J.J. Hardy retired from MLB in 2017 and was inducted into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame in 2021. He’ll be on the ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame during the next cycle. Could Hardy make it into the Hall of Fame?
Former Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy played 13 seasons in Major League Baseball: seven seasons with the Orioles, five seasons as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers, and one season with the Minnesota Twins. His career wins above replacement is 28.1.
The two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove shortstop, including three straight from 2012-2014, ended his career 12-hits shy of 1500 and 12-home runs shy of 200 in his career. In his time as a Baltimore Oriole, Hardy wasn’t a flashy defender, but he was steady and reliable. Could J.J. Hardy be the newest O’s player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame?
Hardy’s offensive numbers got better after a few down years in 2009 and 2010, just before the O’s traded for the then-28-year-old shortstop, but they never lit the league on fire. The criteria to make the Hall of Fame these days aren’t set in stone, but it’s safe to say the only way Hardy could make the National Baseball Hall of Fame would be through his defense.
Comparing the great Ozzie Smith‘s numbers to J.J. Hardy’s numbers, Smith had 13 Gold Glove Awards, a much higher defensive wins above replacement total, but a slightly lower fielding percentage. Hardy’s career marks at the plate give his case some weight against the Wizard, but Smith’s skills on the bases were far superior to Hardy’s, making it difficult to compare the long-time Oriole to the game’s greatest defender at shortstop.
It’s safe to say that J.J. Hardy’s case to make the Baseball Hall of Fame is a longshot, but he could’ve made a bigger case if he won a few more Gold Glove Awards, and maybe got up to 300 home runs. With other shortstops such as Scott Rolen, Omar Vizquel, and Jimmy Rollins making some noise on this year’s ballot, it’s fair to think J.J. Hardy might have a chance at induction down the road.