History is littered with great center fielders, almost none of which have made the Hall of Fame.
Only seven center fielders have made it to Cooperstown via the traditional method (election by the Baseball Writers’ Association). Two of those elected are Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker, who were elected in the first and second votes ever taken, respectively.
So, from the Hall’s third election on, only five center fielders have been voted in in the standard way. After third base, center field may be the most underrepresented position in the Hall of Fame.
Currently, the position of center field is in something of a state of flux. There seems to be a slight “new guard/old guard” movement going on.
As I compiled a list of players to cover, I noticed a definite split in age groups: players in their mid to late 30s with a good shot at enshrinement in Cooperstown, and players in their early 20s with their best years likely ahead.
In between that, there are some good players, but no one in the group remotely resembles anything near a Hall of Fame candidate (if you would like to argue that, say, Marlon Byrd or Aaron Rowand is a Hall of Fame candidate, feel free, but don’t expect me to take you seriously).
Admittedly, several recently retired center fielders have cases for election. Recent retiree Ken Griffey Jr. looks like a first-ballot lock. Kenny Lofton and Bernie Williams have both retired recently and may be better than you realize (especially in Lofton’s case).
However, I decided to only cover current players, and so I must leave these players out.