Ranking the 100 Best Eligible Players Not in the MLB Hall of Fame
With such a rich history and so many different eras that exist in stark contrast of each other, baseball lends itself to some great arguments.
One of the best and longest-running arguments fans like to get involved with revolves around the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
There are a lot of players who are on the outside looking in, despite being superior to some players who are already enshrined.
Some players are kept out because of their temperament, some didn't have a long enough peak and others are just totally underappreciated.
This slideshow ranks the top 100 players who are eligible for Hall of Fame induction, but they currently do not have that plaque in Cooperstown.
There were two main rules in making this slideshow.
First, a player had to play a majority of their games in the 1900s. Second, a player has to be eligible for induction. You won't find Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe or Eddie Cicotte on this list.
Also of note here, because this is the era in which we live, the steroids issue must be addressed.
In making this list, players were not penalized for admitting steroid use or rumored steroid use. There just is no way to pick and choose who definitely did use steroids, who didn't and just what kind of impact they had on their play.
That being said, here are the top 100 eligible players not in the MLB Hall of Fame.
Players from the 1800s
Before getting started on the modern ballplayers, here is a look at nine deserving players from the 1800s who haven't been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Caruthers pitched for three teams from 1884 to 1892 and was a two-time 40-game winner. Of his 310 career starts, 298 of them were complete games. His .688 winning percentage ranks fifth all time.
Browning compiled a .341 batting average over 13 seasons starting in 1882. Nicknamed the "Louisville Slugger," Browning was the inspiration for naming the famous bat after he purchased bats from the Hillerich & Bradsby Company.
Glasscock got his start during baseball's infancy in 1879 as a shortstop for the Cleveland Blues. He led the National League in batting in 1890 and was credited with being among the first shortstops to give defensive signals and backup second base on throws.
White was the first-ever batter in National Association history. He played five years in the NA before the league morphed into the National League. White became the second batting champion ever in the National League when he hit .387 in 1877.
Mullane was an ambidextrous pitcher who compiled 284 wins from 1881 to 1894. His wins total is among the highest of anybody not elected to the Hall of Fame. Mullane won 30 games five times.
Buffinton authored one of the most incomprehensible statistical seasons in baseball history in 1884. The righty went 48-16 and struck out 417 batters in 587 innings. It was the same year that Old Hoss Radbourn won 59 games. Sure, it was a different era, but those are some incredible numbers.
McCormick won 265 games over just 10 seasons, topping the 40-win mark twice. His 466 complete games ranks 11th all time. He threw over 500 innings five times, including 657 innings in 1880.
George Van Haltren
Even though he hasn't played a Major League game in 109 years, Van Haltren still holds the National League record for reaching base in 60 straight games, accomplishing the feat in 1893. His 583 steals still ranks 20th all time.
Ryan racked up over 2,500 hits playing mostly for the Chicago Colts as the 19th century came to a close. He batted over .300 10 times and finished with a career average of .308
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100. Reggie Smith
Smith had a long, productive career and while he was never great, he was often very good. He finished fourth in the MVP voting in 1977 and 1978 and received MVP votes in five other seasons. He was a seven-time All-Star.
99. Sherry Magee
Magee was one of 10 pre-1943 players who came under consideration for enshrinement in 2008, but he fell short. He was the 1910 batting champion and was one of the top hitters on the Phillies during the first years of the 20th century.
98. Willie Randolph
Randolph made the All-Star game as a second baseman for the Yankees five times during his career—no small feat while playing in the same league as Lou Whitaker, Frank White and Bobby Grich. He finished with 2,210 career hits and played excellent defense.
97. Bill Buckner
Only four players who are eligible for the Hall of Fame and not enshrined have more hits than Buckner's 2,715. He was the 1980 National League batting champion and is one of only 16 players since World War II who have played in four decades.
96. Ed Reulbach
Reulbach led the league in winning percentage for three straight years from 1906 to 1908 when he compiled a record of 60-15 over the three-year period. He grades well in baseball-reference.com's Hall of Fame Career Standards. He ranks higher than pitchers like Catfish Hunter, Don Drysdale and Jim Bunning in that category.
Photo: Tony Tomsic/WireImage
95. Babe Adams
Adams won 194 games during the dead-ball era for the Pirates and was an early master of WHIP. He led the league in the category five times, including 1919 and 1920 when he registered WHIPs below 1.000. He had a WHIP under 1.200 an incredible 12 times during his career.
94. Graig Nettles
Nettles was a superior defender who finished fifth and sixth in the American League MVP voting in 1977 and 1978, respectively. His 390 home runs ranks among the best for third basemen.
93. Hippo Vaughn
Vaughn middled around during the first six years of his career before winning 21 games for the Cubs in 1914. He won the National League pitching triple crown in 1918 and finished with a career record of 178-137.
92. Dwight Gooden
Everybody concentrates on Gooden's squandered talent, and rightly so. But the truth is he ended up having a productive career after all. Gooden's career .634 winning percentage is higher than Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Bob Feller, Greg Maddux, Warren Spahn and a host of other Hall of Famers.
He is still in the top 50 for career strikeouts and was the author of one of baseball's all-time greatest pitching seasons in 1985.
91. Johnny Sain
Sain was robbed of three prime years when he served in World War II, contributing to a short peak as a star pitcher. But when he did play, Sain was among the best for a short period for the Boston Braves. From 1946 to 1950, he won 20 games four times, leading the league with 24 wins and 28 complete games in 1948. Sain received support for the Hall of Fame in 1975 when he received 123 votes in his final year on the ballot. He received more votes than six eventual Hall of Famers.
Chicago Daily News negatives collection
90. John Franco
Franco holds the record for most game pitched in the National League with 1,119 over his 21-year career. He is second all time in saves with 424, the most ever by a lefty pitcher. Franco led the league in saves three times and was a four-time All-Star.
89. Dick Groat
The 1960 National League MVP teamed with Bill Mazeroski to form one of the best defensive middle infields of his era. Groat won the 1960 batting title with a .325 average and was a five-time All-Star. Groat was also the 1963 MVP runner-up to Sandy Koufax.
