The 20 Greatest Players NOT in the Baseball Hall of Fame

20. Dan Quisenberry
If Sandy Koufax can be in the Hall of Fame for basically six outstanding seasons, why can't submarine specialist Quisenberry?

From 1980 to 1985, Quiz led baseball with 212 saves and also had the most appearances, lowest walk rate, and 165 ERA+ for the Royals, whom he helped to a pair of pennants, four playoff appearances, and a World Series title.

Compares favorably to Bruce Sutter, who threw one fewer inning and also led the league in saves five times, just like Quisenberry.
19. Lefty O'Doul
There should be a place in Cooperstown for baseball figures who have excellent credentials in so many areas. O'Doul was a two-time batting champion who hit .398 in 1930 with 254 hits. Earlier he had been a superb pitcher until an arm injury forced him to move to the outfield.

After his playing career, Lefty taught baseball in Japan and was the father of professional baseball in that country. He also scouted and managed several stars in the Pacific Coast League. His .349 career batting average is one of the ten highest in history for batters with at least 3,500 plate appearances.
18. Ken Boyer
Boyer is sort of Ron Santo-lite. And the two contemporary third basemen weren't that far apart in value. In 15 seasons he hit 282 homers, won five Gold Gloves, and he did something Santo couldn't: Boyer won an MVP Award.

Boyer also helped guide the Cardinals to the World Series title in 1964 when he won that Most Valuable Player Award. He is one of only a handful of third basemen with more than 60 WAR.
17. Johan Santana
How much difference is there between Johan Santana and Sandy Koufax? On the surface it may seem like Koufax is on a level that Santana never reached, yet both had basically a six-year run of dominance.

From 1961 to 1966, Koufax had a 156 ERA+, won 73 percent of his decisions, and won three Cy Young Awards. From 2003-2008, Santana had a 156 ERA+, won 70 percent of his decisions, and won two Cy Youngs.

Santana is a peak candidate, his worthiness rests on his tremendously high peak seasons. In that regard he's one of the better candidates among starting pitchers of the last 40 years.
16. Luis Tiant
Tiant is the man left out among the generation of pitchers who matured in the 1960s and 1970s. While Don Sutton, Gaylord Perry, Phil Niekro, and Jim Palmer and others have all earned HOF election, Tiant has been overlooked. In many ways, El Tiante was just as famous and important as any of those specific contemporaries. He won 229 games and pitched a load of crucial contests for his teams in the 1970s.
15. Bill Dahlen
In a career that began in 1891 and stretched to 1911, Dahlen was the premier defensive player at the shortstop position in his era. His career Defensive Wins Above Replacement rank 11th all-time, and eight of the ten players in front of him are in Cooperstown.
14. Sal Bando
Bando's candidacy rests on his role as the leader of the swashbuckling 1970s Oakland A's, who won three straight World Series.

His career WAR is among the 20 best among third basemen, and he received MVP votes in seven seasons.
13. Lou Whitaker
In terms of career value, Whitaker clearly sits well above the line established by Hall of Fame second basemen. His career WAR of 75.1 is sixth best all-time at the position, and 81st overall among position players. He has a higher career WAR than Ryne Sandberg, Roberto Alomar, and Craig Biggio.

But Whitaker never had a signature season and his peak is rather modest compared to others who were stars. Still, given his body of work with teammate and double play partner Alan Trammell, who has been elected to the Hall, Whitaker seems likely to get his plaque some day.
12. Kenny Lofton
In a long career, Lofton did a lot to help his team’s win. He got on base, was one of the game’s best base stealers and baserunners, and he was a good defensive center fielder, earning four Gold Gloves.

He ranks 15th all-time in stolen bases, hit .299 for his career, and played on several teams that advanced deep into the post-season. That sounds a lot like Lou Brock, who has a plaque in Cooperstown. And Lofton was clearly a better defender than Brock, and had more extra-base power.
11. Bobby Grich
Grich’s defensive stats at second base are among the most impressive in history. But that type of thing often goes overlooked by voters, which is why he spent only one year on the ballot.

At the plate, Grich was a combination of power and patience, showing more pop than most middle infielders of his era. He frequently posted an on-base percentage well over .350 and averaged nearly 20 homers per 162 games. But injuries often kept him from reaching season milestones, which makes his statistical record look weaker than it is.

Grich’s ability to turn the double play, his range, and sure hands, have rarely been matched in the history of the game. If Bill Mazeroski can have a plaque, why not Grich, who was a much better offensive player?
10. Dale Murphy
Few players have been as mistreated as Murphy, who has been classified as a short peak, short career candidate. But that’s unfair: for an eight-year period from 1980 to 1988, he was clearly among the top 3-4 players in baseball, and he played 18 years and hit nearly 400 home runs.

From 1980 to 1988, Murphy had a 140 OPS+ and averaged 33 homers, 96 RBI, 100 runs, 16 steals, 81 walks, and had an 891 OPS. He won two MVP awards and five Gold Gloves, and he was also durable, averaging four missed games per year.

If Jim Rice can be in the Hall, why not Murphy? Both were feared sluggers who did not reach career milestones for one reason or another, and are typically mentioned as “peak” guys. But Murph was a Gold Glove center fielder and he was a great baserunner, and drew some walks, which separates him from Rice.
9. Thurman Munson
When he died in a plane crash during the 1979 season, Munson’s position as a star was extinguished. But his accomplishments in an 11-year career are enough to merit Hall of Fame status, in our opinion.

