10 MLB Players Who Deserve to Be in the Hall of Fame and Aren't
Last month, the 2012 MLB Hall of Fame Ballot was announced, and to be honest, it lacked any big-time newcomers. Former Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams is on the ballot, but apart from him (and even including him), it doesn't seem likely that there will be a first-ballot induction this year.
Next year's ballot will probably be the most interesting, highly anticipated HOF class of all time, with first-timers Sammy Sosa, Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling, Mike Piazza, Roger Clemens, and the home run king himself, Barry Bonds.
But until then, now seems as good a time as any to talk about those players who aren't in ... and probably should be.
Now, by no means am I claiming that these 10 players are the only guys who deserve(d) enshrinement, and they may not even be the top 10 guys that have been snubbed. They're just 10 guys that aren't in the Hall that I believe should be.
So, if you have any other snubs on your minds, then please, I encourage you to comment below and give your opinion.
But before you do....
Mark McGwire will make his sixth appearance on the ballot this year, but it hasn't looked good thus far.
McGwire was one of the key players of the Steroid Era, most known for his record-setting 1998 season, during which he hit a then-record 70 home runs to break Roger Maris's single-season record of 61 in 1961.
Overall, McGwire hit 583 home runs and ranks 10th on baseball's all-time home run list.
His admitted steroid use will likely continue to keep him from induction, but over the next few years, we may see that particular viewpoint change. But until then, McGwire remains a noteworthy Hall snub.
Another member of the class of the Steroid Era, Rafael Palmeiro is even more deserving of induction than McGwire.
Not only did Palmeiro smack 569 home runs, but he also collected 3,020 hits. He appeared on the ballot for the first time last season, and only garnered 11 percent of the vote, 64 percent shy of the minimum for induction.
Really? 500-home-run club and 3,000-hit club, but no Hall of Fame? I guess maybe the writers are serious about the whole "no steroid-users" thing.
Why Lee Smith didn't make the Hall of Fame is a mystery to me.
Smith was one of the best closers in the history of the game. In fact, he held the all-time saves record for 14 seasons with 478 until Trevor Hoffman set the record in 2006 (broken this season by Mariano Rivera).
He played for eight different teams, showing his ability to adapt to many different situations over the course of his career.
He won three Rolaids Relief Man of the Year awards (2 NL, 1 AL) over his career and was named to seven different All-Star teams.
You tell me why he wasn't inducted into Cooperstown.
Tim Raines, for some reason, isn't the kind of player you would think of as Hall of Fame-worthy, but he should be.
A career .294 hitter with 2,602 hits, Raines was an offensive threat. He was even a force on the basepaths, with 808 career stolen bases. Raines was a seven-time All-Star and even won a batting title in 1986 with the Expos.
The now-Washington Nationals, formerly the Montreal Expos, retired his number 30, as he holds numerous career and single-season records for the franchise.
Unfortunately, Raines gained much more attention for his part on the late-90s Yankees dynasty, where he played in various roles for the 1996 and 1998 world champions.
This is what many people remember most about Raines, which could be part of the reason that he has not yet been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Raines makes his fifth appearance thus far on the 2012 ballot.
Surprised? Well, you shouldn't be.
And don't think I'm saying that Joe Torre deserves Hall induction based on his managerial exploits, although he does. I'm saying he deserved it for his playing career.
That's right, Joe Torre actually had a very successful playing career before becoming the beloved Yankee manager. He played in 18 MLB seasons, splitting time as a catcher, first baseman, and third baseman for the Braves, Cardinals and Mets.
Torre hit for a .297 average with 252 career home runs and 1,185 career RBI. He was also a nine-time All-Star and won the batting title and MVP award for the Cardinals in 1971.
Even though he didn't get in as a player for whatever reason the writers want to give, he will likely get his due one day from the Veterans Committee. There's definitely still hope for Joe.
As one of his dear friends from his time with the Yankees would say, "It's not over 'til it's over."
Edgar Martinez is the man who comes to mind when you say the words "Designated Hitter."
Starting out as a third baseman, Martinez injured himself just before the 1993 season, never making a full recovery. He transitioned to a full-time DH in 1995, and became the only DH to date to win a batting title, hitting .356 that season.