88. Mark Grace
In an era dominated by the long ball, Grace was a consistent .300 hitter who played an outstanding defensive first base. Grace batted over .300 nine times and over.295 three more times. He finished with 2,445 career hits and a career .303 average. He finished in the top 10 in the National League in batting eight times. While he wasn't a home run hitter, Grace was a prolific doubles hitter, topping 500 for his career.
87. Charlie Root
Root was allegedly the pitcher who gave up Babe Ruth's "called shot," which often overshadows an excellent career. He was a mainstay in the Cubs' rotation for 16 years and accumulated 201 wins in his career. Root's best year came in 1927 when he led the NL with 27 wins. He finished fourth in the MVP voting that year behind Hall of Famers Paul Waner, Frankie Frisch and Rogers Hornsby.
86. Rocky Colavito
Colavito was a great power hitter and run producer in the 1950s who received surprisingly little support in his Hall of Fame candidacy. At the time of his retirement, only Harmon Killebrew and Jimmie Foxx had more home runs in the American League by a right-handed hitter.
Colavito topped 30 homers seven times, including a league-leading 42 in 1959. He was a six-time All-Star and a three-time top-five MVP finisher. Colavito was also an excellent outfielder, possessing one of the greatest throwing arms in the game.
Photo courtesy of ESPN.com
85. Eddie Yost
Yost was a supremely talented defender who set American League records for third basemen in career putouts, assists and total chances by the end of his career. Yost was also prolific at drawing walks, leading the American League six times in his career. His career total of 1,614 walks ranks 11th all time.
84. Urban Shocker
If there was a Hall of Fame for baseball names, Shocker would be an unquestioned first-ballot entry. Shocker was a workhorse for the Browns and Yankees from 1916 to 1928. He topped 20 wins for the Browns in four consecutive seasons, maxing out at a league-leading 27 wins in 1921. He eclipsed 240 innings pitched in seven of his nine full seasons and had a career record of 187-111.
83. Johnny Vander Meer
Vander Meer had a losing record over the course of his career, and that will likely keep him out of the Hall of Fame. He is responsible for one of the game's greatest accomplishments, though, pitching back-to-back no-hitters in 1938. Despite his 119-121 record, Vander Meer consistently received over 20 percent of the votes in Hall of Fame balloting throughout his eligibility. His peak came in 1967 when he finished with 29 percent of the vote, ahead of 10 future Hall of Famers, including pitchers Hal Newhouser and Bob Lemon.
82. George Foster
Foster's most famous season came in 1977 when he belted 52 home runs at a time when topping 50 homers meant something. In the era between 1965 and 1990, Foster was the only player to hit 50 home runs. Needless to say, he won the NL MVP that season. He has three top-three finishes in MVP voting and placed sixth in 1978. While he was one of the best players in the league during that time, he didn't maintain that excellence for a long period of time.
81. Lou Whitaker
Whitaker was a solid all-around player for the Tigers, but never really excelled in any one area on an elite level. His best years came between 1983 and 1987 when he made all five of his All-Star appearances, won four Silver Slugger and three Gold Glove Awards. The 1978 AL Rookie of the Year played all 19 years of his career with the Tigers.
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80. Will Clark
From the time he broke into the league in 1986, Clark was one of the top hitters in the National League. By the age of 27, Clark had four top-five finishes in the NL MVP voting, including a second-place finish in 1989. Clark's career trajectory didn't continue on that path, though, as injuries robbed him of hundreds of games in the 1990s. Over his final seven seasons, he topped 130 games played just once. Still, he finished his career with a .303 average and six All-Star games.
79. Luis Tiant
At times, Tiant was one of the great clutch pitchers of his generation. Tiant twice led the league with ERAs under 2.00, but he also had five years with an ERA over 4.00. He won 20 games four times, but he also was one of the few post-WWII pitchers to lose 20 in a season. Tiant made three All-Star games and had two top-10 MVP finishes. When he was good, he was excellent, but in the end Tiant was too inconsistent to merit serious Hall of Fame consideration.
78. Kevin Brown
During a time when the game was dominated by Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez on the mound, Brown wasn't that far off from those hurlers. Brown was a six-time All-Star and finished in the top six in Cy Young voting five times. Brown won 21 games in 1992 and had an ERA under 3.00 six times during the steroids era.
Brown has a better winning percentage than Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton and Don Drysdale, and his strikeout-to-walk ratio is better than Ton Seaver, Warren Spahn, Nolan Ryan, Gibson and Carlton. Brown was named in the Mitchell Report as a possible steroid user, but no hard evidence surfaced about his use.
77. Cecil Cooper
Cooper was a main cog in the great Brewers teams of the 1980s, batting third in the lineup behind Hall of Famers Paul Molitor and Robin Yount. A terrific run-producer, Cooper led the league in RBIs twice and doubles twice. He batted .298 for his career and won multiple Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards. He finished fifth in the AL MVP voting on three separate occasions.
76. Bob Boone
Boone was arguably the greatest defensive catcher of a generation that also included Hall of Famers Gary Carter and Carlton Fisk. Although he didn't have the quickness of Johnny Bench, Boone was incredibly durable and was the only catcher who consistently placed in the top 10 for defensive WAR for the better part of two decades. He won seven Gold Gloves behind the plate and led the league in games played at catcher and assists as a catcher six times each.
75. Babe Herman
Herman was an excellent hitter in the 1920s and 1930s, even if he never did really break through to the elite level. Herman's best seasons came in 1929 and 1930 when he combined to hit .387 over the two-year span. He still holds a number of Dodgers franchise records, and at the time of his retirement, his .532 slugging percentage was the fourth-best in NL history.
74. Darrell Evans
Evans played tremendous defense at third base and belted 414 career home runs, but received just eight votes the only year he appeared on the MLB Hall of Fame ballot. His .248 career batting average and status as a "compiler" are his main detractors. Evans averaged just 18 home runs a season between 1976 and 1984. In 1985, at the age of 38, he enjoyed a revival when he hit 40 home runs. He hit 136 homers over his final five seasons after hitting just 159 the previous 10 seasons.
