The 50 best baseball players not in the Hall of Fame

Major League Baseball may have the most elite Hall of Fame in sports. More than 17,000 men have played professional baseball dating back to the 19th century, but in 75 years of elections, just 292 people have been enshrined in Cooperstown. The list of great players passed over time and again continues to grow, and with Hall of Fame voting season once more upon us, I figured it a good time to ask: Just who are the best players not in Cooperstown?

UPDATE, 1/6/2014: VERSION 4.0 OF THIS PROJECT IS OUT (and here’s Version 3.0 and Version 2.0)

Rather than base this on my opinion or some all-powerful stat, I decided to go a different direction– I sought votes from fellow baseball writers, researchers, and anyone else interested. I created a 300-player super ballot and began sending it out on November 22. In all, 63 people voted between the 22nd and December 4, including yours truly. The only rules were to vote for 50 players and to not pick anyone who’d played in the last five years. There wasn’t any ranking system required. Total number of votes received determined a player’s place on the list.

What follows is our list of the 50 best players not enshrined– not 50 players who need a plaque tomorrow, just the 50 best not there, whether they belong in Cooperstown or not. I’ll voice my opinion as I discuss these players. I invite anyone to make their own determinations. I’m also listing the 250 other players who received at least one vote and 34 who appeared on the ballot but got no votes.

The top 50 players are as follows, with their vote totals in parentheses:

1. Bert Blyleven (56 votes out of 63): A 287-game winner in his 22-year career, Blyleven has appeared on the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) ballot for the Hall of Fame 13 times and fell just shy of induction last year. He was never a high-profile pitcher in his era, like Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, or Steve Carlton, but the more Blyleven’s stats are looked at, from his 90.1 WAR to his 60 shutouts to his 3,701 strikeouts, the more he seems like a clear choice for Cooperstown. He shouldn’t be long for this list.

UPDATE, 1/6/2014: VERSION 4.0 OF THIS PROJECT IS OUT (and here’s Version 3.0 and Version 2.0)

2-Tie. Roberto Alomar (55): Like Blyleven, Alomar may get the call for Cooperstown from the writers next month, but it’s not as certain, due to some messy personal issues. Nevertheless, in his prime, Alomar was perhaps the game’s best second baseman.

2-Tie. Ron Santo (55): Santo was a lock for the top 10 here even before his death from cancer on Friday, being named on 52 of the 59 ballots cast before the day he died. A nine-time All Star and five-time Gold Glove-winning third baseman, Santo ranked with Billy Williams and Ernie Banks as a cornerstone of the Chicago Cubs in the 1960s. He’s gone, but never forgotten.

4. Alan Trammell (54): Trammell was never spectacular, save for 1987 when he hit .343 with 28 home runs and 1o5 runs batted in, good for a runner-up finish in American League Most Valuable Player voting. Otherwise, he was the quietly consistent shortstop for the Detroit Tigers for the better part of 20 years. With 2,365 hits and a .285 lifetime batting average, he was also one of the best offensive shortstops in baseball history.

5-Tie. Jeff Bagwell (53): Bagwell might not have been the best first baseman of his generation, but he couldn’t have been far off hitting 449 home runs with a .297 lifetime batting average. More impressively, he played a good chunk of his career in the cavernous Astrodome and thrived. During his National League MVP season in strike-shortened 1994, he hit .373 at home with 23 home runs and 58 RBI in just 56 games.

5-Tie. Shoeless Joe Jackson (53): Jackson would have been in the Hall of Fame 70 years ago had he not been banished for helping throw the 1919 World Series. As it stands, Jackson hit .356 lifetime, had a swing Babe Ruth copied, and put up his best power numbers in his final season before being banned, 1920. Had Jackson played out his career, I could have seen him mirroring Tris Speaker, another sweet-swinging Deadball Era outfielder who increased his slugging numbers in the ’20s and was one of the first players in Cooperstown.

7. Tim Raines (50): I consider Raines a poor man’s Rickey Henderson and were it not for a well-documented cocaine problem early in his career or a platoon role with various teams in the latter part, Raines might also be in the Hall of Fame. Even so, he led the National League in stolen bases from 1981 through 1984 and finished with 808 steals for his career, good for fifth best all-time. Aside from that, he had 2,605 hits, 1,517 runs and a .294 career batting average.

8. Barry Larkin (49): Similar to Trammell, Larkin was a quiet, consistent shortstop who played his entire career for one team, the Cincinnati Reds. He may have boasted greater star power, winning the NL Most Valuable Player Award in 1995 and belting 33 home runs the following year, though he never became a superstar.

9. Edgar Martinez (48): Martinez redefined the value of having an excellent designated hitter, as he became a vital part of the Seattle Mariners success in the mid-1990s. During the 1995 season when Seattle went on its run to the American League Championship Series with Ken Griffey Jr. mostly out of commission and Alex Rodriguez a young non-factor, Martinez may have been the team’s most important player, hitting a league-leading .356 with 29 home runs, 103 RBI, and a 1.107 OPS.

10. Pete Rose (47): Were this my list, I’d have Rose and Shoeless Joe first and second, no question. Both would have been easy selections to Cooperstown had they not been banned for gambling-related issues. Rose owns the all-time hits record, 4,256 and had a wonderfully, hyper-competitive style of play, rightfully earning the nickname “Charlie Hustle.” Still, I think some voters here assumed every pick needed to be someone they would vote in the Hall of Fame. I wanted people to make their picks on playing merit, and if this project runs again, I’ll make my approach clear from the outset. I’ll be curious to see if Rose and Jackson rise in the standings.

11. Dick Allen (46): A 2002 book on the 100 best players not enshrined ranked Allen first, and while that’s higher than I would personally tab him, Allen surely belongs somewhere near the top. As a young ballplayer in the 1960s, Allen was one of the premier hitters in baseball, and he bounced back from a mid-career lull to win the 1972 American League MVP. He retired with 351 home runs and a .292 career batting average, and had he not had such a famously surly personality, I suspect Allen would have had his place in Cooperstown 20 years ago.

12. Dwight Evans (45): Evans was the highest-ranked pick that I didn’t have on my personal ballot, and I found myself wondering while I was counting votes why I took Dom DiMaggio and not Evans. While both were superb outfielders for the Boston Red Sox, if I had the pick of either in their prime, I’d take Evans, no question. He offers the better all-around game, particularly with his power.

13. Ted Simmons (44): Simmons has long been a favorite in the baseball research community, ranked by Bill James as the 10th-best catcher all-time. Simmons was an afterthought on the Veterans Committee ballot this year, though we ranked him highest of any player he was up against there. In fact, we gave him more than twice as many votes as the player the Vets voted for most, Dave Concepcion.

