5 Players Who Should Definitely Be in the Baseball Hall of Fame
This year’s class of Hall of Fame inductees was announced on Monday, and just one man, Barry Larkin, made the cut.
The former Cincinnati Reds shortstop will be enshrined this summer and heralded among the all-time greats. But with the news a new member of the hall has been added comes a spirited debate about who didn’t make the cut.
Discounting players rumored or proven to be attached to performance-enhancing drugs during their careers, here’s a look at some of the best players who again didn’t get enough votes for enshrinement and their cases for Cooperstown:
Arguably the best designated hitter ever to play the game, Martinez loses votes annually as a result of his lack of dominance at a fielding position. The seven-time All-Star and two-time batting champ helped make the Mariners contenders during the 1990s. And, if character counts for anything, Martinez can boast that he was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame in 2007. He earned 32.9% of the vote in his second year of eligibility last year, and rose to just 36.5% this time around. That’s really low, considering players require 75% to get in.
One of the best pitchers of the 1980s and 1990s, Morris was a four-time World Series champion — including three consecutive years from 1991-1993 — for three different ball clubs, taking home World Series MVP honors in 1991. Morris, who was the winningest pitcher in the 1980s, was a five-time All-Star, and has been eligible for the Hall since 2000. Last year, he got 53.5% of the vote and that climbed to 66.7% this year, so Morris could eventually find his way.
Once the all-time leader in saves, Smith, who’s now third on the list, seemed like a shoo-in for the hall. His journeyman ways may have hurt his case, since he lingered around the majors playing for eight teams over 18 seasons. Still, he was a seven-time All-Star during that time, and other closers have made it into Cooperstown before him. In the years to come, we might see Trevor Hoffman and Mariano Rivera — the two men ahead of him on the all-time list — make it in before Smith does.
Stolen bases are a lost art for many players these days, and few did it better than Tim Raines, who snagged a total of 808 bags during his more than two decades in the majors. He also played in games in four different decades. Raines won two championships while with the Yankees in the ’90s, claimed a batting crown and earned seven All-Star games selections. He slogged out 2,605 hits over his long career, and never seemed to tire. He received a 37.5% vote last year, and finished with 48.7% this time around.
If you don’t know much about Allen’s Hall of Fame resume, that’s because he played for the Phillies during the “second dead ball era” in the pitching-dominating 1960s. Many of the sluggers of that era have made it into the Hall, and Allen has been left looking in. What’s he have going for him? An MVP, Rookie of the Year award, and seven All-Star selections, with a .534 career slugging average that rivals some of the all-time greats. Since his 20 years of eligibility through the BBWAA vote ran out already, Allen may now only be selected by the Veterans Committee.