73. Tommy Bridges
Bridges was a fine pitcher for the Tigers starting in 1930 and running right up until he was called into service for World War II in 1944. He was a six-time All-Star and won 20 games three times. Along with Hank Greenberg, Bridges is the only other Tiger to appear in four World Series.
72. Wes Ferrell
The brother of Hall of Fame catcher Rick Ferrell, Wes was a workhorse pitcher mostly for the Indians and Red Sox before World War II. Ferrell pitched 85 complete games over a three-year span in the mid-1930s. Predictably, he ran into arm trouble after that and his career numbers suffered as a result. Although his case was one of 10 reviewed by a special committee in 2008, Ferrell's numbers fell short. He finished with a career record of 193-121 but had an ERA of 4.04.
71. Rusty Staub
Staub was an excellent player early in his career, and by the age of 27, he was already a five-time All-Star. Although he never reached an elite level, he did stick around to compile some impressive stats.
Staub may have cost himself an enshrinement when he chose to return to the Mets to mentor young players in a part-time role rather than seeking full-time work elsewhere late in his career. Despite being just a part-time player over his final five seasons, Staub amassed 2,716 career hits, falling 184 short of 3,000 and a probable place in Cooperstown.
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70. Mickey Lolich
Lolich enjoyed a solid career spent mostly with the Detroit Tigers, but his exploits in the 1968 World Series are his legacy. Lolich won three games in the series, out-dueling Bob Gibson during his signature season in Game 7 to win the series for the Tigers. The three-time All-Star went 217-191 for his career.
69. Stan Hack
When the Cubs legend retired in 1947, he was arguably the best National League third baseman outside of Pie Traynor. His 2,139 hits as a Cub were second only to 19th century legend Cap Anson on the Cubs' all-time list. He was a four-time All-Star and received MVP votes in eight consecutive seasons from 1938 to 1945.
68. Orel Hershiser
Through the 1988 season, it looked like Hershiser was on his way to a truly elite pitching career. He had set a major league record with 59 straight scoreless innings, and in four of his first five full seasons, he had an ERA of 3.06 or lower. However, once Hershiser reached the age of 30, health issues set in and curtailed what could have been a Hall of Fame career. He had four top-four finishes in Cy Young award voting, winning the award unanimously in 1988.
67. Phil Cavarretta
The 1945 NL MVP, Cavarretta played more seasons with the Cubs than anybody in the 20th century. Cavarretta got excellent support in Hall of Fame balloting in the 1970s, peaking in 1975 when he received 35.6 percent of the vote. His percentage was higher than seven eventual Hall of Famers, including Duke Snider, Phil Rizzuto, Richie Ashburn and Don Drysdale. He ended his career with a .293 average and 1,977 hits.
66. Bobby Bonds
One of the great power and speed combination players of all time, Bonds was just the second player to ever hit 300 home runs and steal 300 bases in a career, joining Willie Mays in that group. He also was one of the first power-hitting leadoff hitters, setting a MLB record with 35 career leadoff homers, a record that has since been broken. Bonds was a two-time Gold Glove winner and had two top-five finishes in MVP voting.
Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated
65. Eddie Lopat
Lopat was a mainstay in the rotation of the great New York Yankee teams of the 1950s. In addition to being a winning pitcher for the Yanks during eight regular seasons, he excelled in the World Series, accumulating a 4-1 record with a 2.60 ERA over seven starts. Lopat didn't have the longevity to be seriously considered for the Hall of Fame. He didn't get his start until he was 26 and lasted just 12 years in the bigs, compiling a 166-112 record.
64. Billy Pierce
Pierce is a tremendously underrated pitcher who hurled mostly for the White Sox over an 18-year, post-WWII career. Starting in 1953, Pierce made the All-Star game seven out of the next nine years and received MVP votes in five seasons. He was the starting pitcher in the 1956 All-Star Game on a team featuring Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra. He finished his career with a 211-169 record.
63. Bobby Richardson
Richardson played just 12 years in the major leagues, appearing in the World Series in seven of them. He was a key member of the Yankees during the Mickey Mantle era. Richardson was a clutch World Series player and still remains the only player from a losing team to win the World Series MVP. An excellent defender, Richardson won five straight Gold Gloves and finished second to Mantle in the 1962 AL MVP voting.
62. Carl Mays
Mays was a sidearming spitball pitcher who pitched for four teams in the early 20th century. He is best known for his role in one of baseball's greatest tragedies. Mays was the pitcher who hit Ray Chapman in the head with a pitch, killing the popular Cleveland Indian in a game in 1920.
Despite the tragedy, Mays had a very productive 15-year career. He went 208-126 with a 2.92 ERA and twice led the league in complete games, shutouts and saves.
61. Vida Blue
Blue burst onto the scene as a 21-year-old in 1971, his first full season in the majors. He went 24-8 for the A's, winning the CY Young award and MVP in the American League. Blue never did reach those heights again, but he still made six All-Star games and received Cy Young votes in five seasons. He was a key pitcher on the great A's teams of the 1970s and finished his 17-year career with a record of 209-161.
Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated
60. Bill Dahlen
"Bad Bill" Dahlen's career was split between the 19th and 20th centuries, but it qualifies here since he played more games in the 1900s than he did the 1800s. At the time of his retirement, he held the major league record for games played and was in the top 10 in RBI, doubles and extra-base hits. He was up for Hall of Fame consideration in 2008, but he fell short of enshrinement once again.
59. Pepper Martin
Martin was a key member of the Gashouse Gang Cardinals and was known as one of the team's spark plugs thanks to his raucous play on the diamond. However, the high intensity took its toll physically on Martin, who only played over 100 games five times in his career. The star of the 1931 World Series, Martin was a four-time All-Star and twice was a top-10 MVP player.
58. Al Dark
Dark was a solid player during the post-World War II era in the National League who later went on to become an excellent manager. He finished his 14-year career with 2,089 hits and a .298 career average. Dark received constant moderate support during his 15-year run on the MLB Hall of Fame ballot, frequently drawing more support than current Hall of Famers Bill Mazeroski, Richie Ashburn and Nellie Fox.