14. Lou Whitaker (43): It’s fitting Whitaker would be on this list with his double play partner and Detroit Tigers teammate Trammell. Perhaps if they both get into Cooperstown, their plaques can hang beside one another. That will hinge on the Veterans Committee, which has a stated task to find players overlooked by the BBWAA but often opts for players who garnered significant support with the writers. Whitaker received 2.9 percent of the vote his only time on the writers ballot, despite ranking among the best second basemen of his generation.

15. Larry Walker (42): Walker is Chuck Klein or Lefty O’Doul for a newer generation, another player who put up gaudy numbers in a hitter’s era in a ballpark clearly favoring batters. Seeing as Klein needed almost 30 years after his career ended to make the Hall of Fame, and O’Doul isn’t enshrined, I think there’s a chance Walker might not get in, at least for awhile. That would be unfortunate since Walker also played outstanding defense early in his career, with an arm that could throw out slow runners at first base from his perch in right field. The fact Walker played at the height of the Steroid Era doesn’t help his chances either.

16. Fred McGriff (38): This is another pick I personally flubbed. For some reason, I chose the wrong Mc, going with Tug McGraw when I’d have been better suited to honor All Star first baseman McGriff. How does one take a relief pitcher, even a fine one, over a player with 492 home runs? Luckily, enough fellow voters recognized McGriff’s value to negate my gaffe. That’s one benefit of doing this sort of project via committee.

17-Tie. Will Clark (37): Call me cheesy, but I’m Thrilled about this pick. I grew up in Northern California when Clark was starring for the San Francisco Giants, and to this day, he remains my all-time favorite player. I made a case for his induction after the Giants won the World Series last month. I’ll say here briefly that Clark hit .303 lifetime, offered good power, and provided underrated defense at first base. He finished a distant 17th his only year on the Cooperstown ballot in 2006, receiving 4.4 percent of the vote. At the very least, he deserved more consideration.

17-Tie. Dale Murphy (37): Like Clark, Murphy is another fan favorite. When I included him in a now-outdated list from May 2009 of the 10 best players not in the Hall of Fame, I wrote: “If character counts, Murphy should have been a first-ballot inductee. The Atlanta Braves outfielder and devout Mormon deserves a spot on the All-Time Nice Guy squad, being a throw-back player who never drank and instead did things like answer children’s questions in a regular newspaper column. He also hit 398 home runs and won back-to-back Most Valuable Player awards.” I’d add that Murphy was the best player on some abysmal Braves teams and had comparable numbers to several Hall of Fame outfielders, including Duke Snider.

17-Tie. Luis Tiant (37): If Blyleven gets voted into the Hall of Fame in January as expected, the hunt may be on to find the next underrated pitcher researchers can get behind and promote for Cooperstown. My vote is Tiant, who went 229-172 with a 3.30 ERA and was one of the best pitchers of the 1970s. During his 19-year career, Tiant won 20 games four times and at various points, led the league in ERA, shutouts, WHIP and SO/9 innings.

20-Tie. Mark McGwire (36): I was happy to include all the openly-acknowledged black sheep of the Steroid Era who’ve been retired longer than five years, even if I want them nowhere near Cooperstown. Most of these guys enjoyed a good day at the polls here. Even Jose Canseco got 10 votes, four more than he received his only year on the BBWAA ballot. McGwire fared best with his 583 home runs and former single season record. I’m not sure if it was considered by voters here, but McGwire also has a career OPS+ of 162, tied for 12th all-time.

20-Tie. Joe Torre (36): Torre will almost certainly be one of the first men from this list to receive a Hall of Fame plaque, courtesy of his recently-ended managerial career, one of the best in baseball history, I think. Before that, Torre was an All Star catcher and first baseman, winning the 1971 National League MVP award when he led the circuit with 230 hits, 137 runs batted in, and a .363 batting average. Lifetime, he hit .297, all the more impressive when considered his career spanned 1960-1977, largely a time ruled by pitchers. In another era, he may have hit .320.

22-Tie. Bobby Grich (34): One of our voters, Josh Wilker included Grich in his memoir, Cardboard Gods. Wilker wrote of Grich, “As far as I know, Grich never tangled with Galactus or Modok or the Red Skull; he did once scream at Earl Weaver for pinch hitting for him too often when he was a rookie, but no blows were thrown by either man. Mostly, Grich quietly went about his job, over the course of his career creating a body of work bettered by only a few second basemen in major league history.” Among this body of work: 224 home runs, six All Star appearances, four Gold Gloves, and a career WAR of 67.6.

22-Tie. Keith Hernandez (34): This list is loaded with first basemen, perhaps because there are so many good ones not enshrined. Hernandez isn’t the only former MVP first baseman or perhaps not even the best defender at his position, though he’s certainly one of the top three or five. Hernandez was simply a very good player for the majority of his career, save for a rapid decline at the end.

24. Gil Hodges (33): Hodges may be the original sentimental favorite among non-enshrined players. Perhaps the best defensive first baseman in big league history, with 370 home runs to boot, Hodges fostered his image as a core member of the iconic Boys of Summer Brooklyn Dodgers and became a tragic figure with his death at 48 in 1972. Since then, he’s had unsuccessful try after posthumous try at Cooperstown. Hodges may not be the best player outside the Hall of Fame, but together with Santo, I suspect he might be the most revered.

25-Tie. Tommy John (32): He played 26 seasons and won 288 games despite needing a year off in the middle for ligament surgery so monumental it was later named after him. More impressive, he won 20 games three times after returning to play.

25-Tie. Tony Oliva (32): Oliva won three batting titles and led the American League in hits five times in seven years between 1964 and 1970 before injuries hampered his career. Together with Matty Alou, teammate Rod Carew, Roberto Clemente, and Pete Rose, Oliva was one of the best hitters of the pitcher-dominated 1960s.

27. Don Mattingly (31): Had Donnie Baseball sustained the pace from early in his career, 1984 through 1989 when he won a batting title and an MVP and perennially hit .300, he’d have made Cooperstown, no question. But Mattingly is another fine player whose career permanently shifted course after injury problems. That’s kind of the norm among first basemen on this list.

28-Tie. Jim Kaat (30): In 25 seasons that spanned five decades, from the waning days of the Eisenhower Administration to the Reagan Years and five presidents in between, Kaat won 283 games and 16 straight Gold Gloves.

