Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame voting results were released today, with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas all making the grade.
The voting behavior of the Baseball Writers Association of America has once more been called into question with a number of notable controversies.
Ken Gurnick, a beat writer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, voted for just one player, Jack Morris, who did not make the grade this year. Via MLB.com, Gurnick said he was voting for Morris on the grounds of "more than a decade of ace performance," adding, "As for those who played during the period of PED use, I won't vote for any of them."
Indeed, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, the biggest names of the so-called Steroid Era, fell well short of the required 75 percent of voters.
A number of other players from that era also fell short in spite of never being named as PED users. Players like Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Fred McGriff and Larry Walker seem to have all been snubbed merely for playing during the time when PED use was common in MLB.
While these are stories that people like Forbes' Chris Smith will no doubt talk about for the next several days in criticism of the current process, two ex-players who continue to languish on the outside looking in and will likely get little press are Tim Raines and Alan Trammell.
Trammell is nearing the end of his eligibility, having now been on the ballot for 13 years out of a possible 15. He received a weak 20.8 percent of the vote—more than a 10 percent drop from his previous two years—and looks to be a long shot, at best, to make the Hall of Fame in his last two years of eligibility.
According to Baseball-Reference, Trammell is one of the finest all-around shortstops of all time. His career stat line of .285/.352/.415/.767 is excellent for a shortstop, and he won four Gold Gloves during his career.
His career offensive WAR of 62.3 is the 80th-best mark of all time, ahead of Hall of Famers Ernie Banks (62.0), Pee Wee Reese (55.4) and Ozzie Smith (47.8). His career defensive WAR of 22.0 is an even more impressive 33rd-best all time, ahead of Hall of Famers Honus Wagner (21.3), Barry Larkin (13.8) and even the great Willie Mays (18.1).
His JAWS score of 57.5 is the 11th-highest all-time among shortstops, ahead of Hall of Famers Larkin (56.6) and Bobby Wallace (55.9) and also ahead of Derek Jeter (56.9), who is almost certainly going to earn a place in Cooperstown as soon as his name shows up on the Hall of Fame ballot.
Over the course of his career, Trammell was a six-time All Star, a three-time Silver Slugger winner and winner of the 1984 World Series MVP on the strength of his .450 batting average and two home runs in five games.
The only real argument against Trammell's candidacy for the Hall is the fact that he played most of his career in the shadow of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken. Trammell was consistently the second-best shortstop in the American League behind Ripken, who hit more home runs, led all AL shortstops in assists seven times and led all AL shortstops in fielding percentage four times.
As someone who was never really considered the best at his position at any time in his career, Trammell has been forgotten by the BBWAA, in spite of the fact that his credentials make him a clear and obvious choice.
Raines' case is almost identical.
In his seventh year of eligibility, Raines picked up 46.1 percent of the vote, a drop-off from his 2013 and 2012 numbers (52.2 percent and 48.7 percent, respectively). So while he is still within striking distance of the magic 75 percent threshold, he's losing ground.
"Rock" Raines is arguably one of the top five leadoff hitters of all time. With the Montreal Expos, he led the National League in steals his first four full years in the majors. He finished his career with 808 steals, the fifth-highest total in MLB history.
His career stat line of .294/.385/.425/.810 is excellent, and his offensive WAR total (68.4) is the 63rd-best of all time, ahead of Hall of Famers Billy Williams (66.3), Jesse Burkett (64.0) and Al Simmons (62.3).
Raines was a steady but unremarkable left fielder, although he led the NL in assists at that position three times, putouts twice and finished his career with the 22nd-best fielding percentage of all time among left fielders (.988).
Raines has the eighth-best JAWS score among left fielders at 55.6. He is ahead of Hall of Famers Williams (52.6), Burkett (50.0) and fellow leadoff specialist Lou Brock (38.6).
Raines was a seven-time All Star. He won the NL batting title in 1986 and took home a Silver Slugger award that same year.
Like Trammell, Raines played in the shadow of a bigger, brighter star.
Rickey Henderson is generally considered to be the best leadoff hitter of all time, with stats that eclipse Raines in virtually every category. Being considered the second-best leadoff hitter of his generation—and playing most of his career in obscurity while with the Expos—has left Raines almost as forgotten as Trammell.
With so much Hall of Fame focus these days devoted to the worthiness of the best-known alleged PED users, it seems that some equally—or more—deserving players have been left in the lurch. It's a shame because it fails to recognize the talent and performance of these players.
One can only hope that the BBWAA comes to its senses and elects Raines and Trammell in the next couple of years or that the process for determining Hall of Famers changes so that they are given the honor they deserve without having to go through this contentious and subjective voting system.
Anything less, in my opinion, is a gross miscarriage of justice.
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