Baseball is often regarded as “America’s favorite pastime.” And while the title may or may not fit, one thing is for certain. Since its inception, the game has won the hearts and minds of the American people. Major League Baseball is one of the biggest sports organizations in the world, and the second biggest in the USA (only topped by the National Football League).
Since its creation in the 19th century, baseball has remained one of the USA’s most watched and played sports. At the tail end of the 20th century, however, the game reached a broader, international audience. Nowadays, baseball is one of the top 10 most popular sports around the world, especially enjoyed in countries like the UK, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and others.
The rising popularity of the sport has also sparked a huge interest in baseball’s history, and some of the greatest players. Of course, when discussing the greatest players, the best place to look is the Baseball Hall of Fame, the 2023 election results for which were recently released. However, to do so would be a disservice to some truly fantastic players who, for one reason or another, have not made it into the MLB Hall of Fame.
So, in this article, we are going to take a look at a few great baseball players who did not manage to enter the Hall of Fame.
Barry Bonds missed his final chance to enter the Hall of Fame in 2022. Bonds did not receive the necessary 75% of the vote. Reasons vary, however, most judges were put off by the controversies surrounding the player’s career.
However, controversies or not, it is hard to say that Barry Bonds is not one of the greatest players of all time. During his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the team was one of the favorites, especially among bettors and gamblers.
Once his time with the Pirates was done, Bonds moved on to the San Francisco Giants, whom he played with between 1993 and 2007. During said time period, online sportsbooks and casinos were just beginning to hit it big, and the Giants were a favorite among bettors, in large part thanks to Bonds’ fantastic play. Of course, online casinos have come a long way since then. Websites like the ones found at casinosource.ca are a lot safer, feature a larger variety of games, and more importantly, double as bookies.
During his time with both teams, Barry Bonds was considered a great all-rounder, receiving an incredible seven National League Most Valuable Player Awards (a record) and 12 Silver Slugger awards. He also received 14 All-Star selections.
Unfortunately, the man’s career is tainted by allegations of using performance enhancing drugs. While the allegations have never been proven, it was the major reason that most judges refused to give him the vote for a Hall of Fame induction.
Richard Allen, or Dick Allen as he is most commonly known, began his professional Major League Baseball career with the Philadelphia Phillies. In 1960, he was signed on by John Ogden, becoming the first and only African-American player to play for the local team.
Another great all-around player, Allen filled the position of outfielder, firth baseman, and third baseman. During the 11 years he spent playing for the Phillies, Allen proved his skill, hitting the greatest rookie season of the time, with 125 runs, 13 triples, and 80 extra base hits. To this day, Dick Allen’s rookie season is considered one of the best of all time.
In 1971, Allen moved from the Phillies to the Chicago White Sox. Reasons vary, though the team change likely stems from Allen’s frustration with the team management, who moved him from one position to another without any rhyme or reason. An act which certainly weakened his performance. Richard Allen retired a few years after joining the White Sox.
Often considered among the best players of his time, and certainly the top slugger, Richard Allen was naturally considered for a Hall of Fame membership. Sadly, he never earned the necessary votes, getting 11 out of the 12 votes necessary for inauguration.
Bill Freehan spent 15 long years playing as a catcher for the Detroit Tigers. His MLB career began in 1961, and in the next 10 years he would make a name for himself as the best catcher in American baseball. Throughout his career he totaled 200 home runs and over 2500 total bases. At the time of his retirement, his achievements placed him as the third greatest AL catcher of all time, behind Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey.
Throughout his 15-long career with the Detroit Tigers, Bill Freehan was elected to the All-Star on no less than 11 occasions. In each of the seasons elected, he caught at least 75 games. In 1968, he was the runner-up for MVP, when the Detroit Tigers won the World Series. By the end of his career, he was considered in the top 10 greatest players of his era.
Unfortunately, Bill Freehan passed away in 2021, having missed his opportunities for a Hall of Fame inauguration. Still, his career was full of achievements and awards. He won the Gold Glove Award on 5 occasions, was named to the All-Star 11 times, and of course, was a member of the World Series champions team in 1968. All in all, Mr. Freehan was certainly one of the greatest players of his time.
Honorable Mention: Thurman Munson
While the three players mentioned above are certainly excellent, they are not the only ones to attain greatness. Thurman Munson is another player who never got the opportunity to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame, despite his incredibly career. With 7 All-Star nominations, two-time World Series champion, and a Rookie of the Year award, Munson’s career was certainly a fantastic one.
Sadly, Munson’s life was cut short in a tragic plane crash in 1979, when he was only 32 years old. Despite never being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, his number 15 Yankee uniform was immediately retired, and in 2000 he was elected to the Cape Cod Baseball Hall of Fame.