28-Tie. Rafael Palmeiro (30): I recently chronicled Palmeiro’s troubled bid for the Hall of Fame. Barring a last-minute change of heart from the BBWAA, Palmeiro looks to be the first member of the 3,000 hit club since 1952 to not be inducted into Cooperstown on his first ballot. Even with 500 home runs as well, Palmeiro appears doomed, at least with the writers, for his positive steroid test in August 2005 and his vehement denials before Congress just months prior that he’d ever used.

28-Tie. Dave Parker (30): Another supremely talented player whose career was seriously affected by drug abuse, Parker made my May 2009 list. I wrote then, “This guy’s a Veteran’s Committee pick waiting to happen. If Jim Rice and Orlando Cepeda can get into the Hall, Parker should too. He had better career numbers than those players for hits, doubles, runs batted in, runs scored, and stolen bases.”

31-Tie. Albert Belle (29): Belle got little support the two years he appeared on the writers ballot for the Hall of Fame, consequences of his boorish behavior, his peaking during the Steroid Era, and his early retirement due to injuries. He still might have been the fourth best hitter in baseball for the full decade of the 1990s, after Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr. and Frank Thomas. His defense was something awful, the reason he has a defensive WAR for his career of -6.6, but in his prime, Belle was generally good for 30-50 home runs a year, north of 100 RBI, and a .300 batting average or better.

31-Tie. Ron Guidry (29): Guidry had a relatively short career, 14 seasons, but he made the most of his time, going 170-91 lifetime and posting one of the best pitching seasons ever, 1978, when he went 25-3 with a 1.74 ERA, nine shutouts, and 248 strikeouts.

31-Tie. Minnie Minoso (29): Minoso did a little bit of everything well, batting above .300 eight full seasons, hitting 198 home runs, stealing 205 bases, and winning three Gold Gloves, among other things. With the help of two promotional stunts years after he retired, Minoso also managed to come to the plate in five different decades.

34. Steve Garvey (28): There are a lot of similarities between Garvey and Mattingly. Like Mattingly, Garvey looked like a sure bet for Cooperstown in his early seasons, winning the 1974 National League MVP, his first full season and taking home the Gold Glove at first base that year and the three that followed. But around 1980, his career took a sharp turn

35. Ken Boyer (27): A seven-time All Star, five-time Gold Glove-winner, and the 1964 NL MVP as he helped carry his St. Louis Cardinals to a World Series title, Boyer may have been the best third baseman of his generation aside from Brooks Robinson. Lifetime, he posted 282 home runs, a .287 career batting average, and a 58.4 WAR ranking.

36-Tie. Jack Morris (26): One of the better pitchers of the 1980s and early ’90s, Morris went 254-186 lifetime with a 3.90 ERA and is best remembered for his 10-inning, 1-0 shutout victory for the Minnesota Twins over the Atlanta Braves in Game Seven of the 1991 World Series.

36-Tie. Lee Smith (26): At one point, Smith’s 478 saves were the big league record, though it’s long since been eclipsed. But with the vote totals Smith has posted in Hall of Fame voting the last few years, consistently receiving at least 40 percent of the vote with six more years of eligibility after this one, it appears he could be the next closer in Cooperstown.

38-Tie. Kevin Brown (25): Brown’s name surfaced a few years back in the Mitchell Report as a possible user of performance enhancing drugs. That, and his less-than-endearing personality might smother his chance of staying on the Hall of Fame ballot beyond this year, despite his 211-144 career record and string of dominance in the late 1990s.

38-Tie. Dan Quisenberry (25): Like Smith, another great closer, only one who received far less support on the Hall of Fame ballot his only year eligible. Quisenberry’s relatively short 12-year career and 244 saves may have relegated him to 3.8 percent of the vote in 1996, and he died of brain cancer two years later. Nevertheless, he remains a popular figure in the baseball research community.

40-Tie. Bill Dahlen (24): Aside from Shoeless Joe, Dahlen was the only Deadball Era player to crack the top 50. And if there’s any eligible player from the early days of baseball who could best represent it, Dahlen may be the one. A longtime shortstop in a time where players were generally done in their early 30s, Dahlen hit .272 lifetime with 2,461 hits. Modern research shows he has one of the highest WAR rankings of non-enshrined players at 75.9.

40-Tie. Darrell Evans (24): Evans definitely isn’t the most appealing pick at first, from his .248 lifetime batting average to his modest defensive credentials to the fact he generally played for poor teams. But Evans had phenomenal longevity, hitting at least 10 home runs in 19 of his 21 seasons, belting 34 dingers at age 40, and finishing with 414 homers lifetime. He also walked a lot before it was popular and racked up a respectable WAR rating of 57.3.

40-Tie. Roger Maris (24): In 1978, Los Angeles Times columnist Jim Murray wrote, “The baseball writers are sometimes loathe to reward a guy for a single, incandescent, virtuoso performance over one season. They prefer a guy who keeps doing a predictable thing over and over again. Hank Aaron, who piled up 755 home runs, 30 to 40 at a time over 20 years, will go in the hall by acclamation. Roger Maris, who hit 61 one season, more than anyone ever hit in one season, will never make it.” But what a season it was, 1961. Maris won the American League MVP the previous year as well. Much as I respect Murray, I have no problem voting on the basis of one great year or two. I included Smoky Joe Wood in my top 50 largely for this reason.

43. Orel Hershiser (23): Hershiser won 204 games lifetime, but did his best work early on, going 19-3  with a 2.03 ERA in 1985 and then reaching his pinnacle in 1988. Among his accomplishments that year: a 23-8 record, 2.26 ERA, 58 scoreless inning streak, MVP awards for the NLCS and World Series, and, of course, the National League Cy Young. Hershiser struggled with injuries over the next few years and was never again as dominant.

44-Tie. Graig Nettles (22): Very similar to another third baseman of the 1970s and ’80s, Darrell Evans, Nettles offered good power and not much average, with 390 home runs and a .248 lifetime batting line. In contrast to Evans, though, Nettles won a few Gold Gloves, played on markedly better teams, and managed a slightly superior WAR ranking of 61.6.

44-Tie. Buck O’Neil (22): In September, I interviewed Sports Illustrated writer Joe Posnanski who spent a year traveling the country with O’Neil near the end of his life. Posnanski later wrote a book, The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O’Neil’s America. I asked Posnanski if he considered O’Neil the best Negro League player not enshrined. While I didn’t excerpt it in the interview I published in September, I’ll relay it here. Posnanski told me:

I don’t think he’s the best player. I think he’s the singular spokesman for the Negro Leagues and the voice of the Negro Leagues. I mean, he was a very, very good player, and he was a very, very good manager, and he was a very, very good scout, and he was a very, very good coach, you know the first black coach. I think his case for the Hall of Fame– which I thought was an absolute slam dunk case– revolved around a lifetime in baseball. He was a good player. He won a batting title, almost won another one. He was definitely a good player, but it was not his playing that made him this sort of slam dunk Hall of Fame person. I think it’s the fact that he lived this extraordinary baseball life and contributed to the game on so many different levels. I really don’t know if you could find anybody, certainly not many people in the history of the game who contributed to baseball so many different ways as Buck O’Neil did.

