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Might Arizona Have its 1st Baseball Hall-of-Famer?

Might Arizona Have its 1st Baseball Hall-of-Famer?
May 24
04:12 2021

 They Came From Arizona

By John Christian Hopkins

Arizona has produced many baseball players who have reached the Major Leagues – but none that have produced a career worthy of the Hall of Fame.

There is a current player who could be on his way, though. Cody Bellinger (Scottsdale) is a young star with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He broke in as a rookie in 2017 with 39 home runs and 97 runs batted in. He slumped a bit in his sophomore year, slipping to 25 round-trippers. Then he came up big in 2019 with 47 homers, 115 RBIs a .305 batting average – and winning the National League Most Valuable player award.

Only 25, Bellinger is just entering his prime and if he can post numbers like he did in 2019, he could have a strong case for Cooperstown.

While not Hall-worthy, the Grand Canyon State has produced some solid players over the years.

Infielder Solly Hemus (Phoenix) played in the Bigs from 1949 to 1959. Never a superstar he was a dependable player and good defender. He had a knack for betting in base; for his career his on-base percentage was .390.

Other Arizona-born players include D.J. Carrasco (Safford), who managed a 24-21 pitching record in eight years. He won his only decision in an Arizona Diamondbacks uniform.

John Denny (Prescott) won 123 games during his 13 seasons on the Majors. His best season came in 1983 with Phillies when he registered a 19-6 record and earned the N.L. Cy Young Award.

Keeping it closer to home, Keith Brown (Flagstaff) was born on Valentine’s Day in 1964. He broke into the Majors with the Cincinnati Reds. He won two of his first three starts in 1988, never winning another game. His four-year career ended with a 2-2 won-loss record.

Gil Heredia (Nogales) won nearly half of his career 57 wins between 1999 and 2000, when posted 28 wins over a two-year span. His 10-year career ended after the 2001 season.

Alex Kellner (Tucson) also started out with promise. He won 20 games in 1949, his second year in MLB, but never matched that performance again. He ended his 12-year career with 101 wins against 112 losses.

The Arizona player with the most state-appropriate moniker is Steve Phoenix (Phoenix). He appeared in three games for the Oakland A’s between 1994-95. He had no decisions. He pitched six total innings in his career, giving up seven hits, nine runs and walking five.

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