Steve Jeltz Should Be Elected to the French Baseball Hall of Fame

September 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Fan News

Unfortunately, the French Baseball Hall of Fame does not exist.  If it did, former Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Steve Jeltz would be a surefire first-ballot inductee.

Admittedly, it is a small field from which to choose. Only nine players have ever been born in France and made it to Major League Baseball. Of those nine, one is still active: Current San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy. He would be the other first-ballot inductee if it was ever to take place.

Steve Jeltz, born in Paris, France, statistically dominates all major offensive categories as a French-born player. He holds nearly all the offensive records.  

He collected more hits, more doubles, more triples and more games played than almost all of the other eight players combined.

Most of Jeltz’s career was spent with the Philadelphia Phillies during one of their darkest periods in recent memory. Following their five-game 1983 World Series loss to the Baltimore Orioles in Jeltz’s first season, the Phillies never won more than 81 games until Jeltz left the team following the 1989 campaign.

In fact, they did not post a winning record until the “Phluke” of 1993 National League championship after Jeltz had departed the team. Their most notable accomplishment was finishing second in the NL East in 1986, ending the season 21.5 games out of first place behind the 108-win Mets.

During this time, Steve Jeltz was able to achieve one career milestone unlikely to be duplicated again: He hit 40 percent of his career home run total in one game.

The Philadelphia Phillies played the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 8, 1989. Though he did not start, Jeltz managed to hit two home runs in the game, one from each side of the plate. It was the first time in the more than 100-year history of the team that this had occurred.

Jeltz is only second to Bruce Bochy on the all-time home runs list by a player born in France.  Jeltz managed five while Bochy was able to knock out 26 during his tenure with the Houston Astros, New York Mets and San Diego Padres.

As a player, Jeltz was not excellent. As a French-born professional baseball player, he was extraordinary. There is no greater player deserving of a French Hall of Fame induction, if it was ever to exist, than Jeltz.

Bochy continues to have success in Major League Baseball as a manager. He will never have half the jeri curl haircut that Steve Jeltz displayed, year in and year out, for the Philadelphia Phillies over the course of seven seasons.

Three cheers for Steve Jeltz and his humble stamp on Philadelphia Phillies baseball history.

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Article Source: Bleacher Report - Philadelphia Phillies