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The 50 best baseball players not in the Hall of Fame

Jan 3, 2013, 1:42 PM EDT

Tim Raines

For the third straight year friend of the blog Graham Womack has compiled a list of the 50 best baseball players not in the Hall of Fame. Well, he and 148 voters did it. And then scores of excellent baseball writers wrote blurbs about the should-be enshrinees.

The top vote-getter: Tim Raines.  But really, there are a ton of worthy guys not in.  More than a dozen who are on this year’s real Hall of Fame ballot and won’t be voted in, by the way.

As always, good stuff. Check it out.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    I don’t get how the voting works on that list…Tim Raines is #1 with 116 yes, 11 no and 3 N/A while Biggio is #2 with 119 yes, 7 no, and 2 n/a. Did they just add up the # of votes returned or something?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:52 PM

      Looks like, list goes 130 votes for Raines, 128 for Biggio, and slowly makes it way down…

    • Lukehart80 - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:57 PM

      Correct. The “yes or no” portion of things was just an additional piece of information, not the basis for the rankings, which are simply the number of voters who selected each player for their top 50.

      In other words, Raines was placed among the top 50 by more voters than anyone else. Like the BBWAA, clearly some voters held PED issues against certain players.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:04 PM

        Ah…I see now. It was a two-fold question…50 best players and should they be in the HOF. Did I miss where they explained that?

      • Lukehart80 - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:32 PM

        No. Other than by looking at the numbers themselves, it does not appear to be made explicitly clear.

        I was surprised to see that only three players were given enough “yes” votes to have been inducted (Raines, Biggio, and Bagwell).

      • raysfan1 - Jan 3, 2013 at 8:42 PM

        I’d be very happy, and pleasantly surprised, with a 2013 HoF class of Raines, Biggio, and Bagwell even though I’d have 7 more names on my ballot if I had a vote (Bonds, Clemens, Martinez, Trammell, Schilling, McGwire, Piazza)

      • Lukehart80 - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:09 PM

        Sadly, we certainly won’t get even those three deserving candidates, much less the 10-14 deserving ones.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 3, 2013 at 10:31 PM

        True, and my list was limited to 10 only because that’s the limit if you get to vote.

  2. greatdayfortwo - Jan 3, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    Tony O didn’t even make the list? Who voted on this thing?

    • kirkvanhouten - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:07 PM

      Tony Ordenana? You’re right, that is an outrage. His career 185 OPS+ his higher than Barry Bonds! Not to mention that he averaged 486 RBIs per 162 games.

      I agree, complete outrage that he was excluded.

  3. misterchainbluelightning - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    Finally a list the includes an argument for Dave Stieb. I don’t think he is a H’oF, but if people are going to make an argument for Morris, may as well make one for the better pitcher who was Stieb.

  4. heyblueyoustink - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Ahhh, good old Albert Belle, no one could break up the double play quite like him.

  5. mrfloydpink - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    I am not sure why this list is called “The 50 Best Players Not in the Hall of Fame,” because it’s clearly not that. It’s more like “50 Players Most Likely to Be Inducted Into the Hall of Fame if the Voting Was Done Entirely by Baseball Writers under the Age of 40.” I mean, it seems pretty obvious to me that Barry Bonds is the best player not in the Hall of Fame, followed in some order by Pete Rose, Mike Piazza, and Roger Clemens. Certainly, all four of those guys were better than Tim Raines (who is still HoF worthy, of course).

    Also, it seems kind of odd–again, given the title–that players retired 1-4 years are not included. I mean, Greg Maddux is clearly one of the 50 best players not in the Hall of Fame, right?

    • 18thstreet - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:09 PM

      I don’t understand how Bonds isn’t on top of the list. He’s obviously the best player not in the Hall.

      I was about to make an argument that Rose is overrated, and I created this …

      Withdrawn. He was great.

      • 18thstreet - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:11 PM

        And here’s the best since Rose was a rookie:

    • 18thstreet - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      Also, A-Rod and Pujols. And, sigh, Jeter.

    • raysfan1 - Jan 3, 2013 at 8:56 PM

      The list was intentionally limited to players who have been out of baseball long enough to be potentially eligible for the HoF.

      Bonds is likely not at the top of the list because some of those polled held PED use against him. I’d probably argue for Jackson to be #1 followed by Bonds.

  6. wpjohnson - Jan 3, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    Les sthat ten percent of the fifty could be termed as “old timers”. The list has no credibility. Apparently the author is not aware of baseball history prior to 1970.

