Former Brewers Cirillo, Clayton, Franco on Hall ballot

I suppose the fact that they are included in an MLB.com story about “other candidates” says something about the chances that Jeff Cirillo, Royce Clayton or Julio Franco earn the necessary votes this year for enshrinement in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. But they were terrific players, worthy of a mention in the wake of today’s ballot unveiling.

All three of those players appeared for the Brewers at some point — Cirillo at the beginning of his career, Franco in the middle and Clayton at the end. I’ve been blessed to be around Cirillo’s hyper-electric personality a lot over the years, and covered Clayton’s only season in Milwaukee when he graciously stepped aside in September and helped break-in a young Rickie Weeks. I wasn’t around for Franco in 1997, but during his big years with the Indians in the 1980s, I was certainly guilty of stealing his batting stance.

You can click that link above for the full story, plus more links to stories about this year’s fascinating class of Hall hopefuls. Here’s what my colleagues Cash Kruth and Zack Meisel had to say about each of the candidates with Brewers ties:

Jeff Cirillo
A two-time All-Star, Cirillo patrolled the hot corner for six different franchises in his 14-year big league career. He was a steady force in the Brewers lineup from 1994-99 and again in 2005 and ’06. Cirillo batted better than .320 in all but one season from 1996 and 2000. He also tallied a career-high 115 RBIs and 111 runs scored for the Rockies in 2000. Cirillo often performed admirably with his glove, as well. The California native ranked in the top five among baseball’s third basemen in fielding percentage in all but one season from 1998-2003.

Royce Clayton
Widely recognized as a slick-fielding shortstop with speed, Clayton ranked in the top 10 in fielding percentage among players at his position in each season from 2000-05. He twice led his league in assists and putouts among shortstops. Clayton earned a bid to the All-Star Game in 1997, one of five seasons in which he stole more than 20 bases. The California native also tallied 20 or more doubles in a season on 12 occasions.

Julio Franco
Franco graced the big leagues with his durability and unique batting stance for nearly three decades. The three-time All-Star and five-time Silver Slugger Award winner got his first taste of the Majors in 1982 as a lanky shortstop and hung up his cleats in 2007 as a 49-year-old veteran. Along the way, Franco logged 2,586 hits, 281 stolen bases and won the American League batting crown in 1991. Franco is the oldest player in Major League history to post a home run, a grand slam, a pinch-hit homer, two homers in one game and two stolen bases in one contest.

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