44-Tie. Jimmy Wynn (22): Someone commented here about a year ago, listing Wynn as one of the 10 best players not in the Hall of Fame. I took a look at his stats, noted his .250 batting average, and thought to myself it was crazy talk. But the more I’ve come to understand about how Wynn’s numbers were stunted playing home games in the Astrodome during the 1960s, the more I’ve respected how much he might have thrived in a different era. I don’t know if I could vote Wynn into Cooperstown on the basis of hypothetical projections, but I think it’s a shame he received no votes his only year on the Hall of Fame ballot, 1983.

47. Thurman Munson (21): A seven-time All Star, three-time Gold Glove-winning catcher, and American League MVP in 1976 when he led his New York Yankees to the World Series, Munson appeared on-track for Cooperstown until his death in a small plane crash on August 2, 1979 at 32. The customary five-year waiting period was waved so Munson could appear on the ballot in 1981, the only person I know of besides Roberto Clemente and Darryl Kile to get this exemption since the custom was adopted in 1954. Surprisingly, Munson received just 15.5 percent of the vote, and though he went the full 15 years of eligibility with the writers, his candidacy never again got as much support.

48. Bill Freehan (20): Like Simmons, Freehan was one of the best catchers in baseball, only he played outside a major media market and in an era when back stoppers like Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, and Munson commanded the spotlight. Quietly, Freehan put together a fine career. Playing solely with the Tigers, he won five Gold Gloves and was an All Star 11 of his 15 seasons.

49-Tie. Dave Concepcion (19): The starting shortstop for the Big Red Machine in the 1970s, Concepcion played all 19 years of his career in Cincinnati, making nine All Star teams, winning five Gold Gloves, and even finishing fourth in NL MVP voting in 1981 when he led the Reds to a first-place finish.

49-Tie. David Cone (19): At 194-126, Cone boasted a .606 career win-loss percentage and a beefy lifetime SO/9 rate of 8.3. He also won 20 games twice and took home the 1992 AL Cy Young Award.

(Editor’s note: There was a four-way tie at 49th place between Pete Browning, Billy Pierce, Concepcion, and Cone, with each player receiving 19 votes. In a tiebreaker runoff held late Sunday night and much of today, voters selected Concepcion and Cone for the final two spots.)

UPDATE, 1/6/2014: VERSION 4.0 OF THIS PROJECT IS OUT (and here’s Version 3.0 and Version 2.0)

Players who received at least 10 votes, in alphabetical order: Harold Baines (18), Ross Barnes (13), Buddy Bell (12), Vida Blue (15), Bobby Bonds (17), Pete Browning (19), Jose Canseco (10), Joe Carter (10), Bob Caruthers (14), Norm Cash (13), Eddie Cicotte (15), Rocky Colavito (12), Gavvy Cravath (13), Dom DiMaggio (13), Wes Ferrell (11), Curt Flood (17), Jack Glasscock (12), Juan Gonzalez (15), Dwight Gooden (15), Heinie Groh (10), Stan Hack (17), Babe Herman (12), Paul Hines (10), Frank Howard (14), Charlie Keller (10), Fred Lynn (12), Sherry Magee (14), Carl Mays (10), Tony Mullane (13), Don Newcombe (14), Lefty O’Doul (12), John Olerud (13), Al Oliver (17), Billy Pierce (19), Vada Pinson (17), Willie Randolph (14), Bret Saberhagen (11), Reggie Smith (17), Rusty Staub (10), Vern Stephens (11), Riggs Stephenson (10), Dave Stieb (14), Fernando Valenzuela (13), George Van Haltren (10), Deacon White (13),  Maury Wills (14), Smoky Joe Wood (17)