57. David Cone
When Cone was on his game, there were few pitchers with better stuff during his era. Cone didn't compile big career numbers since he battled injuries for many years, but he matches up with the best in some of his individual years. He received Cy Young award votes in five seasons, winning it in 1994. He had at least 190 strikeouts in a season 10 times and won 20 games twice. He ranks 22nd with 2,668 career strikeouts.
56. Dom DiMaggio
DiMaggio played just 11 years for the Red Sox, but had a big impact as the team's everyday center fielder playing next to Ted Williams. In DiMaggio's 11 seasons, he made the All-Star game seven times and received MVP votes in six seasons. From age 26 to 28, DiMaggio served during World War II, losing three peak seasons serving overseas as many players of his era did.
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55. Dave McNally
McNally may have had a short peak with the Baltimore Orioles, but what a peak it was. McNally was part of one of the great pitching staffs of all time along with Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar and Pat Dobson. All four won at least 20 games in 1971. He won at least 20 games four straight seasons, finished in the top four of the Cy Young voting for three straight years and placed fifth in the AL MVP voting in 1968.
54. Jim Kaat
Kaat was a classic compiler thanks to an incredible 25-year major league career. He finished with 283 wins, the second-highest total of any modern pitcher not elected to the Hall of Fame who is eligible. He consistently finished in the top 10 for Hall of Fame voting, but he never cracked the 30 percent barrier. Arguably the greatest fielding pitcher of all time, Kaat won 16 Gold Gloves, the most at any position until he was topped by Greg Maddux, who won 18.
53. Jake Daubert
Considered one of the top dead-ball era players not in the Hall of Fame, Daubert was an excellent all-around players for the Brooklyn Superbas and Cincinnati Reds in the early 20th century. He won the batting title in 1913 and 1914 while also displaying average power and speed and playing excellent defense. A career .303 hitter, Daubert accumulated 2,326 hits in his 15-year career and is the National League's all-time leader in sacrifice hits with 392.
52. Mike Cuellar
Like Dave McNally, who appeared earlier on this list, Cuellar had a terrific, but brief, peak as a pitcher for the great Orioles' staff of the 1970s. The 1969 Cy Young award winner, Cuellar won 20 games four times and finished his career with 185 wins.
51. Ron Guidry
Guidry turned in one of the great pitching seasons of all time when he went 25-3 in 1978 with a 1.78 ERA. While he never reached those heights again, Guidry had four top-five Cy Young finishes, made four All-Star games and won five straight Gold Gloves in the 1980s. The three-time 20-game winner finished his career with a 170-91 record for a .651 winning percentage, good for 27th all time.
Photo courtesy of ESPN.com
50. Mel Harder
Harder may never have been a dominant pitcher, but he was incredibly reliable over a career that started while Babe Ruth was in his heyday and ended after World War II. Harder spent 20 seasons hurling for the Indians and was at his best in the mid-1930s. During that time, Harder made four straight All-Star games.
Despite being just a part-time pitcher over his final seven seasons, Harder won 223 games in his career and is the only eligible player who has pitched at least 20 seasons for one club who is not in the Hall of Fame.
49. Bernie Williams
An incredibly consistent and clutch performer, Williams is one of the most accomplished switch-hitters of all time. He was a key piece in four World Series titles for the Yankees, delivering numerous clutch hits along the way. He scored over 100 runs in seven straight season and topped 100 RBI in five of those years. He received 55 votes in the 2012 Hall of Fame voting, his first year on the ballot.
48. Stuffy McInnis
McInnis was an excellent, fundamentally sound first baseman in the early part of the 20th century for the A's and Red Sox. McInnis was a fine defender who set numerous fielding records as a first baseman. He finished first or second in fielding percentage for 13 of his 19 major league seasons. His 383 sacrifice hits still remains third all time. McInnis received eight votes for the Hall of Fame in the 1949 balloting, more than 23 other players that year who were eventually elected to the Hall.
47. Al Oliver
Oliver bounced around on seven different teams during his career, but wherever he went, he flat out hit. One of the more underrated hitters of the 1970s and 1980s, Oliver batted over .300 11 times, finishing with a career average of .303. Oliver accumulated 2,743 hits in his career. Out of all eligible players, only Vada Pinson and Harold Baines have had more and not been voted into the Hall of Fame.
Oliver was a six-time All-Star, received MVP votes in 10 different seasons and won the 1982 batting title when he hit at a .331 clip. Although he was never a serious threat to make the Hall of Fame, it's surprising that he lasted just one year on the ballot before being removed after getting a mere 19 votes in 1991.
46. Bobby Grich
Playing during a time when second basemen weren't asked to even think about home runs, Grich hit with the power of a corner infielder while playing Gold Glove-caliber second base for the Orioles and Angels.
In fact, when Grich led the American League in home runs in 1981, he became the first second basemen to do so since Nap Lajoie in 1901. He was a six-time All-Star and twice finished in the top 10 in MVP voting.
45. Lance Parrish
Parrish was considered one of the top all-around catchers of the 1980s along with Gary Carter, Carlton Fisk and Ted Simmons. He was an eight-time All-Star, six-time Silver Slugger Award winner and won three Gold Gloves. Parrish was one of the keys to the Tigers' 1984 World Series team, finishing third in the AL with 33 home runs that year. He still remains one of the top five home run-hitting catchers of all time.
44. Roger Maris
The big draw for Maris' Hall of Fame case is obviously his 61 home runs in 1961. He is also one of the few multiple MVP winners who has been left out of Cooperstown. Maris' lifetime numbers simply don't stack up, as he tailed off dramatically after the age of 29. He finished with just 275 career homers and a .260 batting average. He got moderate support for his Hall of Fame candidacy, peaking in 1988 when he finished fifth in the voting with 43.1 percent, better than Hall of Famers Ron Santo and Bill Mazeroski.
43. Thurman Munson
The tragedy of Munson is well-known, and his stature as the unquestioned leader of the Yankees made it even more difficult to take. Before dying in a plane crash, Munson was the 1970 Rookie of the Year, 1976 AL MVP, a seven-time All-Star and a leader on the 1977 and 1978 Yankees' World Series championship teams. His best representation on the Hall of Fame ballot came in 1981 when he received 62 votes, which was more than Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski and just shy of Orlando Cepeda's total. His support waned from there, though.
