An interesting post in the Bergen Record asks a question that is asked in the aftermath of a lot of great athletes. Is Marty St. Louis a Hall of Famer?
And while we’re at it, what about Tampa Bay and the Hall of Fame?
We seem to be at the porch, waiting to be invited in. We have seen excellence, but our teams have rarely been good. Somewhere in the middle, there is the Hall of Fame for Tampa Bay, too.
The line starts here.
- Ronde Barber: I know, I know. The sack-interception combination says a lot about versatility, but it’s kind of a gimmick statistic. Moreover, when the voters evaluate Barber, let’s hope they remember the way the ball loved him. Let’s remember there wasn’t much he couldn’t do on the field, a better cover corner than he’s given credit for, a devastating tackler, and a guy who was absolutely going to make the big play of the game. He should be the next from Tampa Bay to go in.
- Marty St. Louis: I know. Some of you are still angry with St. Louis turning his back on a franchise that had been very good to him. It gave him his career, and he walked away. But St. Louis gave a lot in return, too. He won a Cup. He won a Hart (MVP). He scored 391 goals. And he scored big goals, huge goals, while he was a member of the Lightning. If the Hall of Fame is going to stay open, he should be there.
- John Lynch. The nearest I can tell, the only reason that Lynch hasn’t made the Hall already is that he plays safety, and the Hall isn’t very good to safeties. But Lynch was the back end on those great Tampa Bay defenses. He made his name tackling Barry Sanders in the open field. Smart, tough, talented. What more could you ask of him?
- Tony Dungy. Dungy won only one Super Bowl. But he turned around the Bucs, and he helped turn around the Colts. He won almost every year, and he influenced an entire league. Let’s be honest. Winning one Super Bowl with the Bucs’ frachise is like winning two somewhere else. Eventually, he’ll get in.
- Fred McGriff. I’ll say it again. The heaviest argument the voters have these days are PEDs, which make a mortal man’s statistics look small. Now consider that there was never a hint, never a whisper, that McGriff was juicing. That should make his numbers look better. I’m not sure McGriff will ever get into baseball’s Hall, the toughest one of all to crack. But he should.
- Dave Andreychuk. It’s still shocking that Andreychuck isn’t in. He led the world in power play goals. Think this year’s Lightning team could have used a little bit of that? He swapped his career as a great scorer to become a great leader, one of the hardest transitions of them all. Eventually, I think he cracks it.
- Simeon Rice. OK, Rice is a flake. He talks in a sing-song cadence, and he acts like it’s a bad thing to let you know how passionate he was about the game. But a lot of football has become a game between a passer and the main guys rushing him. And few people ever rushed the passer better than Rice. His sack numbers compare well to men who are already recognized. He should create a louder argument than he does.
- Doug Williams. If the measurement is fame, I have always said, than Williams should be in. If the measurement is statistics, leave it to accountants. Williams didn’t have the career passing numbers to be in the Hall of Fame, and he didn’t have enough winning moments. But he won one game so huge that it resonates today. Heck, Joe Namath got into the Hall of Fame on the same ticket.
- Vinny Lecavalier. Even though Lecavalier’s career has disintegrated in Philadelphia, I’m surprised by how much online love there is for him. I don’t think Vinny makes it. I think he’s remembered as a talented player who burned bright for a short period of time. But not long enough.
10. Hardy Nickerson. In some ways, the better days of the Bucs began when the team signed Nickerson, a fine linebacker and a great leader. Again, he didn’t excel at a level where the league noticed, however, and most of his dominance happened just before the Bucs got good. It’ll be tough for him.