Every year, 20-30 baseball players make the Hall of Fame ballot. Generally, of these men, one or two will receive the necessary 75 percent of the votes needed for enshrinement, a handful of others will get lesser totals, and most will fall off the ballot with less than five percent of the vote. Without fail, there are usually at least a few eligible players who get no votes at all.
Most of these men don’t make it to Cooperstown for good reason, though former All Stars and Cy Young award winners sometimes are completely forgotten at Hall of Fame voting time. Here are a few men who laid zeros their only time on the Cooperstown ballot:
P – Mike Cuellar (1983): The passing of the four-time 20-game winner in April prompted me to write about one-and-done Hall of Fame candidates. Incidentally, Cuellar is not the only former Cy Young winner to receive zero Hall of Fame votes. Others in this class include John Denny, Steve Stone, and Pete Vuckovich.
C – Mickey Tettleton (2003): He hit more than 30 home runs four times and was twice an All Star, though he also struck out a lot and was a .241 lifetime hitter.
1B – Cecil Cooper (1993): A reader recently reminded me of Cooper who was a five-time All Star, two-time Gold Glove winner and two-time American League RBI champ. Overall, he had 2,192 hits with a .298 lifetime clip and hit above .300 seven straight seasons.
2B – Manny Trillo (1995): He made four All Star appearances, was a three-time Gold Glove-winner and surprisingly, nabbed two Silver Slugger awards as well.
3B – Bob Horner (1994): The No. 1 overall draft pick in 1978, Horner went directly to the majors and won Rookie of the Year. He later hit more than 30 home runs three times and put together a solid, if somewhat truncated ten-year career, wrapping up at 30 with 218 lifetime home runs. Horner may most be remembered for hitting four home runs in a game in 1986.
SS – Rick Burleson (1993): Burleson made four All Star teams, did well enough offensively to become a hitting coach for the Oakland A’s after retirement and shares the same name as an architect in the Seattle area.
OF – Amos Otis (1990): Otis was a perennial All Star and MVP vote recipient with the Kansas City Royals in the 1970s, retiring in 1984 with 2,020 hits, 193 home runs and 341 stolen bases.
OF – Andy Van Slyke (2001): Van Slyke won five straight Gold Gloves from 1988-1992 as center fielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, twice finishing fourth in MVP voting in that span.
OF – Jim Wynn (1983): Though Wynn boasts just 1,665 lifetime hits and a .250 career batting average, the former longtime Astros center fielder may be among the most underrated players of all-time. His career Wins Above Replacement rating of 59.8 ranks better than first-ballot Hall of Famers like Kirby Puckett, Willie Stargell and Dave Winfield, among others.
All in all, the thought here is that this lineup would triumph in a grudge match against a team of overrated Hall of Famers.