42. Paul Derringer
A young and promising Derringer was traded from the Cardinals to the Reds in 1932 for Hall of Famer Leo Durocher, and he would go on to become one of the great Reds pitchers of all time. Derringer went on to make six All-Star games for the Reds and had two top-four finishes in NL MVP voting. He still holds the Reds' franchise records for most wins by a righty with 161, and his 579 games pitched ranked eighth in NL history when he retired in 1945 after a 15-year career.
41. Dave Concepcion
The five-time Gold Glove shortstop was the glue that held the Big Red Machine's infield together. Playing in the infield with Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez and Johnny Bench, Concepcion was a nine-time All-Star who also won two Silver Slugger awards. He had enough support to stay on the Hall of Fame ballot for the maximum of 15 years, garnering 88 votes in 2008, his final year. The two-time World Series champion finished with 2,326 career hits.
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40. Cecil Travis
Travis was a popular shortstop and third baseman for the Washington Senators who missed four seasons of action when he was shipped off to fight in World War II just as he was reaching the prime of his career. The year before he left, Travis led the AL with 218 hits and batted .359, two points higher than Joe DiMaggio in his year of "The Streak." Travis played in just 226 games after returning from the war, though, batting just .241 over that time. In the nine years prior to World War II, Travis had compiled a .327 average, topping .300 in eight of the nine seasons he played.
39. Keith Hernandez
Hernandez played first base with the range of a middle infielder. Not only was he able to go far to his left and right, but he charged the bunt as well as anyone and had range back into foul territory. His 11 Gold Gloves are more than any first basemen in MLB history.
Hernandez was the 1979 MVP for the Cardinals and finished in the top 10 of MVP voting three straight years for the Mets. The two-time World Series winner finished his career with 2,182 hits and two injury-plagued seasons at the end of his career dropped his lifetime average below .300 to .296.
38. Don Mattingly
For a short period of time in the mid-to-late 1980s, Mattingly was on the short list of the best players in the game. The 1985 AL MVP was a prolific run-producer for the Yankees until a bad back sabotaged his power and longevity. Mattingly made six straight All-Star games, won three Silver Slugger awards and nine Gold Gloves, a record for AL first basemen.
Mattingly batted over .300 in each of his first six full seasons, leading the AL in 1984 with a .343 average. He led the AL in doubles three times, RBI once, hits twice and OPS once. He finished his career with a .307 batting average.
37. Juan Gonzalez
Gonzalez was one of the more feared home run hitters of the steroid era, topping 40 in a season five times. The two-time AL MVP finished his career with 434 home runs and a career batting average of .292. Gonzalez was suspected of steroid abuse and was named in Jose Canseco's book Juiced. His name showed up in the Mitchell Report, but it came without the hard evidence like shipping receipts or direct accusations that others had.
36. Fred McGriff
McGriff was a winning player who fell just shy of 500 home runs, finishing his 19-year career with 493. McGriff was remarkably consistent, belting 30 home runs in a season 10 times during the steroid era without a whisper of accusation about him. He received MVP votes in eight seasons, finishing in the top 10 in six of those years.
McGriff has been on the Hall of Fame ballot for three seasons and saw decent support in 2012, garnering 23.9 percent of the vote, his highest total. If McGriff's totals continue to trend upward, he could gain a groundswell of support, especially without the specter of steroid abuse holding him back.
Photo courtesy of the New York Post via the Library of Congress
35. Larry Walker
Walker was a phenomenal all-around player, and for a five-year period during the peak of the steroid era, Walker had some of the best seasons the game had seen. Walker batted .357 between 1997 and 2001, leading the National League in batting three of the four years in which he was eligible. He was the 1997 NL MVP after hitting .366 with 49 home runs, 130 RBI and 33 stolen bases. He won eight Gold Gloves and finished his career with a .313 average and 383 home runs.
34. Dick Bartell
"Rowdy Richard" Bartell's career started just as Ty Cobb's was ending, but Bartell carried Cobb's legacy of playing the game with reckless abandon. Bartell didn't have the hitting prowess of Cobb, but he did have a fine career nevertheless. Bartell received MVP votes in six seasons, finishing as high as sixth in 1937.
His fiery attitude caused him to wear out his welcome with many clubs, and he ended up playing with five different teams over 18 years. He batted over .300 seven times and was known for having fantastic range at shortstop.
33. Jack Coombs
There were a few seasons in the 1910s where Coombs was one of the top pitchers on the Philadelphia A's. That's no small task when his staffmates were Hall of Famers Eddie Plank, Chief Bender, Herb Pennock and Stan Coveleski. In 1910, he led the A's to a World Series title with a 31-9 record and a 1.30 ERA. Coombs, however, didn't have the longevity of his teammates and faded fast. He won just 43 games over his final seven seasons.
32. Smoky Joe Wood
If Wood didn't sustain an injury to the thumb on his pitching hand in 1913, he very well could have been mentioned along with Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson as the top pitchers of baseball's early years. Wood led the Red Sox to the 1912 World Series behind a record of 34-5. Only Johnson won more games in a season since Wood's 34 wins in 1912. One of Wood's most incredible stats is that in 1,434 career innings pitched, he allowed just 10 home runs.
Wood received 29 votes in the 1947 Hall of Fame voting, the most of any player who still hasn't been elected. His vote total was better than 12 players who eventually would be enshrined, including legendary players like Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, Lefty Grove and Gabby Hartnett.
31. Andres Galarraga
Galarraga transformed himself from a high-average, Gold Glove first baseman to a power-hitting masher after eight seasons in the league with a move to the Colorado Rockies. Playing in Coors Field at the height of the steroid era, Galarraga couldn't help but put up monstrous seasons. He batted .370 in 1993 and hit an NL-best 47 homers and 150 RBI in 1996. He finished with 399 career home runs, 2,333 hits and six top-10 MVP finishes.
30. Dale Murphy
For a nine-year period in the 1980s, Murphy was unarguably one of the best all-around players in the National League. He led a resurgent Braves squad in 1982 and 1983 with back-to-back MVP seasons in which he was a fine power hitter and Gold Glove center fielder. From 1982 to 1985, Murphy played in every single game, was an NL All-Star, Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award winner, and finished in the top 10 in MVP voting in each season. It was one of the truly remarkable runs of success in the decade.
