20 Baseball Stars Who Deserve a Bust in Cooperstown
Every winter, new members are inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Congratulations to Barry Larkin and Ron Santo on their inductions this year. It is definitely well deserved.
Every winter, everybody has their own opinion as to who should have been elected. Every winter, somebody is upset because their favorite player did not get elected.
Now it is my turn. Here are 20 players that should be in Cooperstown but are, for some reason, not included.
All of the statistics I mention were found at Baseball Reference.
Gil Hodges had a very solid career as a member of both the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers before becoming a member of the New York Mets to finish off his career. Although he didn't reach 2000 career hits (only 1921) or 400 home runs (only 370), he should have definitely been elected.
His numbers would have been better except for the fact that he missed three years because of World War II. With those three seasons under his belt, his numbers would have gone up enough to eclipse both of these marks easily and made him a much more obvious choice for the Hall of Fame.
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I know that many people could argue that because Edgar Martinez was only a designated hitter, he didn't have a well-rounded enough game to make the Hall of Fame. However, his career .312 batting average, combined with 309 home runs, 1261 RBI and 2247 hits, more than deserve induction. He was one of the highest performing and consistent hitters of the 1990s, and he deserves to hear his name announced as the next member of the Hall of Fame.
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Larry Walker had a career on-base percentage of .400. Honestly, anybody that can get on base two out of five times on average over his entire career gets my vote to be in the Hall of Fame. He also boasted a career .313 average with 383 home runs and 1311 RBI. Between 1997 and 2002, his batting averages were .366, .363, .379, .309, .350 and .338. If this doesn't qualify for dominating his era, I am not sure what does.
Tommy John is probably more well-known for the surgery bearing his name. However, he also had a very successful career that began in 1963 and ended in 1989. He carried an overall 288-231 career record with a 3.34 ERA. He was a four-time All-Star, and he finished runner-up in the Cy Young voting on two separate occasions. It is also impressive to have had the longevity to pitch until he was 46. After a very long career with a great amount of success, he deserves his place in Cooperstown.
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Jeff Bagwell was another power hitter from the 1990s who deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame. After he started out by winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1991, his career continued to go uphill.
He won an MVP award in 1994, and he ended up with career numbers of a .297 average, 449 home runs, 1529 RBI, 202 stolen bases and a .408 on-base percentage. Even though his career ended a bit prematurely due to injury, he still deserves his spot in the Hall of Fame for his domination of the 1990s.
Richie Allen had a stretch during the 1960s and 1970s where he was one of the best hitters in baseball. He was a seven-time All-Star with an MVP award in 1972 with the Chicago White Sox. He was usually near the top of the league in terms of how many runs he scored as well as RBI. He had a very solid career plan several different positions around the diamond, and he should be inducted as a member of the Hall of Fame.
Jim Kaat might be best known as the guy who won 16 straight pitcher Gold Gloves, and while that is definitely a notable and impressive accomplishment, he had pretty good success on the mound as well. With a 283-237 career record and a 3.45 ERA, he showed that there was an arm to go with that glove. He also made his debut in 1959 and pitched until 1983. His career spanned four decades and definitely deserves to find a spot in upstate New York.
Until recently, Lee Smith accumulated more saves that every other player in baseball history. His 478 saves have since been passed by Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera, but let me put it this way. If some athlete had the third most home runs in baseball history, he would be a no-brainer for the Hall of Fame. I realize that this is slightly skewed because saves do not span the whole history of baseball. However, he appeared in 1022 games over his career and posted a 3.03 ERA. He has been getting closer every season, so maybe he will finally get his spot.
Fred Lynn definitely dominated his era. He made the All-Star team every year from 1975 to 1983. Also, he had a remarkable rookie season where was not only named Rookie of the Year but also won a Gold Glove and the MVP. He played for 17 seasons, he nearly collected 2000 hits (1960), and he also hit 306 home runs with 1111 RBI. He was relatively dominant for a good stretch of his early career, and I think that he deserves inclusion in the Hall of Fame.
I know that this one might be a little bit controversial because Dwight Gooden did not necessarily have a long history of success. However, for about 10 years (from 1984 to 1993) he was among the best pitchers in baseball. He also posted a career 194-112 record with a 3.51 ERA. He also struck out 2293 batters. He was definitely a sensation for the first five years of his career, and I think that he was successful enough over this decade to merit inclusion.
