2013 Baseball Hall of Fame Vote: Huge Snubs Who Deserved to Get Inducted

Zachary D. RymerMLB Lead WriterJanuary 9, 2013

2013 Baseball Hall of Fame Vote: Huge Snubs Who Deserved to Get Inducted

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    There were 37 players on the 2013 ballot for election into the Baseball Hall of Fame. None of them got in.

    This hasn't happened since 1996, and only Craig Biggio and Jack Morris even got close to getting enough support from the BBWAA.

    You could see this coming a mile away. The 2013 Hall of Fame vote always was going to be controversial, and it only got more and more apparent as we got closer to announcement day that there would be zero new Hall of Famers.

    That nobody got in is a mockery of the Hall of Fame voting process. There were enough legit candidates on this year's ballot to create the biggest draft class in the history of the Hall of Fame. 

    More than a few players can rightfully claim to have gotten snubbed, but here's a look at the seven biggest snubs of all.

    Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted. 

7. Tim Raines

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    Tim Raines had already been denied entry into the Hall of Fame five times. He was denied entry again this year, receiving only 52.2 percent of the vote.

    I'm not as huge of a Raines supporter as others are, in part because even I have problems pointing to his impressive career WAR and just leaving it at that. Raines does rank fifth all time (subscription required) among left fielders in bWAR (Baseball-Reference.com's version of WAR), but there should be more to his Hall of Fame candidacy than that.

    Fortunately for him, there is.

    If you were to put a list together of the greatest table-setters in major league baseball history, Raines' name would have to be very close to the top. He fell short of 3,000 hits for his career, to be sure, but he retired with 808 career stolen bases and a career OBP of .385.

    Only two other players in history stole over 800 bases and wrapped up their careers with an OBP of .385 or better. Their names: Ty Cobb and Rickey Henderson (subscription required).

    That's pretty good company right there, and Raines deserves to be in their company in Cooperstown.

6. Curt Schilling

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    In a not-so-surprising development, Curt Schilling got only 38.8 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility.

    Until Hall of Fame voters get with the program, it's going to be hard for any pitcher with fewer than 300 wins to find his way to Cooperstown. As it is, Schilling's 216 career wins are nothing to scoff at. Beyond those, he has more than enough on his resume to warrant selection.

    Everyone knows that Schilling was one of the great control pitchers of his era, but few seem to realize that he ranks among the greatest control pitchers in history. His 4.38 strikeout-to-walk ratio is the best mark (subscription required) among pitchers with at least 2,000 innings pitched.

    That Schilling was a great control pitcher isn't all he has going for him. He stands out as one of the greatest right-handed hurlers of any kind, as he's tied for 13th all time (subscription required) among right-handers in ERA+ and is 16th among righties (subscription required) in bWAR ahead of guys like Jim Palmer and Cy Young.

    These things alone make Schilling a strong candidate for the Hall of Fame, and then there's his postseason track record to consider. He won three World Series and retired with an 11-2 record and a 2.23 ERA in 19 career postseason starts.

    Look past the wins—which are largely useless anyway—and it's clear that Schilling is a Hall of Famer.

5. Craig Biggio

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    Only four players in the 3,000 hit club aren't in the Hall of Fame. One has a lifetime suspension. Another is still active. A third has strong ties to PEDs that understandably have the voters feeling skeptical.

    And this leads us to the fourth player: Craig Biggio. Despite his standing in the 3,000 hit club, he fell just short of election in his first year on the ballot with 68.2 percent of the vote.

    There's no obvious explanation for why the voters gave Biggio the cold shoulder. He's never been linked to PEDs, so he must have been excluded on the basis that his other career numbers aren't impressive enough.

    Biggio may own a mediocre career slash line of .281/.363/.433 and he may not rank among the greatest sluggers, speedsters or fielders of all time, but what everyone has to realize is that he's extremely underrated as a well-rounded player.

    I'll just point something out that I've already pointed out a couple times: Biggio is one of only two players in major league history to amass 3,000 hits, 400 stolen bases and 290 home runs.

    The other (subscription required): Rickey Henderson, who got nearly 95 percent of the vote his first year on the Hall of Fame ballot in 2009.

    Biggio surely wasn't as much of a slam dunk this year, but he deserved to get elected all the same.

4. Mike Piazza

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    Despite his considerable career accomplishments, Mike Piazza managed to be somewhat overlooked on the ballot this year. I was actually surprised that he only ended up getting 57.8 percent of the vote.

    He deserved better. Great hitting catchers are few and far between, and Piazza deserves to be in the Hall of Fame because he is the greatest hitting catcher of all time.