Murphy was hurt by a severe drop-off in production after the age of 31. From 1988 to 1993, he batted .234 and averaged just 15 homers a season. He lingered on the Hall of Fame ballot for the full 15-year run, never really threatening to be elected or dropped off the ballot.
29. Harold Baines
Baines was a pure hitter who would be a phenomenal candidate for the Hall of Compilers if there ever was such a thing. He played for five teams over 22 years and was a well-respected, professional hitter everywhere he went. Baines played in 2,830 career games, 19th all time, and amassed 2,866 career hits, the highest total of any eligible non-Hall of Famer.
Despite his longevity, Baines never won a World Series, never led the league in a major category and the only major award he won was the Silver Slugger award in 1989. Still, he should have gotten a little more support on the Hall of Fame ballot. He lasted just five years before falling off after getting just 4.8 percent of the vote in 2011.
28. Edgar Martinez
Arguably the best designated hitter of all time, Martinez was very similar to Baines but with a little bit more hardware. The two-time AL batting champ made seven All-Star games and won five Silver Slugger awards. One of the great clutch hitters of his era, Martinez finished with a .312 career average and topped 500 doubles and 300 homers in his 18-year career. He has finished no worse than eighth in Hall of Fame voting in his three years on the ballot, topping 32 percent each time.
27. Cy Williams
Williams was one of the National League's first great home run hitters. His career spanned the dead-ball and live-ball eras, exemplified by his league-leading home run totals of 12 (1916) and 41 (1923). At the time of his retirement, Williams was the National League's all-time home run leader with 251. He led the NL in home runs four times.
Williams got moderate support on the Hall of Fame ballot on a few occasions. In 1956 he received more votes than 14 future Hall of Famers, including Leo Durocher, Phil Rizzuto, Joe Sewell, Ernie Lombardi and Bobby Doerr.
26. Vada Pinson
Pinson's career is somewhat overshadowed by the contemporaries he played against as an outfielder in the 1960s and 1970s. That can happen when you play during the same time as Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider, Roberto Clemente and Frank Robinson.
Pinson was a very good all-around player, though, even if he wasn't in the class of those immortals. He led the league in hits, doubles and triples twice each and finished his career with 2,757 hits. He retired early at the age of 36, and if he hung on as long as some of his more accomplished outfield peers, he could have easily gotten to 3,000 hits.
Alex Garcia, Chicago Tribune
25. Minnie Minoso
Minoso is a player whose importance transcends his accomplishments on the diamond. When Bill Veeck brought him back to the White Sox for a two-game stint in 1980, he became the first player to appear in five different decades and also became the last active former Negro League baseball player.
During his time with the White Sox, Minoso was a seven-time All-Star who finished fourth in the MVP voting on four different occasions. Overall, he received MVP votes in eight different years and won three Gold Gloves. Minoso also led the league in "hit by pitch" 10 times, and his 192 plunkings ranks ninth all time.
24. Dick Allen
Allen is a divisive figure when it comes to the Hall of Fame debate. Some argue that he is the best player not enshrined in Cooperstown, while his detractors say he didn't play long enough and his surly attitude turned off a lot of people. Allen played during the pitching-dominated 1960s and 1970s and still managed to top a 1.000 OPS three times.
Allen was a feared slugger and clutch hitter whose .534 slugging percentage was the best of any non-Hall of Fame member until Albert Belle came along. He was the 1972 MVP and a seven-time All-Star.
23. Bill Freehan
One of the great crimes in modern Hall of Fame balloting is that Bill Freehan received just two votes in 1982, his only year on the ballot. Like Allen, Freehan played during baseball's second dead-ball period in the 1960s, causing his offensive statistics to be hindered. Freehan was unquestionably one of the top catchers in the American League, as he made 10 straight All-Star games from 1964 to 1973.
He also won five Gold Gloves, had two top-three MVP finishes and ended his career with 200 home runs, when that meant something as a catcher. As Freehan's career was ending, catchers like Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk and Gary Carter ushered in a new era of catcher. By the time it came to vote for Freehan in 1982, his numbers paled in comparison to those catching at the time.
22. Dave Parker
Parker is one of those players who got much less recognition on the Hall of Fame ballot than he deserved. While he wasn't a superstar on the level of contemporaries like George Brett or Mike Schmidt, he wasn't far off from players like Jim Rice and Andre Dawson. Yet while Rice and Dawson were elected to the Hall of Fame, Parker only received 24.5 percent of the vote in his second year on the ballot and went down from there.
Parker was not only a feared hitter who won two batting titles, but he was also one of the top defensive outfielders in the game. He won three Gold Glove awards and is known for having one of the great outfield arms of all time. He was the 1978 NL MVP, won two World Series titles and received MVP votes in nine seasons, finishing in the top five of the voting five times.
Parker falls short of the magic numbers needed for induction, though. He ended with 2,712 hits, 1,493 RBI and a .290 average.
21. Dwight Evans
Evans was an outstanding all-around right fielder who possessed one of the game's greatest throwing arms. His numbers are at least equal to Hall of Fame peers Jim Rice and Andre Dawson, and his character on and off the field is exemplary.
Although he never really had that true great season, he was the mark of consistency for two decades. His 385 career home runs are the 10th-highest total for any American League right-handed batter. He won eight Gold Gloves and had four MVP top-10 finishes.
20. Vern Stephens
Stephens was one of the top hitting shortstops of the 1940s and received MVP votes for nine straight seasons from 1942 to 1951. He finished in the top 10 in MVP voting in each of his first four full seasons and six times overall. Stephens also was an AL All-Star seven times. Stephens led the AL in RBI twice and home runs once, but his production fell off considerably after the age of 29. The highest number of games he played in after the age of 29 was 109 in 1951.
19. Lefty O'Doul
O'Doul actually is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, just not the one in Cooperstown. O'Doul is in the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame and is credited with helping to popularize the sport in Japan in the 1930s. Before that, O'Doul had some great seasons as a left fielder after being converted from a pitcher at the age of 31. O'Doul had just seven full seasons as an offensive player, but he had two top-three finishes in MVP voting.