Everyone else who received at least one vote: Babe Adams (7), Joe Adcock (5), Matty Alou (1), Kevin Appier (3), Buzz Arlett** (1), Dusty Baker (3), Sal Bando (6), Hank Bauer (2), Don Baylor (6), John Beckwith (7), Mark Belanger (1), Charlie Bennett (7), Wally Berger (4), Joe Black (1), Tommy Bond (3), Bob Boone (2), Larry Bowa (1), Bill Buckner (5), Charlie Buffington (2), Lew Burdette (5), Ellis Burks (2), Brett Butler (5), Dolph Camilli (3), Phil Cavarretta (5), Cesar Cedeno (6), Ron Cey (7), Hal Chase (3), Cupid Childs (1), Jack Clark (6), Harold Clift (3), Vince Coleman (4), Jack Coombs (1), Cecil Cooper (4), Walker Cooper (1), Wilbur Cooper (7), Jim Creighton (3), Lave Cross (1), Jose Cruz Sr. (6), Mike Cuellar (2), Roy Cullenbine** (1), Al Dark (2), Jake Daubert (1), Willie Davis** (1), Paul Derringer (1), John Donaldson (1), Mike Donlin (2), Brian Downing (2), Larry Doyle** (1), Luke Easter** (1), Mark Eichhorn** (1), Bob Elliott (3), Del Ennis (3), Carl Erskine (2), Ferris Fain** (1), Cecil Fielder (4), Chuck Finley (1), Freddie Fitzsimmons (4), George Foster (6), Jack Fournier** (1), Bud Fowler** (1), John Franco (9), Bob Friend (1), Carl Furillo (4), Andres Galarraga (7), Ned Garver** (1), Kirk Gibson (8), George Gore (8), Mark Grace (6), Ken Griffey Sr. (1), Mike Griffin** (1), Charlie Grimm (1), Marquis Grissom (1), Dick Groat** (1), Pedro Guerrero (4), Mel Harder (3), Tom Henke (3), Tommy Henrich (4), Tommy Holmes** (1), Ken Holtzman (1), Willie Horton** (1), Elston Howard (9), Dummy Hoy (1), Bo Jackson (5), Sam Jackson** (1), Home Run Johnson (7), Bob Johnson** (5), Sad Sam Jones (2), Doug Jones** (1), Bill Joyce (1), Wally Joyner (2), Joe Judge (1), David Justice (1), Benny Kauff** (1), Ken Keltner (2), Jimmy Key (2), Johnny Kling (2), Ted Kluszewski (6), Jerry Koosman (4), Harvey Kuenn (6), Mark Langston** (1), Don Larsen (4), Tommy Leach (2), Sam Leever (5), Al Leiter (2), Duffy Lewis (2), Bob Locker ** (1), Kenny Lofton** (1- Editor’s note: Lofton was not eligible because he’s been retired less than five years, but someone wrote him in), Mickey Lolich (7), Herman Long (1), Davey Lopes (3), Dick Lundy (4), Dolf Luque** (1), Sparky Lyle (7), Bill Madlock (9), Sal Maglie (3), Firpo Marberry** (1), Marty Marion (2), Pepper Martin (4), Dennis Martinez (5), Bobby Mathews (2), Dick McBride** (2), Jim McCormick (5), Willie McGee (2), Tug McGraw (4), Stuffy McInnis (1), Ed McKean (1), Denny McLain (5), Sadie McMahon** (1), Dave McNally (2), Hal McRae (2), Cal McVey (7), Bob Meusel (4), Wally Moon (1), Dobie Moore (2), Bobby Murcer (4), Buddy Myer (1), Robb Nen (1), Bill Nicholson (1), Joe Niekro (1), Alejandro Oms (5), Tip O’Neill (3), Jesse Orosco** (1), Dave Orr (2), Amos Otis (2), Mel Parnell (2), Lance Parrish** (3), Dickey Pearce (6), Jim Perry (1), Deacon Phillippe (6), Lip Pike (3), Spottswood Poles (7), Boog Powell (2), Jack Quinn (1), Rick Reuschel (7), Allie Reynolds (5), Hardy Richardson (4), Dave Righetti (3), Red Rolfe (2), Al Rosen (6), Schoolboy Rowe (3), Jimmy Ryan (4), Johnny Sain (2), Wally Schang** (1), Herb Score (3), Jimmy Sheckard (5), Urban Shocker (3), Roy Sievers (2), Ken Singleton (5), Joe Start (6), George Stone (1), Harry Stovey (6), Darryl Strawberry (5), Ezra Sutton (6), Frank Tanana (2), Kent Tekulve** (1), Roy Thomas** (2), Bobby Thomson (4), Luis Tiant Sr.** (1), Cecil Travis (5), Hal Trosky (5), Quincy Trouppe (1), Dizzy Trout (1), Jesse Tunnehill** (1), Johnny Vander Meer (4), Mo Vaughn (2), Hippo Vaughn** (1), Bobby Veach (4), Robin Ventura (6), Mickey Vernon (6), Dixie Walker (2), Fleet Walker (2), Bucky Walters (7), Lon Warneke (1), Guy Weyhing (1), Frank White (4), Roy White (1), Will White (1), Bernie Williams** (1- Editor’s note: Williams was not eligible because he’s been retired less than five years, but someone wrote him in), Cy Williams (2), Ken Williams (2), Matt Williams (2), Wilbur Wood (2), Rudy York (1)
(** = Write-in candidate)

Appeared on the ballot, didn’t receive any votes: Dale Alexander, Dick Bartell, Bret Boone, George J Burns, George H Burns, Jeff Burroughs, Ben Chapman, Jim Davenport, Patsy Donovan, Jim Gentile, Hank Gowdy, Ozzie Guillen, Guy Hecker, Larry Jackson, Sam Jethroe, Charley Jones, Dave Kingman, Carney Lansford, Greg Luzinski, Elliott Maddox, Tino Martinez, Frank McCormick, Irish Meusel, Clyde Milan, Wally Moses, Jack Powell, Jeff Reardon, Joe Rudi, Manny Sanguillen, Mike Scott, Cy Seymour, Germany Smith, Vic Wertz, Todd Worrell

People who voted

  1. Myself
  2. Bobby Aguilera of Baseball Reality Tour
  3. Brendan Bingham, reader
  4. Doug Bird, a Sunday contributor on this Web site
  5. Charles Beatley of Hawk 4 The Hall
  6. Bill Bell, reader
  7. Tom Bradley, member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and Retrosheet New York
  8. Bob Brichetto, reader
  9. Zach C., reader
  10. Michael Clair of Old Time Family Baseball
  11. Ev Cope, put together a list of names for the Veterans Committee to consider in 2008
  12. Craig Cornell, reader
  13. Jennifer Cosey of Old English D, member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA)
  14. Victor Dadras, reader
  15. Paul Dylan, reader
  16. Charles Faber, reader
  17. Eugene Freedman, SABR member, Baseball Think Factory contributing author
  18. Gerry Garte, SABR member, contributes articles every other Friday here
  19. Daniel Greenia, who wrote a “Fixing the Hall of Fame” series for Dugout Central and who authored a bi-monthly column for Bill James in the 1980s
  20. Hank Greenwald, former San Francisco Giants announcer, SABR member
  21. Joe Guzzardi, SABR member, Wednesday and Saturday contributor here
  22. Wayne Horiuchi, avid sports card collector who has one of the most extensive game-used/autograph Hall of Fame collections in America
  23. Tom Hanrahan, reader
  24. Douglas Heeren, reader
  25. Jason Hunt of Jason’s Baseball Blog, BBA member
  26. Dave Lackie, reader
  27. Jimmy Leiderman, 19th century photography researcher
  28. Bruce Markusen of The Hardball Times, freelance writer living in Cooperstown.
  29. Dan McCloskey of Pickin’ Splinters
  30. Robert McConnell, reader
  31. Ryan McCrystal of Wahoo’s Warriors
  32. Bill Miller of The On Deck Circle
  33. Andrew Milner, member of SABR and Baseball Think Factory
  34. Cyril Morong of Cybermetrics, SABR member
  35. Rory Paap of, occasional contributor here
  36. David Pinto of Baseball Musings, member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA)
  37. Gary Plunkitt, reader
  38. Repoz
  39. John Robertson, SABR member
  40. Bob Sawyer, reader
  41. Peter Schiller of Baseball Reflections
  42. John Sharp of johnsbigleaguebaseballblog
  43. Steven Sheehan, Ph.D., associate professor of history, University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley
  44. Daniel Shoptaw of C70 At The Bat, founder of the BBA
  45. Christopher Short, “Brooklyn Dodger fan for their existence”
  46. Scott Simkus of Outsider Baseball Bulletin
  47. Mark Simon, researcher and contributor
  48. Gary B. Smith of and a writer for Sports Illustrated from 1995 to 1997 (not to be confused with longtime SI writer Gary Smith)
  49. Sean Smith of Baseball Projection
  50. Aaron Somers of Blogging From The Bleachers, BBA member
  51. John Swol of Twins Trivia, member of SABR, the BBA and MLB Hall of Fame
  52. Dan Szymborski, contributing author to Baseball Think Factory and
  53. Brad Templemann of Baseball In-Depth
  54. Jacob Thompson, reader
  55. Alex Vila, reader
  56. Vinnie, reader
  57. Shawn Weaver of Cincinnati Reds Blog, BBA member
  58. Gregg Weiss, reader
  59. Matt Welch, Editor in Chief, Reason (magazine),
  60. Josh Wilker of Cardboard Gods
  61. Joe Williams, chair of the Overlooked 19th Century Baseball Legends Project, Nineteenth Century Committee, SABR
  62. Jena Yamada, reader
  63. Devon Young of My First Cards, IBWAA member

Thanks to everyone who voted and helped this project. To anyone who missed it, don’t fret– I may make this an annual thing.

