The 10 biggest MLB Hall of Fame voting surprises in MLB history is the task at hand as we get ready to dive into the Great Cooperstown Debate (corny rhyme not intended).
It's one of the greatest debates in sports, the Hall of Fame. Who deserves to be in and who shouldn't be in. And baseball is no exception, where there always seems to be debates about who should be in and who shouldn't be in the Hall.
There are definitely players who should be in the Hall who aren't, and there are those who are in that probably shouldn't be. Here are the ten biggest voting surprises in MLB history.
Alan Trammell (out of the Hall): One of the better defensive shortstops of our era, a nice bat, and made up one of the more memorable double-play tandems in baseball with Lou Whitaker.
Candy Cummings (in the Hall): Credited as the inventor and the first person to throw a curveball. Sports Illustrated's Joe Posnanski, doesn't agree.
Tommy John (out of the Hall): Had a strong career, not to mention being the namesake for a surgery that's changed the game.
Roberto Alomar (not a first-ballot Hall of Famer): Alomar had a great blend of speed, offense and defense. Some think he would've gotten in last year if not for the spitting incident back in 1996.
Rice was an outfielder with a great blend of average and power from the plate. Over his time with the Red Sox, Rice hit more than 350 home runs and hit .298 for his career, which are pretty good totals for a player of his time. He was consistent over a somewhat short career by some standards (15 big league seasons), and is the only player in baseball history to have more than 200 hits and 39 home runs three years in a row. It took him all 15 years on the ballot to finally get in.
Jack Morris wasn't the best pitcher during his era in terms of statistics, but he also won more than any other pitcher during the 1980s. His career ERA is nothing to write home about (3.90), but that was somewhat inflated by the end of his career. He also won 254 games and started 14 straight opening days. He's been an interesting case, but so far he continues to wait for his call.
Waner and his brother Paul still hold the record for the most hits by two brothers (5,611), but he's been one of the players who's criticized more than most for getting into the Hall. Joe Posnanski mentioned him in an article that said he's in that gray area, while Bill James (he of sabermetrics fame) has spoken out against Waner being in the Hall of Fame. He did have a career batting average of .316, but he's become one of the more dubious Hall of Famers.
Evans was one of the biggest mashers during his career in the big leagues. His 414 home runs are 44th all time and he's 12th all-time in walks. But he's also only hit 40 or more home runs twice, only led his league in home runs once, and spread out those 400-plus home runs over 21 big league seasons. That combined with his .248 career batting average might be why the Hall hasn't come calling.
"Shoeless" Joe Jackson is obviously remembered for his involvement (or perhaps not as much as we thought as some believe) in the infamous Black Sox Scandal that led to his lifetime ban from baseball. But what most might not remember is that he still is third all-time in batting average (.356), 31st in OPS (.940) and that he was in the top ten in the American League in both home runs and RBIs six times during his career. Yet he still remains banned.
His 3.31 career ERA was nothing to sneer at, nor was his 3,701 career strikeouts (fifth all time). Yet he waited year after year, while the home-grown movement to elect him into the Hall of Fame continued to grow. Finally, earlier this month, after years on the ballot, Blyleven was honored for his long career and his nasty off-speed pitch that was one of the best of all-time.
More than 400 homers, 1,500 RBIs, 300 stolen bases, 500 doubles and 2,700 hits, Dawson was one of the best players of the 1980s. He was a star on a loaded Montreal Expos team that never was able to reach that next level, then took his talents to Wrigleyville where he became a cult hero and won his one and only MVP award. Who knows what he could've done if he wasn't punished by the unforgiving carpet of Olympic Stadium. Yet, he waited and waited until he was finally inducted, going in as an Expo.
Smith is considered one of the better relievers of all-time. His 3.03 career ERA might be considered a little high for a reliever, but his 478 saves are third all-time behind Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera, both should be heading to the Hall. Relievers have always been a tough sell, but considering he has more saves than both Bruce Sutter and Dennis Eckersley, and a better ERA than Eckersley, it's unbelievable he's never gotten the call.
We've all either heard and/or remember what Pete Rose did, and there's no question that the ban on baseball was valid. But not that he's come out and finally admitted he's bet on baseball, one has to wonder if he'll finally get his case looked out. It's sad to think the sport's all-time hit king could be out of the Hall and one would wonder how the Hall could handle Rose. Would it be the same as to how it would handle the Steroid Era?
Perhaps considered one of the greatest Cubs of all-time, his numbers are respectable (342 home runs, 1,331 RBIs, .277 batting average). But during his prime from 1964-1970, Santo was the power in the middle of the Chicago lineup, averaging 29 home runs and 106 RBIs per year. Perhaps his numbers and the grass-roots movement to get him inducted was because he was one of the most beloved athletes in Chicago, but since he's passed, expect the movement to only get louder.