O'Doul had one of the greatest offensive seasons in major league history in 1929 when he set a National League record with 254 hits. He batted .398 that season and led the league with a .465 on-base percentage. O'Doul finished his career with a .349 batting average, still the fourth-best in major league history.
His best season on the Hall of Fame ballot came in 1960, when he received 45 Hall of Fame votes, a total higher than 27 future Hall of Famers. He had more votes than players like Ralph Kiner, Chuck Klein, Lefty Grove and Lloyd Waner.
18. Ken Boyer
With Ron Santo's election to the Hall of Fame, many now feel that Boyer is the best third baseman not enshrined in Cooperstown. After serving in the military, Boyer made his debut at the age of 24 and instantly became an impact player for the Cardinals. The 1964 NL MVP was a seven-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner.
17. Allie Reynolds
Reynolds got his start in the majors as a solid pitcher for the Indians in the 1940s. However, once he got to the Yankees in 1947 his career took off. During his eight seasons in pinstripes, he went 131-60 with a 3.30 ERA. Reynolds helped the Yankees to six World Series titles, racking up a 7-2 record with a 2.79 ERA over 15 World Series games.
Reynolds made five All-Star games and had two top-three MVP finishes. Reynolds got a late start to his MLB career and pitched in only 12 full seasons. As a result, his final career numbers don't match up with the great pitchers of his generation. But when he was at his best, Reynolds could pitch with anybody.
16. Tommy John
John was another compiler, but the fact that he was able to stick around long enough to compile those statistics is incredible in itself. The revolutionary surgery that now bears his name was only supposed to provide John with a normal life without pain, not a return to Major League Baseball. However, he remarkably made it back, and he was better than before.
John won 20 games three times, all post-surgery, and was an All-Star on four occasions. He was the Cy Young award runner-up twice and had two other top-eight finishes. John's 288 career wins are the highest total of any eligible non-Hall of Famer, and he is one of just eight pitchers to start at least 700 games in his career. All other pitchers in that category who are eligible are in the Hall of Fame as well.
Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated
15. Lee Smith
When Smith retired, he was the game's all-time saves leader and topped the list in games finished. Usually when you finish your career as the all-time leader in a major category, you are a lock for the Hall of Fame. However, while Smith was an excellent and feared closer, he doesn't have the hardware you'd expect. He only led the league in saves four times in his 18-year career, and his 3.03 career ERA isn't sparkling for a closer. He also didn't thrive in the postseason, going 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA in four games.
However, Smith does have a case that puts him in the Hall of Fame discussion. He finished in the top five in Cy Young voting three times, made seven All-Star games and received MVP votes in four seasons. Smith's case is based on being very good and compiling stats over an 18-year career.
14. Joe Torre
Torre will one day get into the Hall of Fame as a manager, but the chance also remains that he will be inducted as a player one day by the Veterans Committee. Torre was a nine-time All-Star and the 1971 NL MVP after batting .363 with 230 hits and 137 RBI. Torre's best showing on the ballot came in his final year of eligibility when he finished ninth with 105 votes.
13. Mark McGwire
McGwire's candidacy is obviously tainted by his steroids admissions, and it could keep him out of the Hall of Fame altogether. Unlike Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens, people aren't lining up to say that McGwire was a Hall of Fame player before he took steroids. However, his ability as one of the game's top sluggers cannot be denied.
McGwire's at-bats were must-watch TV for nearly a decade, and he fully captivated the nation for a summer in 1998. He topped 50 home runs four times and finished with 583 career homers. McGwire was a 12-time All-Star, finished in the top seven in MVP voting seven times and was the 1987 Rookie of the Year after belting 49 home runs, an MLB-record for rookies.
12. Steve Garvey
Garvey was a remarkably consistent and clutch performer for the great Dodgers teams for over a decade in the 1970s and 1980s. He made eight straight All-Star games and 10 overall, was the 1974 NL MVP and had four other top-six finishes and had 200 hits six times. Garvey was even better in the postseason, holding a .338 average and 11 home runs in 55 games. He was a two-time NLCS MVP.
Garvey was a durable player who played in 160 or more games nine times and won four Gold Glove awards at first base. His Hall of Fame candidacy peaked in 1995, his third year on the ballot. Garvey received 42.6 percent of the vote, more than eventual Hall of Famers Jim Rice, Bruce Sutter and Ron Santo. Garvey will likely be a strong Veterans Committee candidate years down the line.
11. Tony Oliva
Oliva was a terrific hitter for the Twins in the 1960s and 1970s. He is hurt by the fact that he really only played 11 full seasons in the major leagues. The years he did play, though, he was unquestionably one of the top hitters in the league. For eight straight years he made the AL All-Star team and finished in the top 20 for AL MVP voting. He won three batting titles, led the AL in hits five times and had two runner-up finishes in MVP voting.
Oliva finished third in Hall of Fame voting in 1988, receiving 47.3 percent of vote. The total was higher than Orlando Cepeda, Ron Santo and Bill Mazeroski.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
10. Harvey Kuenn
Before a fine career as a manager, Kuenn was one of the top hitters in the majors during the 1950s and 1960s. Although he was overshadowed by the big home run hitters of the era, Kuenn held his own as a terrific all-around player. He led the AL in hits four times and won the 1959 batting title with a .353 average.
He made eight straight All-Star games and received MVP votes in each of those years. Kuenn won the AL Rookie of the Year in 1953, then led all shortstops in putouts and assists the following year. He consistently received between 25 to 30 percent of the votes on the Hall of Fame ballot, peaking in 1988 when he finished sixth with 39.3 percent.
9. Bob Johnson
"Indian Bob" is one of the great underrated players of the 1930s and 1940s, lost in the shuffle of playing at the same time as Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott, Lou Gehrig and Hank Greenberg. Johnson played just 13 years, but topped 100 RBI eight times, 100 runs six times and 25 home runs six times. Johnson hit for good average on top of his power as well, batting over .290 nine times.
