The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York is where the legends of America’s pastime are immortalized. It’s there that you can find some of the greats such as Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Cy Young and many others. Getting into the Hall of Fame didn’t used to be such a difficult task as it is now. The criteria has been set pretty high for the current wave of players, and it’s harder than ever to see your name among the greats.
Another thing that is holding some players back is the infamous Steroid Era of baseball, in which a lot of players were caught using (or at least suspected of using) performance enhancing drugs. Some of these players were still able to accomplish great numbers during that time, though, certainly Hall of Fame worthy numbers.
Many have criticized the selection process for the baseball Hall of Fame, as the players are voted in by writers from the Baseball Writers' Association of America. This has led to many accusing the writers of picking favorites, holding some vendettas against players who weren't chummy with the media and also overvalue certain stats, while completely ignoring others.
Between longtime mainstays and fan favorites, there are some pretty big names that have been left out of the Hall of Fame, and some of them make you wonder how they didn’t get in. If you were to make a team consisting of some of the biggest Hall of Fame snubs, they would certainly compete for a World Series every year. So which guys are the most surprising to be left out of Baseball’s Hall of Fame? Here are the 15 biggest snubs right now.
15 Tim Raines
Tim Raines has inched closer to being inducted, but still has a ways to go in voting, as he earned 55 percent of the votes, giving him 20 percent to go. Raines compiled 2,605 hits in a 23-year career where injuries and a cocaine addiction caused him to have some off years, but no one could run like Raines in his prime, as he stole at least 70 bases in each of his first six seasons, stealing a total of 808 in his career. Raines's statistics in fielding (.988) on-base percentage (.385) don't seem to click with voters. Writer Jonah Keri hit the nail on the head, when describing the absurdity of Raines not getting in thus far.
14 Gary Sheffield
If you only caught the end of Gary Sheffield’s career with the Tigers and Mets, you might be inclined to think that he isn’t a Hall of Famer. However, Sheffield was in the league for an incredible 22 years and put up some incredible seasons before the new millennium, with his best years coming as a Florida Marlin, even helping them win the World Series. Sheffield collected over 500 home runs and had an impressive .292 career average. In his first year, Sheffield only got 11.7% of the votes to get in, though. It’s looking like we won’t see him ever get in.
13 Edgar Martinez
If you want to make any baseball fan in Seattle angry, go ahead and tell them that Edgar Martinez doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame. Martinez played 18 seasons in the MLB, all with Seattle. In that span, Martinez made seven All Star Game appearances and finished with an impressive career batting average of .312. Perhaps Martinez is being held from the Hall because he doesn’t have the magic numbers such as 500 home runs or 3,000 hits. Still, Martinez was MVP worthy in his best years.
12 Steve Garvey
From 1969 to 1982, Garvey was a staple of the Dodgers organization before spending his final five years with the Padres. Garvey made eight All Star Games in a row before finishing with two more in his Padres days. Garvey’s career average finished at .294, but averaging 19 home runs and 91 RBIs per season apparently wasn’t enough to impress Hall of Fame voters. Six seasons with at least 200 hits should have been enough to get Garvey in, but his lack of gaudy stats are holding him back.
11 Jeff Bagwell
Jeff Bagwell had the shortest career of anybody that we’ve seen on the list so far, but it still lasted for 15 seasons, all with the Houston Astros. Bagwell was still a good hit collector despite being a primary power hitter, getting 2,314 in his career. Bagwell also added 449 home runs and was still able to keep up a fantastic .297 career average. Bagwell still has somewhat of a chance to get into the Hall of Fame as he finished sixth in 2015 voting, but it looks like people having some questions about his possible steroid use toward the end of his career might keep him below the line to get in.
10 Rafael Palmeiro
It’s a pretty safe bet that you won’t see Rafael Palmeiro in the Hall of Fame, mainly because of the way that he lied about steroid use by wagging his finger on national television. Palmeiro was a bit of a cheater throughout his 20 year career, but with so many other players juicing back then, it probably doesn’t even matter. Palmeiro certainly has the stats to get in with a .288 career average, 3,020 hits and 569 home runs. In his best season in 1999 with the Rangers, Palmeiro bashed 47 home runs and collected 148 RBIs with a .324 average. It still takes talent to do that whether or not you were cheating.