Over his career, he definitely put very good numbers as a seven-time All-Star. He hit a career .298 with 83 triples, 186 home runs, 1023 RBI and 205 stolen bases. However, I would also argue that he deserves inclusion because of his contribution to baseball. He played his first professional game in 1949 and took his final at-bat in 1980. While this wasn't continuous time, the point remains that it is still very impressive and adds something to his already solid resume.
Vida Blue contributed excellent numbers throughout his career even though his record wasn't always the prettiest. He ended up with a career record of 209-161 with a 3.27 ERA. He was named to six All-Star teams and won the Cy Young in 1971. He never really put up that many strikeouts, but he did not allow runs across the plate which is ultimately the measure of success for a pitcher. Even though he really never got much love while he was eligible for Hall of Fame voting, he definitely should have received more attention.
Dale Murphy was one of the most dynamic players of the early 1980s. He won back-to-back MVP awards in 1981 and 1982 while playing for the Atlanta Braves. He was also named an All-Star seven times, a five-time Gold glove winner, and he won five Silver Sluggers. Combined with all of this hardware, he ended his career with 398 home runs and 2111 career hits. He was one of the best players out there for a significant portion of the early 1980s, so he definitely deserves more consideration for the Hall of Fame.
Dan Quisenberry was one of the original star relief pitchers in baseball. Although his numbers are not incredibly overwhelming, and he didn't arrive in the majors until he was 26, he still posted a career 2.76 ERA and saved 244 games.
The reason I would include him on this list however is because of the contribution he made to baseball. For example, between 1980 and 1985, he was in the top five of Cy Young voting five times and in the top 10 of MVP voting four times. He helped revolutionize the role of the relief pitcher, and I believe that he deserves attention for that.
Alan Trammell was one of the most well-rounded shortstops of all time. He boasted a career .285 batting average with 185 home runs, 1003 RBI and 236 stolen bases. He also won four Gold Gloves throughout his career, and he has a .977 fielding percentage at shortstop. That ranks him as 22nd all time. That is definitely impressive considering how many shortstops have played baseball throughout the years. Trammell has been gaining momentum among the voters, so maybe they will finally understand that he belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Fred McGriff played for six different franchises over his 19 professional seasons, but he hit the ball hard where ever he went. He ended his career with 493 home runs, 1550 RBI and a .284 batting average. He was named to five different All-Star teams, hit over 20 home runs in 15 of his 19 seasons, and he drove in over 100 runs eight times. He was one of the best power hitters in all of baseball for almost two decades.
David Cone is probably best known for his role in the New York Yankees dynasty of approximately 10 years ago. He ended his career just six wins shy of 200 with a 3.46 ERA. He also struck out 2668 batters in 2898.2 innings to rank 22nd of all time. He was also named to five All-Star teams and won the Cy Young in 1995. He knew how to win baseball games, and he definitely had seasons where he was able to overpower the competition. Since he pretty much dominated the 1990s, I would put him in the Hall of Fame.
I have heard many people say that Jack Morris should be in the Hall of Fame. You know, they very well might be right. His career record was 254-186, and he carried a 3.90 ERA. Also, he pitched a 10 inning gem in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series that has become legendary. He has been gaining support every season, so I believe is on a matter of time before he is inducted into the Hall of Fame. However, it probably should have happened sooner.
Tim Raines was one of those guys who never seem to go away. He made his debut in 1979, and he finally retired in 2002. However, in between that time, he compiled a career .294 batting average with 2605 hits. He also stole 808 bases as well as walked almost 400 more times than he struck out during his career. For me, he is one of the most stereotypical leadoff men in history, and it should only be a matter time before he finds his name in Cooperstown.
"Shoeless Joe" Jackson
Let the controversy begin again. "Shoeless Joe" Jackson was accused of throwing the World Series in 1919. Much has been written and said about the controversy. I don't want to repeat everything here, but I will say that I believe that he deserves to be put into the Hall of Fame on the merit of what he did during his career.
Personally, I find hard to believe that he actually hit .375 during the World Series and was "throwing it." It is hard to hit .375 while trying your best. Also, he was acquitted by a grand jury and maintained his innocence throughout the remainder of his life. It kind of feels like guilt by association in this case, so I feel like Jackson should be at least reinstated to baseball and then tested on his merits rather than association.