Johnson's career numbers were hurt by a late start, as he didn't make his debut until he was 27 years old. He made seven All-Star games during his career. At the end of his career, he ranked in the top five for American League right-handed batters in career RBI, runs, total bases, slugging and walks. His 288 home runs ranked eighth in MLB history at the time of his retirement.
8. Ted Simmons
Simmons may not have the hardware of Hall of Fame catching peers Gary Carter and Carlton Fisk, but he really isn't that far off. The fact that Carter and Fisk were elected and Simmons lasted just one year on the ballot is just wrong. Simmons was an eight-time All-Star despite playing his career in the National League alongside Carter and Johnny Bench. He batted .300 in six seasons between 1971 and 1980 and was a power threat for a catcher, topping 20 home runs six times as well.
A rare switch-hitting catcher, Simmons held the National League record for switch-hit home runs at any position when he retired with 182. He also held the record for most hits and doubles by a catcher with 2,472 and 483, respectively. While all of those marks were eventually broken, there was no question that at the time of his retirement, he was one of the greatest hitting catchers of all time.
7. Alan Trammell
The best argument Trammell supporters have in their quest for his enshrinement is that many people feel Trammell was superior to Ozzie Smith, a contemporary of his who waltzed into Cooperstown on the first ballot with 91.7 percent of the vote. Even for people who think Smith was better than Trammell, it wasn't as much as their Hall of Fame ballot gaps suggest.
Trammell played for 20 years, all for the Detroit Tigers, and was a six-time All-Star. He received MVP votes seven times, finishing second in 1987. Trammell was selected by baseball historian Bill James as the ninth-best shortstop of all time (h/t MLB.com), ahead of 14 players enshrined in Cooperstown. The four-time Gold Glove winner finished with a .977 fielding percentage, which ranks 23rd all time at shortstop.
6. Albert Belle
Belle may have been a jerk and got caught with a corked bat, but the fact that he had just two meek representations on the Hall of Fame ballot before being dropped is a crime. Belle has a laundry list of reasons why this happened, so he has nobody to blame but himself, but there's no denying his ability as a player before his career was cut short by injuries.
Belle had three straight top-three finishes in the MVP voting, including a second-place finish in 1995 when he was far superior to that year's winner, Mo Vaughn. Belle finished his career on a run of nine straight seasons of 100 RBI. He topped 30 home runs eight years in a row, peaking at 50 in 1995. Over his 12-year career, his 162-game average season was 40 home runs, 130 RBI and a .295 average. His .564 slugging percentage ranks 14th all time.
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5. Jack Morris
Morris is in a race against time and semantics in his quest to make it to Cooperstown. He has just two years left on the ballot but figures to have a tough time cracking through against stiff competition the next two seasons. Morris has increased his votes in each of the past five years, peaking in 2012 at 66.7 percent to finish second behind Barry Larkin.
Morris' case is buoyed by excellent performances in the 1984 and 1991 postseasons when he anchored the Tigers' and Twins' staffs to World Series titles in those respective years. Morris' best argument for enshrinement may be that he was the American League's winningest pitcher of the 1980s and the respected staff ace for a lengthy period of time. He finished with 254 career wins, finished in the top five in Cy Young voting five times and won 20 games three times.
4. Gil Hodges
Hodges' case for the Hall of Fame is interesting because he is a player whose value went beyond the numbers he put up. He never led the league in any major categories, but was still a very productive leader and beloved player on the great Brooklyn Dodger teams of the 1950s.
Hodges lost three years early in his career to World War II, causing his breakout as a player to be delayed until he was 25 years old. Because of this and a quick downfall to his production after age 35, Hodges amassed only 1,921 hits. However, in his prime, he made seven straight All-Star games, had eight top-20 MVP finishes, won three Gold Gloves and three World Series titles. Hodges' 370 homers might not stand as too impressive today, but when he retired it marked the league's fourth-best career total.
Hodges consistently finished in the top five in Hall of Fame balloting throughout his career. In 1971, he finished fourth with 180 votes, better than 12 future Hall of Famers. Remarkably, he finished with 90 more votes than teammate Duke Snider who would go on to be elected in 1980. Incidentally, Hodges finished fourth again in 1980, this time ahead of nine future Hall of Famers.
3. Tim Raines
Raines' candidacy has been gaining momentum in the past few seasons, and it seems that one day he will take his place in Cooperstown. He has increased his totals in each of the past three elections and was up to 48.7 percent in 2012. Arguably the second-best leadoff hitter of all time, Raines' stats have gained more credence as on-base percentage becomes a more valued statistic.
Raines' role as a part-time player over his last six years caused him to miss out on reaching 3,000 hits, as he fell short with 2,605. His 1,330 walks ranks 36th all time and his 606 stolen bases ranks fifth. He made seven straight All-Star games in the 1980s and has three top-seven MVP finishes.
2. Rafael Palmeiro
Instead of talking about his incredible baseball accomplishments, Palmeiro's career is defined as being one of the poster boys for the steroid era. He made a fool of himself in front of Congress, was named in the Mitchell Report and Jose Canseco's book Juiced, and was implicated in Jason Grimsley's affidavit about amphetamine use in the major leagues.
As a player, Palmeiro should have received automatic first-ballot induction into Cooperstown after compiling over 3,000 hits and 500 home runs in his 20-year career. Palmeiro topped 30 home runs 11 times and batted over .300 six times. For all of his accomplishments, though, he only made four All-Star games and had just three top-10 MVP finishes. He received 11 and 12 percent of the Hall of Fame votes thus far in his candidacy.
1. Jeff Bagwell
Bagwell has been on the Hall of Fame ballot for two years and if trends hold up, he should find himself in Cooperstown one day. In 2012, his second year, Bagwell received 56 percent of the vote to finish in third place. Bagwell's numbers are there, and he passes the eye test as a dominant player in his era, but the cloud of steroids has kept him out so far, right or wrong. Bagwell has vehemently denied taking steroids, but that hasn't stopped voters from having their doubts.
His play on the field, though, is worthy of enshrinement. He won the 1994 MVP award and finished in the top 10 in the voting five other times. Bagwell led the NL in home runs in 1996, scored 100 runs nine times and drove in 100 runs eight times. His .948 OPS ranks 21st all time.