    Piazza retired with 427 career home runs, including an all-time record 396 as a catcher. His career OPS+ of 143 is tops among catchers. He hit at least 30 home runs in a season nine times, and twice led the league in OPS+.

    These things are good enough for me, but apparently not good enough for others. Indications are that has everything to do with how suspicious they are of how Piazza compiled his impressive career numbers.

    Piazza is from the Steroid Era, so he's guilty by association for some. However, he had no real ties to PEDs during his playing days, and no legit dirt has come out on him since his retirement. 

    It's fine if the voters want to leave guys out of the Hall of Fame because of PEDs, but they need to have a) legit evidence that they actually used PEDs and b) a solid argument that they wouldn't have been Hall of Fame-level players without PEDs.

    Neither of these concerns apply to Piazza. They don't apply to the next guy on this list either.

3. Jeff Bagwell

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    The unfair treatment of Jeff Bagwell continues. After receiving only 56 percent of the vote in 2012, he got 59.6 percent of the vote this year.

    I've already made my appreciation/man-love/whatever for Bagwell loud and clear. No matter which numbers you choose to look at, pretty much all of them say that Bagwell is one of the best first basemen in the history of the game.

    Bagwell ranks in the top 10 among first basemen (minimum 5,000 plate appearances) in OBP, slugging percentage and OPS (subscription required). His career OPS+ of 149 ranks him ahead of Willie McCovey and just behind Hank Greenberg among first basemen.

    That Bagwell ranks fourth (subscription required) among first basemen in bWAR reflects how well-rounded he was as a player. In addition to being a great slugger, he was a weapon on the basepaths (202 stolen bases) and a solid defensive player.

    Like Piazza, Bagwell has clearly been labeled guilty by association because he played during the Steroid Era. As for actual ties to PEDs, however, there are none whatsoever. There's only circumstantial evidence against Bagwell, as he very much fit the mold of a hulked-out Steroid Era slugger during his playing days.

    That's as far as the evidence against Bagwell goes, and that's not nearly far enough. He very much deserves to be in Cooperstown.

    As for the next two guys on this list, well, their situations are a little more complicated.

2. Roger Clemens

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    Roger Clemens has a more impressive career resume than Curt Schilling, but he managed to finish behind Schilling in the voting this year. The Rocket received only 37.6 percent of the vote.

    Numbers-wise, there's no question that Clemens belongs in the Hall of Fame. He retired with 354 career wins and 4,672 career strikeouts, which put him third on the all-time list behind Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson.

    Among right-handers, the only pitcher with a higher career bWAR (subscription required) than Clemens is Walter Johnson. Only Pedro Martinez, Johnson, Smoky Joe Wood and Ed Walsh have him beat in career ERA+ (subscription required), and among them only Johnson pitched more innings.

    Then there are Clemens' seven Cy Youngs, his MVP award, his seven ERA titles, five strikeout titles and his two World Series championships.

    But there are also his ties to PEDs to consider, which the voters obviously did. They're stronger than most other players' ties to PEDs. Strong enough even for the government to make a federal case out of them.

    But that case went nowhere, mainly because Clemens' former trainer Brian McNamee was revealed to be the ultimate unreliable witness. It's worth noting that he's the only person ever to claim firsthand knowledge of Clemens' alleged PED use.

    And alleged is all it will ever be. Unless somebody comes up with clear evidence that Clemens used PEDs, he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

1. Barry Bonds

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    The voters treated Barry Bonds even worse than they treated Roger Clemens. Baseball's all-time home run king got only 36.2 percent of the vote.

    Ignore context, and Bonds is obviously one of the greatest players ever. He holds the all-time record with 762 career home runs, and he ranks fourth all time in OPS and third all time behind only Babe Ruth and Ted Williams in OPS+.

    Only Ruth and Cy Young have Bonds beat in bWAR (subscription required). Elsewhere, he won seven MVPs and eight Gold Gloves during his career, and he led the league in OPS a staggering nine times.

    As for Bonds' ties to PEDs, I'm in the same boat as everyone else in believing that they helped him inflate his numbers when they should have been deflating. The evidence against him is just too strong to believe otherwise, as there's a positive test on file for Bonds and he's only ever admitted to not knowingly using steroids. 

    I don't believe him. Neither do you, most likely, and you certainly shouldn't. For that matter, nobody should.

    But Bonds is still a Hall of Famer. Cut off his career at 1999, and you're left with a player who hit 445 home runs and stole 460 bases while posting a .968 OPS and a 163 OPS+. Steroids may have made Bonds the home run king, but they didn't make him a Hall of Fame-worthy player.

    Did he damage the integrity of the game? Absolutely. But he wasn't alone there, and the fact is that the Hall of Fame is already densely populated with scoundrels.

    One more won't hurt.

     

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