st and 2nd, Mitch Williams threw a 2-2 fastball to Carter, who deposited it over the left field wall for a 3-run home run, one that walked it off for victory and delivered the city of Toronto its second straight World Series Championship.

As Jays radio announcer Tom Cheek famously said, “Touch ’em all, Joe, you’ll never hit a bigger home run in your life.”

Five years after Carter won the World Series, he played his last game, finishing his 16-year MLB career with 396 home runs and 1,445 RBI. In 2004, he was eligible for the Hall of Fame on the writers’ ballot but received just 19 votes, a 3.8% share that was shy of the 5% minimum required to remain on future ballots.
Joe Carter is Eligible for the Hall of Fame Again

Now in 2018, Joe Carter has a second chance at Cooperstown, on the “Today’s Game” ballot, the current version of the Hall’s long-standing Veterans Committee. A panel of 16 media members, executives and Hall of Famers will examine the Cooperstown resumes for 10 candidates. The other nine men on the ballot are players Will Clark, Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Orel Hershiser and Lee Smith, managers Lou Piniella, Davey Johnson and Charlie Manuel and the late George Steinbrenner, the longtime owner of the New York Yankees.

I will admit, I was a bit puzzled when I saw Carter’s name on the Today’s Game ballot. He had a very good career but modern sabermetrics are unkind to say the least.

Despite the skepticism many of us may have who are analytically inclined, Carter’s candidacy deserves to be taken seriously. He and the other nine candidates were chosen by a Historical Overview Committee filled by 11 veterans of the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America).

The chief argument that one could make for Joe Carter for the Hall of Fame is that he was a consistent RBI man. From 1984-1998, his fifteen full-time seasons, Carter’s 1,444 RBI were the most in baseball, 125 more than anybody else. The guy drove in runs, a fairly important thing if you’re trying to win baseball games.

In this piece I’m going to first briefly recap and celebrate Carter’s career and then present a case for his Cooperstown candidacy, followed by the case against. I think you’ll enjoy this. It was fun for me to research.

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