If you remember Milwaukee Brewers in the 2000s well, and have vivid memories of the days of Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder being a “1-2 punch” in the middle of the Crew’s lineup, be prepared to feel old.
Ryan Braun already retired and Prince Fielder is now eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot.
— Ryan Thibodaux (@NotMrTibbs) November 22, 2021
Fielder played for the Brewers from 2005-2011, and helped lead the Brewers to postseason appearances in 2008 and 2011. At just 23 years old in 2007, Fielder became the youngest player to slug 50 home runs in a single season.
Brewers legend Prince Fielder is now eligible for the Hall of Fame, but will he get elected?
In all likelihood, we’re not going to see Prince Fielder get inducted into the Hall of Fame next summer. And he may not make it into the Hall of Fame at all.
Fielder’s physical prime was legendary, and he was certainly on track to head to Cooperstown. He had 230 home runs through his age-27 season and his first six full seasons. He was durable, playing in all 162 games in 4 of his 12 seasons, and playing in at least 157 games with Milwaukee in every season but 2005, when he was called up mid-season.
He led the league in RBIs in 2009 and in walks in 2010. Fielder was a six-time All Star, three-time Silver Slugger, and was Top 5 in MVP voting three times.
However, Fielder’s career took a downturn after he left Milwaukee. In two years with the Tigers, he hit 30 and 25 home runs respectively. Fielder hadn’t hit less than 32 bombs in a season with Milwaukee since his first full season in 2006.
Then, after a trade to the Texas Rangers, Fielder started dealing with neck injuries. He missed a lot of time in 2014, then had a good bounce-back season in 2015, but struggled to stay healthy again in 2016.
Fielder had to medically retire due to a recurring neck injury that was impacting his vision and made it impossible for him to pick up pitches.
Because Fielder had to retire at 32, his counting stats aren’t nearly as impressive as they would’ve been had he been able to continue playing. Fielder finished his career with 319 homers, the same total as his father, Cecil Fielder. Had he been able to stay healthy, Fielder could’ve easily pushed for 500 homers and been a lock for the HOF.
With 1,645 hits, 1,028 RBIs, and a career 134 OPS+, Fielder had a great career, but likely not Hall-of-Fame worthy with his resume as is.
He’ll get more Brewers award recognitions, but the overall baseball hall of fame is likely out of his reach.
Still, it’ll be interesting to see how many votes he gets and how long he can stay on the ballot.