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AFL announces Hall of Fame Inductions

This past Sunday the Arizona Fall League announced their Hall of Fame inductions. Both are outfielders and both currently play for National League teams. Those two players selected are Dodgers’ outfielder Carl Crawford and St. Louis Cardinals’ outfielder Matt Holliday.

The Arizona Fall League has been in existence for 24 years and established their Hall of Fame in 2001 for players who participated in the Arizona Fall League and went on to have outstanding Major League careers. Crawford and Holliday will be the 35th and 36th inductees with the ceremonies taking place in November.

Crawford played in the AFL for the Maryvale Saguaros. He only played in 17 games in the AFL because he also played for Team USA that year in the World Baseball Classic. But, those were some impressive AFL games in which he stole 9 bases and when he went to play for Team USA he was leading the AFL with a .386 batting average. As far as his Major league career, now in his 13th season, his speed did not let up. Crawford is a four-time All Star and a career .291 hitter. He burst onto the scene with Tampa Bay as he became the youngest player to reach 100 home runs, 100 triples and 400 stolen bases. He did this by leading the American League in triples in three different seasons and led baseball in triples one season. He also led the AL in stolen bases in four different seasons. Impressively, Crawford is only the fourth player since 1900 to have 1,500 hits and steal 400 bases before turning 30 years of age.

Holliday, on the other hand, has made his career with more power than speed. In the AFL Holliday played with the Mesa Solar Sox in both 2002 and 2003. Now, in his 11th season in the Majors he has been an All-Star for 6 of them. Earlier this season he drove in his 1,000 run and he led all Major League left fielders in hits, runs, doubles and RBI’s. Holliday is also one of only 18 active players with both 400 doubles and 1,000 runs scored. Plus, he has batted .300 or higher in 8 of his 11 Major League seasons.

I must admit that when I read that Crawford and Holliday were being inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame I wondered if they were deserving. But, taking a deeper look at their stats now makes me believe that they are. With Holliday has been the model of consistency for 11 seasons with both Colorado and St. Louis. The way that Crawford broke into the Major Leagues back with the Tampa Bay club has been kind of overshadowed by the way he has regressed in recent years especially since joining the Dodgers. But, I forgot all that he accomplished with Tampa Bay. That should be rewarded, and will be for both players, as they will be enshrined in the AFL Hall of Fame.