Over his 18-year career, Martinez hit for a .312 average with 309 home runs and over 2,000 hits and 1,000 RBI. He was named to seven All-Star teams and won five Silver Sluggers during his career.
It is believed that spending the majority of his career as a DH without a position will hurt his chances at induction to the Hall of Fame, but that's just plain ridiculous.
He was one of the best hitters of all time, and by far the best DH, and deserves to be recognized for his accomplishments.
Martinez will make his third appearance on the ballot in 2012.
Yet another player from the Steroid Era, Jeff Bagwell was one of the best players of the 1990s, and one of the greatest Astros players of all time.
Bagwell was traded to Houston from the Red Sox in 1990, a move that haunts Boston to this day. Bagwell wound up becoming an offensive force for the Astros, hitting .297 for his career, with 449 home runs and 1,529 RBI.
Bagwell wound up winning the NL Rookie of the Year award in 1991, and later won an MVP with the Astros during the strike-shortened 1994 campaign. He later finished in the top three in the voting twice more, in 1997 and 1999.
Bagwell was a first-timer on the ballot last year and only garnered 41.7 percent of the vote, most likely due to the assumption that he had used PEDs during his career, despite the fact that no evidence of such an action has been found.
Basing the vote on assumptions is unfair, and hopefully the writers see that this year and vote in Bagwell.
Don Mattingly was without a doubt one of the best first basemen in major league history. The only reason he has been passed over time and time again on the Hall of Fame ballot is that he didn't play long enough due to chronic back issues that caused him considerable pain towards the end of his career.
During his 14-year career, Mattingly batted .307 with 222 home runs and 1,099 RBI. He won three Silver Slugger awards and even took home the 1985 AL MVP award for the Yankees.
Mattingly served as Yankees team captain from 1991-1995, the last Yankees captain before Derek Jeter was given the title in 2003. His number 23 was retired by the Yankees and he has a plaque dedicated in his honor in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium.
One of his most impressive accomplishments was his excellent fielding ability at first base, which netted him nine Gold Glove awards over the course of his career, an achievement widely undervalued due to the perception of first base being an "easy position."
Mattingly deserves to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but time is starting to run out. He will only be eligible for consideration four more times, including this year.
"Shoeless Joe" Jackson
The next two players on this list completely deserve induction into the Hall of Fame without any doubt, but unfortunately their actions have caused both of them to be banned from baseball by their respective Commissioners.
First up, "Shoeless Joe" Jackson.
Jackson was one of the best hitters in MLB history; that fact cannot and should not be argued. He hit an incredible .356 for his career, the third highest career batting average of all time. As a rookie way back in 1908, he hit .408. Yes, you read that correctly, he hit .408 ... as a rookie.
So why was he banned from baseball and therefore denied entry into the Hall of Fame? He was a part of the infamous 1919 "Black Sox" scandal, when the 1919 Chicago White Sox threw the World Series versus the Cincinnati Reds.
However, there is plenty of evidence proving Jackson's innocence. He spent the last 30 years of his life fighting to prove that he had no part in the events of 1919, and he even refused the $5,000 bribe to help fix the World Series, despite the fact that it would have doubled his salary.
Jackson was clearly innocent, and in honor of his memory, MLB should reinstate him and induct him into the Hall of Fame.
Now we all know the story of Pete Rose. He was found guilty of betting on 52 games while acting as manager of the Cincinnati Reds, and placed on the permanent ineligibility list. This means that Rose cannot be elected to the Hall of Fame unless reinstated by MLB.
However, Rose is undoubtedly one of the best hitters to ever play the game. He broke Ty Cobb's record of 4,191 hits on Sept. 11, 1985, and he finished his playing career with 4,256, a record that still stands today.
Rose was also a 17-time All-Star, won three batting titles, the 1963 NL Rookie of the Year, the 1973 NL MVP, and won three World Series championships. He also holds the record for most career games played, with 3,562, and most career at-bats, with 14,053.
Rose even played numerous positions at the major-league level, including first base, second base, third base and the outfield, further exemplifying his extreme talent in the game of baseball.
He was obviously one of the best players ever to play, so MLB needs to reinstate him and finally put him where he truly belongs, in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.