UPDATE, 1/6/2014: VERSION 4.0 OF THIS PROJECT IS OUT (and here’s Version 3.0 and Version 2.0)

71 Replies to “The 50 best baseball players not in the Hall of Fame”

  1. Very nice Graham, although my 19th century biased ballot got creamed.
    Surprised that I wasn’t alone with my Dick McBride write-in vote and 3 votes for James Creighton means that there’s still hope out there!

  2. Graham, you can go ahead and list my last name and instead of “family friend”, (we’ll always be your family friend) you can reference, “avid sports card collector who has one of the most extensive game used/autograph Hall of Fame collections in America.”

  3. Great job Graham. I know how much of yourself you poured into making this work and it turned out just fine. Very interesting to see how these fine baseball minds think on this subject.
    Can you make this a yearly event?

  4. In all my years of blogging this may be the best single written, researched, and worked on post I have ever seen. Great work Graham and this is a very good list. There is no doubt in my mind that some HOF voters will reference this list.

    Don’t forget to write an update and link back to this article from your old top 10 list. It will help this post rise up in Google faster.

  5. This was fun, and makes me want to relook at a few players. I think I might be underappreciating some, like Bobby Grich. If you do this again next year, I might find myself myself voting a little differently. I’m surprised there were a lot more votes for Lee Smith than Sparky Lyle… those voters must’ve only looked at the saves total. I have a feeling we’re all going to look again at some of these players. Indian Bob got the most write-ins! Yeah!

  6. Graham: Congratulations on a heroic undertaking that revealed some interesting results. Even those listed who did not make the top 50 provided all of us with some great baseball thrills. If you do it again in 2011, find an intern to help you count the ballots!

  7. Graham, Great Work! This was a lot of fun, and it certainly revealed some surprises. For example, I don’t know how Bobby Bonds didn’t make it into the top 50. His numbers: 300+ homers/ 400+ steals. Five 30-30 seasons. Scored 100+ runs six times. Three Gold Gloves. Career OPS+ (129) same as Eddie Murray & Carl Yaz. Career WAR – 57.0, much higher than many of the players ranked ahead of him.
    I’m sure everyone will find a player they believe should have ranked higher.
    Nice job, Bill Miller (The On Deck Circle)

  8. It was a privilege to vote for the Hall of Fame, and I thank the other 19 members who voted for my boyhood hero, Bill Freehan, the best catcher of the 1960s.

    Baseball is the greatest sport ever invented, and its history is un matched in sport.

  9. Great Job. I counted 18 guys that I did not vote for. The three highest were Tiant, Torre and Hodges. Maybe the biggest surprises to me not on the list were Reggie Smith, Bobby Bonds, Browning and Rick Reuschel. I didn’t realize that Nettles had more WAR than Darrell Evans.

    1. @Cyril I actually counted your ballot first and used it as a sort of acid test for consensus picks. You had most of the big names others included.

      Reuschel fell short here, but who knows what can happen if people keep writing about him….

  10. Awesome! The results were more ‘modern’ than I was expecting, although in retrospect I’m not sure why I was thinking they wouldn’t be. Sorry I missed the run-off election as I certainly would have voted for Pete Browning…. I’m sure I’ll have more comments as I continue to ponder the results. OH! One correction: Sherry Magee shows up with 14 votes on the less than 10 votes list.
    Thanks again for doing this.

  11. Graham, Thanks for doing this, it was fun to participate, I enjoyed it. If you do this annually it will be interesting to see how the list changes from year to year.

  12. Graham, thanks for running this. One simple suggestion for next time: have each voter put their 50 players in groups of ten. Or even more simply, have each voter specify their cutoff point, their HOF in/out line.

  13. Thank you for letting us join in. That was a lot of fun, and it sure made me re-think some of my HOF myopia (Jose Canseco – really? Am I that messed up?)

    Looking forward to doing it again!

  14. While I was disappointed by some of the picks, I believe we have picked far and away the majority of them correctly. I may be guilty of insufficient research/knowledge/information that will cause me to look at some players differently next time around. Above all, the top two should have been Hodges and O’Neil, one for his achievements in baseball, and one for his baseball achievements in life.

  15. Graham, congrats on finishing this project! it was super fun to participate in, so thanks for letting me do so. i find it interesting (as Jimmy and Bob also pointed out) that many in the top 50 played more recently. can’t wait to spend more time digging through the tallies!

  16. Very interesting. I wonder which voter had the most top 50 players on their ballot and who had the fewest? Also wondering who voted for Mike Griffin, a pitcher who had a career record of 7 wins and 15 losses!! Agree with Bill Miller that Bobby Bonds should of made it easily.

    If you do this again next year you should pull anyone who got fewer than 1 or zero votes off the ballot and add anyone who got a write-in vote.

  17. A great job! Thanks Graham. I am a SABR member, with a huge interest in the HOF. Long time Tiger, Red, & Cub fan. I am all for you making this a yearly event. I have many friends who would be interested in voting, but did not have much time to contact anyone this year. I agree you should remove players who only got 1 or 2 votes. Thanks for all your effort with this well put together presentation.

  18. @Brad- He testified before a Cook County Grand Jury in 1921 that he took $5,000. While that testimony disappeared from the grand jury files and led to Jackson’s acquittal on fraud charges, I still believe he did it.

    That being said, I’m certainly in favor of enshrining him. One mistake shouldn’t destroy a man’s career. Also, it’s been almost 100 years. Enough is enough.

    1. Eric Davis had some of the most potential of any major leaguer I ever saw. He could have been a great hitter, stole bases easily, and was a great defensive outfielder. Injuries seemed to plague Eric throughout his career however which ruined his records.