    • jonrox - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:15 PM

      Did you even read it? The blogger solicited votes and had other people do the write-ups. There is no “author”

    • paperlions - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:24 PM

      There are already far far too many “old timers” in the HOF, largely because of express attempts to find reasons to enshrine more of them. The majority of the worst HOFers are old timers (or owners and commissioners).

      • 18thstreet - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        Oh, you foolish man. The old-timers were obviously better. Just ask anyone old.

        That’s why in sports like track and swimming, the best athletes were all in the 1920s, and their records have never been broken.

      • 18thstreet - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        You know what? I’ll bet an above-average regular, like a Kevin Millar, would have put up numbers like Gehrig if he had played in that era. I don’t know why some people have such a hard time believing baseball’s better than it’s ever been. But it is.

        I’m in my late-30s. The defense is a zillion times better than I was when I was growing up.

      • paperlions - Jan 3, 2013 at 3:41 PM

        There are some caveats. The players today are quite obviously the best players that have ever played. The level of competition is much higher than it used to be. Guys that are utility players now would have been above average IF in the 1970s or before. Lineups are far far deeper than they have ever been before. Pitchers and hitters are forced to make adjustments much more quickly than ever before thanks to video analysis that allows both hitters to detect pitcher tendencies more quickly and allows pitchers to find holes in a hitters swing more quickly. Guys are bigger and stronger, and in far better shape than the days when guys just showed up completely out of shape (which was the norm).

        I am more than willing to entertain the notion that there are over-looked old timers that deserve consideration. List them and make the arguments. Otherwise, this is just crotchety old man bluster.

      • cur68 - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:10 PM

        Hey, I like this game! I wanna play. But there must be rules. Without rules, there is only madness and Murray Chass (excuse me: The Blogger Murray Chass).

        So, a name for this game. I think “Current Ballplayer if he played before 1980”. Player must be active and on a roster in MLB. Player must be a mediocre talent. Homerism is openly encouraged. Hyperbole is our watchword. Ready? Lets go:

        If Rajai Davis played the same time as Willy Mays he’d be considered in the HOF right now.

      • paperlions - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:12 PM

        I assume this is a true or false format.

        False. Duh!

      • cur68 - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:21 PM

        Oh yeah? Well you smell of elderberries. So there.

      • paperlions - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:34 PM

        Well, thank you…thank you very much….wait, was that supposed to be an insult?

      • cur68 - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:47 PM

        Ok, you lose. Failure to get a Monty Python reference is automatically losing in this game. Iron Clad Rule.

      • paperlions - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:48 PM

        Oh, I got the reference. I just don’t see how that is supposed to be an insult. I rather like elderberry wine.

      • cur68 - Jan 3, 2013 at 4:54 PM

        Double fail then.

      • paperlions - Jan 3, 2013 at 5:36 PM


      • cur68 - Jan 3, 2013 at 5:41 PM

        Rajai Davisist

      • paperlions - Jan 3, 2013 at 5:41 PM


    • Lukehart80 - Jan 3, 2013 at 9:13 PM

      You clearly paid no attention to how the list was put together. And I can assure you, the project’s creator/overseer knows a ton about baseball history prior to 1970.

  7. yahmule - Jan 3, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    Keith Millar is equal to Lou Gehrig. I knew the comment section on this thread would be absurd, but I vastly underestimated. The truth is current fans are for more predisposed to overvaluing their own era than so-called old timers are for romanticizing the past.

  8. simon94022 - Jan 3, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    What the –?

    Bonds is only tied for 8th on the list of Hall-worthy non-members? There aren’t 8 better players than Bonds in all of baseball history, steroids or not.

    And it can’t be a morals argument that keeps Bonds that low. Both Pete Rose and the very marginal but clearly crooked Shoeless Joe Jackson are ranked above him.

  9. rgledz - Jan 3, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    Tony Oliva should not only be high on that list, he should be in the HOF. He had an injury riddled career true, but he won 3 batting titles, a career BA of. 304, AL rookie of the year, 8 time all-star, ops+ of 131 and 220 home runs. He played in the pitchers era and was phenomenal. He deserves it.

  10. spudchukar - Jan 3, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    Curt Flood.

  11. schmedley69 - Jan 3, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    Sixto Lezcano. Enough said.

  12. bertmcg - Jan 4, 2013 at 1:22 AM

    Ditto Mrfloydpink

  13. pike573 - Jan 4, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    The one that always sticks with me is Trammel. I grew up during the years he played an watched a lot of games and I just don’t remember anyone ever saying (or me believing) that he is a HOF. He was always a very good player but seen never as great during his playing days. And the converse to that is Dale Murphy. He was great (for a few years) but fell off a cliff. I don’t know if he belongs or not I’m just making the point of shifting lines of thinking.

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