On Tuesday night, the 2024 Baseball Hall of Fame class was announced. Adrian Beltre, Todd Helton, and Joe Mauer will all be enshrined on July 21 in Cooperstown, while old friend Manny Ramirez missed the cut by receiving only 32.5% of the vote. With the 2024 class already set, the list of 2025 candidates has been released, and one former Red Sox star will be making his debut.
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia burst onto the MLB scene in 2007 and endeared himself to Red Sox Nation with his blue-collar style of play, his undersized mentality, and vicious swing. Pedroia took home the American League Rookie of the Year Award that season, while setting the tone as the Sox' leadoff hitter during their 2007 championship run (including a leadoff home run in Game One of the World Series).
Pedroia followed up his Rookie of the Year campaign by winning American League Most Valuable Player in 2008, leading the league in runs, hits, and doubles. In his first five MLB seasons, Pedroia acquired quite the trophy cabinet and was undoubtedly on a trajectory for the Hall. Unfortunately, an injury-plagued and inconsistent second half of his career will likely keep him out.
Per the Hall's profile on Pedroia:
"Four-time All-Star and three-time World Series champion who played 14 seasons, all with the Red Sox...2007 American League Rookie of the Year and 2008 AL Most Valuable Player...Won four Gold Glove Awards and 2008 AL Silver Slugger Award at second base...Led AL in runs scored in 2008 and 2009...Finished career with .299 batting average, .365 on-base percentage and 1,805 hits."
Unfortunately, the story of Dustin Pedroia's career cannot be told without mentioning Manny Machado. In April 2017 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Machado slid high into the the Red Sox second baseman as he attempted to turn a double play. Pedroia would only suit up for nine combined combined games during the 2018 and 2019 seasons and missed the entire 2020 season due to a "serious setback" with his knee.
By the time Pedroia finally hung up the cleats in February 2021, he had undergone seven knee surgeries, with six of those taking place in the aftermath of Machado's slide on that fateful night in Baltimore. Much like how Boston sports fans find Ulf Samuelsson liable for Cam Neely's shortened career, Manny Machado is viewed in the same light with regard to Dustin Pedroia's career.
Even though he will likely fall short of Cooperstown, Pedroia will be inducted in the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2024 alongside Trot Nixon and Jonathan Papelbon.
Pedroia will need to receive at least five percent of the vote to remain on the ballot for 2026, a threshold that remains for each successive year. Eligible candidates must receive 75 percent of the vote for election. If a candidate does not surpass 75 percent of the vote, they will be removed from the ballot after 10 years. All votes are cast by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA).
Pedroia had an admirable career in a Red Sox uniform, he should hold his head high and be celebrated accordingly. Unfortunately for him, it's the Hall of Fame and not the "Hall of Very Good".
In other Red Sox news: