The recent announcement of Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame Class of 2012—and the number of worthy players who didn't make the cut—got me thinking about all the guys who had outstanding careers but have never been recognized by the Baseball Writers Association or the Veteran's Committee. I've already ranted a bit about the exclusion of Tim Raines, but I wanted to expand on the concept a bit.
In some cases, there are perfectly good reasons that players have been passed over. In some cases, they just didn't get along with the writers who might eventually vote them in, or they simply went about their business in circumstances that didn't seem to make them stand out from the crowd.
Here's my list of the top ten best players on the outside looking in. Players who, with a couple of notable exceptions, have every right to be enshrined in Cooperstown but have been shunned for one reason or another.
I must give thanks to my keys sources for information and inspiration. My stats are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.
A handful of excellent candidates for the list are pulled from a fine book from a decade ago, "Out by a Step: The 100 Best Players Not in the Baseball Hall of Fame" by Mike and Neil Shalin. Reading this book got me thinking about the people who have not been given the credit they deserve as well as the people who have possibly been given more than they deserve.
A number of the players mentioned have since made their way to the hallowed halls while a whole new group of outstanding players have become eligible to be honored (or snubbed) since then.
A couple of honourable mentions that I believe fall just short of Hall of Fame performance:
Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Lee Smith, Ron Guidry, Luis Tiant, Jim Kaat, Jack Morris.