Who Are the Cardinals' Hall of Fame Candidates? Part 1
By Gavin Semler
Our second nominee is shortstop and third baseman Jhonny Peralta, making his first appearance on the Hall of Fame ballot. Over a span of 15 seasons, Peralta played for a total of three teams, the first being the Cleveland Indians, in which he spent the first eight years of his career. Packing a fair bit of power, Peralta consistently put up double-digit home run seasons over his lengthy career, while also managing to put up five 20+ home run campaigns. This combined with his ability to hit for a respectable average made him a top offensive contributor for Cleveland throughout the 2000s.
Nevertheless, Peralta would be traded midway through the 2010 season to the Detroit Tigers, where he would play for the next four years. Here, Peralta would see almost immediate success, in 2011 seeing him play in his first All-Star Game, and finishing the season hitting a then career-high .299 with 21 home runs. Peralta would continue to see success at the plate, but his career and reputation took a hit when he was ousted for taking performance-enhancing drugs, forcing him to miss 50 games near the end of the 2013 season.
Having served his suspension before the season’s conclusion, Peralta was able to return to his team in time for the playoffs, and he showed up in full force. Though the Tigers would ultimately fall to the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS, Peralta finished his postseason run with 11 hits, four doubles, a home run, and six RBIs while hitting .333 to finish with an OPS of .898.
After the 2013 season, Peralta would once again be donning a new uniform, this time that of the St. Louis Cardinals. Signing a four-year, $53 million contract, Peralta played a major role in securing the Cardinals their two NL Central championships in 2014 and 2015. This included his career-high season of 5.8 bWAR in 2014, in which he slashed .263/.336/.443. Peralta would also participate in his third All-Star Game in 2015, his second having been in 2013.
A torn ligament suffered in early 2016 would unfortunately spell the beginning of the end for Peralta, forcing him to return in June. Never quite returning to form, Peralta was designated for assignment on June 9, 2017, and despite an attempted return through signing with the Red Sox, Peralta would never play a Major League game again.
Will Jhonny Peralta Make the Hall of Fame?
As of the writing of this article, Peralta has yet to receive a single vote for his induction. Given this lack of support, his dabbling into PEDs, and taking into account his career statistics, it’s borderline impossible that Peralta will be inducted, let alone be on next year’s ballot with a minimum of 5% of the vote. That isn’t to take anything away from his stellar accomplishments—Peralta was able to put up a number of fantastic seasons over his career, and was a solid contributor to every team he found himself on.