  19. Maris’ ’61 season is the most overrated accomplishment in all of sports! He was barely better than Cecil Fielder in 1990 or George Foster in 1977. No way he should ever sniff the Hall of Fame.

    Nice work compiling this list.

  20. I’ve spent a little more time looking over things but haven’t done much of anything serious… However, I was wondering what the votes were for the 4 way tie for 49th (in the run-off election)?
    And in reply to comment#31: Frank Thomas is not eligible for this vote as he played too recently.

  21. As impressive a body of work that this is, I’m truly disappointed that Rafael Palmeiro received the treatment he did. Congress failed to prosecute him for perjury, meaning they found no evidence that he lied to them when he appeared before them.

    Also, there is at least anecdotal evidence that whatever he tested positive for was out of his system just two weeks later when he re-tested, indicating such a trace amount in his system that his story about Miguel Tejada’s tainted B-12 shot is plausible-to-believable, depending on your bias.

    Palmeiro was guilty of being stupid (taking an injection without medical guidance), but I believe he was the victim of circumstance. His numbers obviously speak for themselves.

  22. I’m not sure how Trammel can be ranked ahead of Barry Larkin. Larkin’s OPS was notably better, and he stole more than 100 more bases with fewer CS than Trammel. His career was more significant in terms of non-statistical accomplishments as well. He had a higher WAR as well.

    Trammell was arguably the better fielder, but it’s not as if Larkin was a slouch with the glove.

    I’m not sure how anyone can look at the two careers and give the nod to Trammell.

  23. Hey Graham;
    Enjoyed your work here….Always up for a good HOF debate….It’s so possible to frame almost anyone in a way that makes them either a good or bad choice for the Hall..
    A couple of thoughts…..I’m with you on the idea of honoring players who were GREAT , even if for a shorter period of time above guys who accumulated statistics over a long period of time..My vision of the Hall is a place where fans of the future can come and learn about guys who made baseball great and who were great themselves, noteworthy players who, if you were a fan during the era in which they played, HAD to know about them… Here’s where guys like Roger Maris, Dale Murphy, Dave Concepcio, and Luis Tiant come into play……Can you imagine being a baseball fan in the 70’s and not know exactly who Murphy and Concepcio were….

  24. Adding to my earlier post,,,,,Concepcion was the best shortstop in the NL for the decade of the 70’s….If that’s on your resume you deserve to get into the Hall,,,I would say he was first in the shortstops who were run producers as well as defensive first guys,,,grandfather to Ripken, Trammell,etc…. No one was better than Murphy for a solid five to eight years…….That and two MVP’s are enough for me…Put him with a better team and he’s a legend everyone remembers…
    I will differ with you on some guys on your list that have gotten popular due to the stat/sabrematic guys…..Darrell Evans, yeah I know he walked a lot, ended up with 400 homers but he was never great…As a Giants fan I know this….He was more valuable than some people thought but over his career he averaged less than twenty HR’s a season and that’s with a very productive, thanks to Tiger Stadium end of career…With guys like Evans you have to look at All-Star and MVP voting totals,,,,,He also gets help from being listed as a third baseman although he played quite a bit of 1b and DH with the Tigers.. Guys in the Hall I take issue with ,,,,,start with Tony Perez, you’ve got Garvey listed in your fifty, well as a fan of the 70’s no one would have taken Tony Perez over Garvey…Tony played for a much better team in an more offensive minded park…He also has much better p.r. but Sparky Anderson would have carried Perez to LA if he could have carried Garvey back through the decade of the 70’s…

  25. One last post, hope its o.k.. Everyone talks about Santo and I agree he deserves to be in the Hall…But my personal case for induction is for Tony Oliva….The Hall inducted the wrong Tony,,,,Oliva won three batting titles, led the league in hits five times in seven years, made eight All Star teams and finished high in the MVP voting on three separate occasions..He was the best player on the good Twins teams in the mid-60’s that included Killebrew, Carew and Bob Allison. He was routinely compared with Clemente and was the first American League superstar from outside the U.S. You could make an arguement he was the first AL superstar of color…Nobody mentions that…He played in an obscure market, and doesn’t have the forum to trumpet himself as Gossage did and Blyleven does….But the guy was one of the top ten hitters in baseball in an era dominated by pitchers….It galls me that Perez and Rice were inducted years after their careers ended , almost as if they were given credit for being better than they were whereas Oliva did well in his first years of eligibility and has suffered as people have forgotten about his great talent…Anyway, he’s a guy I’d vote into the Hall if only because it’s tough to tell the story of Latin Americans coming to America to star in the bigs without the three time batting champion , five time hit leader, eight time All Star named Tony Oliva…..Thanks..

  26. Someone up above on this comments list noted that Eric Davis didn’t receive a single vote. I don’t remember seeing him on the initial ballot. If he was, I missed it. I certainly would have voted for him as easily one of the top 50 not in The Hall. Bill Miller

  27. My mistake. Here are some of the players I forgot: Vic Power, Eric Davis, J.R. Richard, Double Duty Radcliffe and Bob Johnson (who got five write-in votes and may have received at least twice as many if he’d been on the ballot.)

    I’m already looking forward to doing this project again next year and will probably include all of those players on the 2011 Super Ballot.

    To everyone who’s commented, thank you very much for all the kind words. I’ve been kind of overwhelmed the last few days. It’s pretty awesome.

  28. Thanks for the list. It was fun reading up & learning about some old baseball greats. Also, I like how you linked the players to their Baseball Reference pages.

  29. I would take a contrary position…namely that there are too many “pretty good for a long time but never great” players currently in the HOF who should not have been inducted in the first place. Bert Blyleven, who will most likely be inducted this year, is a perfect example of this type of player.

    In 22 seasons, he never won a Cy Young and only finished in the top three of the Cy Young voting three times (1984, 1985, 1989), but amassed strong cumulative statistics simply by pitching for a long time (despite being 5th on the all-time strikeout list, he only once led his league in strikeouts and had a fairly pedestrian 6.7 K/9 ratio).

    My question for all those who voted for him would this: If he was never considered to be the best in his league DURING HIS CAREER, and only three times in 22 seasons considered to be one of the five best pitchers in his league, how can he be considered to be one of the all-time greats worthy of HOF status?

    The answer for me is that he isn’t. He is merely somebody who pitched fairly well for a long period of time, and as such not worthy of HOF status.

  30. Graham,
    Let me join everyone else in saying great job! Lots of fun putting together my top-50 list and now seeing how it compares with the group’s. I’m looking forward to next year’s ballot, anticipating that it might include (at your discretion, of course) Bernie Williams, Tim Salmon, Luis Gonzalez, and Jose Lima, all of whom last played in 2006.