9 Mike Mussina
Playing 18 seasons is a mighty long time for a pitcher to be around in the MLB, but that’s what Mussina did with the Orioles and Yankees. At the height of his career, Mussina was one of the best pitchers in the league, consistently hitting over 200 innings. Mussina’s ERA was pretty good at 3.68, but it’s his record that should be noted at 270-153. Mussina also had 2,813 strikeouts, but Hall of Fame voters think that 300 wins and 3,000 strikeouts are much prettier numbers and he is far under the necessary votes to get in.
8 Fred McGriff
Even if Fred McGriff never gets into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he should still be able to get into some sort of Nickname Hall of Fame as “The Crime Dog”. McGriff got close to that magical number of 500 home runs that voters like so much, collecting 493 in his career. McGriff could be a bit of a strikeout machine at times, but it was something he improved on a bit in the middle of his career when he was with the Braves. McGriff finished 16th in voting for the 2015 Hall of Fame class, so getting in probably won’t happen.
7 Larry Walker
As a member of the Expos, Rockies and Cardinals, Walker was an above average home run hitter, except for his 1997 season when he hit for 49 of them and collected 130 RBIs. Still, Walker finished his career with 383 homers, but had a career on base percentage of .400 on the dot. Walker had a few seasons with injury concerns, which could have helped him to pad on to his stats. The thing about Walker, is that he appeared to get larger in the Steroid Era and played many of his best seasons in Coors Field, two things that Hall of Fame voters hate.
6 Mike Piazza
If there’s one player that has a chance to get into the Hall of Fame from this list, it’s Mike Piazza. Piazza was the highest vote getter that didn’t make it, getting 69.9 percent of the necessary votes. Since you need to get to 75 percent, Piazza could be a part of the 2016 class where the only newcomers that could really surpass him are Ken Griffey Jr. and Trevor Hoffman. It doesn’t change the fact that he’s being snubbed now as the greatest hitting catcher that finished with 427 home runs and a .308 career average.
5 Mark McGwire
Thanks to suspected steroid use, it’s almost a guarantee that you will not see Mark McGwire in the Hall of Fame. It’s hard to doubt that McGwire helped save baseball after the infamous strike though, thanks to his 1998 season where he broke the single season home run record with 70 dingers. His career .263 average leaves a bit to be desired, but his OBP was almost .400 and he bashed 583 home runs. How many he could have gotten without steroid use is what voters don’t want to think about, and that’s going to prevent the 12 time All Star from getting in.
4 Curt Schilling
You can also add Curt Schilling to the list of people who won’t get in because of suspected steroid use. Then again, Schilling seems to think that he won’t get in the Hall of Fame because he’s a republican, and voters don’t like that. Whatever the case, Schilling was one of the best pitchers in baseball when he was in his prime and even had more than 300 strikeouts in three different seasons. Perhaps the “Bloody Sock” game in the 2004 playoffs alone should get Schilling in, as it’s a part of baseball history.
3 Roger Clemens
We’re still not done with players that are being prevented entry due to steroids. In his 24 year career with Boston, Toronto, New York (Yankees) and Houston, Clemens was a seven time Cy Young winner, 11 time All Star and collected a massive 4,672 strikeouts in his career. That’s well above the usual 3,000 strikeouts we’re used to seeing from Hall of Fame pitchers, and he had an impressive record of 354-184. The numbers make him a surefire Hall of Famer, but he has only received 37.5 percent of the necessary votes to get in so far. He has plenty of eligibility left, but it’s doubtful that he will get in.
2 Barry Bonds
The last Steroid Era player on this list is the career leader in both home runs and walks. Bonds surpassed the career home run record with a total of 762, was just four RBIs short of 2,000, and had 2,558 walks for an astounding OBP of .444. In his best season, Bonds broke the single season home run record with 73 back in 2001 and appeared in 14 All Star Games, as well as collecting seven MVP awards. Bonds is suspected of being a pretty obvious cheater, and that’s why he has received even fewer votes than Clemens and Schilling so far.
1 Pete Rose
The biggest snub from the Hall of Fame is the career leader in games played and hits. With a total of 4,256 hits, Rose was an instrumental part of the The Big Red Machine of Cincinnati, as well as a solid contributor with the Phillies. Rose had a career average of .303, a Rookie of the Year Award, and MVP season, and made the All Star Game 17 times. While Rose was a manager, it was found out that he was betting on baseball games, which earned him a lifetime ban from Bart Giamatti. Rose has applied for reinstatement four times, but has been denied each time. Now that Rob Manfred is the commission of Major League Baseball, there’s a chance that Rose could finally get into the Hall of Fame.