Munson won the American League MVP in 1976, and helped the Yankees win three consecutive pennants. He is one of the most decorated catchers in history: Munson won the Rookie of the Year, his MVP, and was named an All-Star seven times. He was a better player than Ted Simmons, he just didn’t have the opportunity to fill out his career. Munson was a peer of Carlton Fisk and every bit as important in baseball in the 1970s as that Hall of Fame catcher.
8. Todd Helton
In 2021 balloting, Helton earned 44 percent of the vote. It appears that the former first baseman will eventually get to 75 percent and get his ticket into the Hall of Fame. He should, because he rates among the 10-15 best at his position all-time.

Helton’s OPS+ of 133 rates among the ten best all-time among players at his position, and takes into account his ballpark and era. He not only hit for average and power, but he walked more than he struck out during a 17-year career that included 2,519 hits and more than 1,400 RBI.
7. Minnie Miñoso
Among the candidates who started their professional careers before 1950, Minoso is the most deserving. He was barred from playing in the white major leagues until he was 25 years old, but by that time Minnie was among the best all-around players in the game. He was a star in the negro leagues and Cuban league, and a five-tool player.

When we tally everything, Minoso had more than 3,500 hits at all levels, and he was major league caliber at the age of 20. He became a star in the white major leagues immediately, which tells us how great he was. As the first superstar to come to America and play in the integrated white leagues from Cuba, Minoso deserves his plaque.
6. Dick Allen
The best hitter other than Barry Bonds to not have a plaque in Cooperstown. Allen was a powerful force with a bat in his hands. From his rookie year through 1974, a span of 11 seasons, Allen ranked second in baseball in slugging to Henry Aaron. He ranked fifth in on-base percentage and second in OPS. Only six players scored more runs or drove in more runs than Allen, and all of them are in the Hall of Fame. He out-slugged ten future Hall of Famers who were his contemporaries, including Frank Robinson, Carl Yastrzemski, Willie McCovey, Harmon Killebrew, and Roberto Clemente.

There are those who question Allen’s character and accuse him of being a bad teammate, but his own manager Chuck Tanner defended the slugger vociferously. In 1972 he won the AL Most Valuable Player award for the White Sox on the strength of one of the best offensive seasons in history, with a 199 OPS+. That type of production goes a long way to being a good teammate.
5. Curt Schilling
The former right-handed ace won’t win a lot of friends with his abrasive and controversial personality. But he won a lot of big games, and a candidate should be judged by his performance and behavior while he was a player. On that basis, Schilling is the best non-steroid tainted candidate among all pitchers.

Schilling is one of five pitchers with at least 3,000 strikeouts and less than 1,000 walks. Three of the other four are in the Hall of Fame (Fergie Jenkins, Greg Maddux, and Pedro Martinez), and the other is Justin Verlander. In a 20-year career, Schilling used that overpowering command and excellent control to win 216 games and three times finish second in Cy Young voting.

Schilling is arguably the most important post-season performer of the last 40 years, which must count for something too, right?
4. Shoeless Joe Jackson
Yes, Shoeless Joe took the money and he was guilty of throwing the 1919 World Series. If anyone has doubt about that, they simply don’t know the facts. But even with that damning scar on his record, Jackson is one of the greatest players not in the Hall of Fame.

We wouldn’t have a problem with Jackson being elected to the Hall, because good and bad, he was one of the most pivotal figures in baseball in his era. He hit .400 in 1911, batted .356 for his career, and averaged more than 35 doubles, 20 triples, and 200 hits per season.
3. Roger Clemens
Late in 2021, Clemens will get his final chance via the baseball writers voting for the Hall of Fame. It remains to be seen whether he can garner the 75 percent support needed. But even if he doesn’t, Clemens will remain a controversial candidate going forward in potential veterans committee elections.

Clemens won seven Cy Young awards and 354 games in an incredible career that also saw him strike out more than 4,600 batters, the second-highest total ever.
2. Barry Bonds
Prior to his dalliance with steroids and other performance-enhancing drug cocktails, Bonds was a stellar player. He was every bit as good as Ken Griffey Jr., and would have waltzed into Cooperstown on his record through 1998. But Barry’s ego was too large and his character too flawed.

There’s no doubt that Bonds was a once-in-a-generation talent, but his inability to come clean about his illegal steroid usage has left him outside Cooperstown through nine elections as of 2021. He will get only one more chance, and it’s not certain that Mr. Big Head will get his Hall of Fame plaque.
1. Pete Rose
In 24 seasons, Rose ran to his position like he was a rookie in every game. He hustled on every ground ball, on every play he was involved in, and he even sprinted to first base on every walk. He eventually surpassed Ty Cobb for most hits and even threatened Joe DiMaggio’s record 56-game hitting streak. Rose drove his teams to six pennants and three World Series titles. He played in more winning games than any man in history.

Regardless of your opinion about Rose’s lifetime ban from Major League Baseball, you have to admit that Rose was a superstar and one of the most exciting players of his or any other era. He was prolific and relentless. He was a winner and great for baseball. Until he wasn’t any more.
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