  31. mfw13

    I agree that Cy Young voting is a factor to look at. But the writers don’t know everything. And 6.7 strikeouts per 9 IP might not look that great these days with so many batters swining for the fences, but Blyleven finished in the top 5 in his league in this stat 9 times.

    He led his league in shutouts 3 thimes and had 9 top 5 finishes and is 9th all-time.

    He had 13 top 5 finishes in strikeout-to-walk ratio and 3 1st places. He was in the top 3 every year from 1970-74.

    He led all AL pitchers in WAR from 1971-77 and only Tom Seaver was higher for all of baseball. He is 13th in career WAR.

    For more of what I have written on Blyleven, go to


  32. Great job Graham. I liked the way you listed my full academic title. It makes me look so important.

    I also agree with your take on guys who had great moments or made some sort of significant contribution that doesn’t show up in the stats, especially when the guy had great on-the-field success.

    So for me, Fernando Valenzuela somehow gets in for Fernandomania. And Tommy John has to have some place. By statistical measurements, he had a very good to outstanding pitching career. Although he didn’t perform the surgery himself, it is named after him for a reason. We look at Tommy John surgery as if it’s some rite of passage for all pitchers now. But when he had it done, he was the first. And to get himself back into picthing shape, reinvent himself as a pitcher, and to pitch so effectively for so long–that took real guts and talent.

  33. Mickey Lolich, who in 1975 became the all-time strikeout king among all left handed major leaguers was not in the top 50? And people think Dave Concepcion IS in the top 50? Insane.

  34. Funny how every fan is different. I immediately looked for 3 favorite players: Lolich, Concepcion and Rico Carty.

    Like Eric Loy, I think Mickey Lolich deserves much more recognition than he gets. Unlike Eric, I think David Concepcion absolutely belongs on the list. Concepcion was Tim Raines to Ozzie Smith’s Rickey Henderson; a hall-of-famer in the shadow of an all-time great with a similar skill set. Davey had a slightly higher lifetime OPS+ and had 5 Gold Gloves and counting until Ozzie hit the scene and won the next 12 straight.

    I would have added a write-in vote for Rico Carty, lifetime OPS+ of 132, but frequently injured. No, he probably shouldn’t be in the Hall, but neither should a lot of players on this list.

    Terrific fun.

  35. Wow, another great day of comments.

    Yep, Camilo Pascual, Darryl Kile, and Rico Carty weren’t on the list. I thought of Carty for his .366 season, but I completely forgot Pascual and Kile. I may put all three on next year’s ballot.

    Regarding Concepcion, I’ll say that I was bummed he beat out Pete Browning. It would have been nice to have another 19th century player on the list, and I’ll take a .341 hitter the Louisville Slugger was named after as opposed to maybe the fifth best member of the Big Red Machine (after Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, and Joe Morgan.)

  36. Going by the numbers Albert Belle should be in, as well as Lee Smith, Roberto Alomar, Edgar Martinez and of course Joe Torre. I would give the nod to Pete Rose after his death. Other than that the rest of these players just don’t have the stats to be in the hall or they are suspect of using the juice. As much as I like R. Santo, D. Cone, W. Clark, D. Mattingly, O. Hershiser and B. Larkin. Their resumes are incomplete and enshrinement into the hall is at best a loooong shot. Go to and compare stats and you will see what I mean.

  37. I was described by Ted Williams as having the “most feared curveball in the American League for 18 years,”.During my 18-year baseball career, I compiled 174 wins, 2,167 strikeouts, and a 3.63 earned run average. I was elected to the American League All-Star team 5 times (1959-1962, 1964). In the ’61 All-Star Game I pitched three hitless innings and struck out four. I led the league in strikeouts in 1961 (221), 1962 (206) and 1963 (202). I am currently #55 on the all-time strikeout list. I also led the league in complete games three times (1959, 62, 63), and came in second two more times (1961, 64). My career-high for complete games was 18, in ’62 and ’63. I was also a 20-game winner in those two seasons. If I played today, I would make $15-20 million/yr. The only reason that I am not well known is that I spent the majority of my career with the last place Washington teams and yet I still compiled those stats.
    Shame on you for not including me in the list!!!

    Camilo Pascual

  38. Yes Camilo, you had some great seasons and not to take anything away from you I still keep seeing those 2-12, 6-18, 8-17 and 8-12 seasons before you finally blossomed. Add to them those quaint and eye catching 6.14 and 5.87 ERA’s and….starting to catch where I’m going? How about four more wins than losses for your career?

  39. this list is pretty impressive, but i can’t find frank thomas! as much as i love bagwell and think that blyleven, santo, larkin, alomar, and trammell also should be in the HOF, the big hurt is a obvious first-ballot HOFer. is there some reason frank’s not eligible yet – something I missed? thanks for the hard work you put into it.

  40. Hi chicagojedi,

    We went with a five-year waiting period for this list, the same rule the Baseball Writers Association of America uses for its Hall of Fame vote. Our use of this rule meant players couldn’t have been active past 2005 to qualify here. Frank Thomas last played in 2008 and will be eligible in three years.

    Thanks for reading,
    Graham Womack

    P.S. You could argue I forgot the original Frank Thomas.

  41. I thought the voting was somewhat too favorable for recently active players, but did a good job in terms
    of identifying really outstanding ones
    I agree with Graham that Joe Jackson probably had a higher peak value than anyone else on the ballot. Given that Rose played himself over more qualified players while managing the Reds I disagree with the Idea that Rose had the most valuable carreer of anyone on the ballot. I think I would take Browning,
    and Raines and Bagwell over Rose.
    I have comment about Oliva: He walked too infrequantly to be a DOMINANT hitter, making his batting titles highly overrated It was very hard to his .300 in the AL 1960, but it was a lot easier to do that in Minnesota than in the rest of the stadiums. I am not impressed.

  42. Great project,really enjoyed it. Need more catchers in hall of fame, lets start with Ted Simmons and Bill Freehan!

  43. Oliver got 17 votes, and without checking the results, I think he came in about 60th. I think he was in my top 50, and I’d definitely vote him into the Hall of Fame. He’s probably one of the more underrated hitters in baseball history, someone who hit better than .300 and came close to 3,000 hits in an era that favored pitchers.

  44. Mark Belanger should be in HOF. Best defensive shortstop ever. Ozzie never saw a bad hop playing on that turf. Why does a guy who hits 600 home runs get in…but a guy who saved AT LEAST that many with the glove does not?

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